Communicating and Debating Ambition and Changes

As part of the delivery arrangements of the City Cycling Ambition Funded (CCAF) programme, a Stakeholders Group has been set up and met for the first time on 18 September 2013. Its aim is to communicate the CCAF vision and plans to a larger audience and involve groups and local communities at an early stage.

The stated role and responsibilities of the group are to:

– maintain the vision of ambition
– disseminate comments from local groups
– inform technical and management groups
– champion the programme within communities

Unlocking the bicycle makes a liveable city – but this simple message is not necessarily well understood by everyone. So the Campaign sees the Stakeholders Group playing a key role in the engagement process with groups and communities so that the principles, plans and expected outcomes of the CCAF programme are well understood but also discussed and debated in advance of the formal technical consultations.

The CCAF is an ambitious programme of physical improvements to make everyday cycling easier and safer – It includes works on 4 of the 7 Strategic Cycle Routes into the city centre over the next one and half year (see presentation attached). Designing and communicating these changes are crucial to the success of the programme.

We raised two points at the first meeting.

First of all, we must have a reliable baseline to support the expected increase in cycling levels (CCAF estimates a sixfold increase in cycle share by 2020 from the current 2% to 12%). Cyclist counts in particular along the proposed Strategic Cycle Routes, will therefore be reported at the next meeting. We know that documenting success of the CCAF works will ensure future investment to come to Newcastle.

Secondly, plans will have to be shown using visualisation tools which allow everybody to quickly grasp the proposed changes. Good examples include Clarence road in Bristol and Oxford road in Manchester. As discussed at our last members’ meeting (more to follow at the December meeting), pictures and sketches speak a thousand words. Let’s transform the cumbersome plans into something which tells a story and gives a better idea of how different road users will interact. This was certainly one of the key messages from the stakeholders group to the CCAF delivery team.

The next Stakeholders meeting is on Thursday 14 November 2014, 6:00pm and a representative from the Campaign will be there.