Gosforth Corridor Scheme TRO

31 January 2014
Sent to: Councillors from three wards, Newcastle North MP, Cabinet Transport Cllr Ged Bell, cycle champion Cllr Marion Talbot, council officers (various)

Dear all

In the light of what’s been presented and the lack of communication leading up to the traffic order being issued, we feel obliged to OBJECT to the proposal as it stands. This is on the grounds of vehicle movement and road / junction capacity being negligently the sole design priority for this scheme, at the expense of walking / cycling safety, attractiveness of place and long-term environmental factors (air, noise) that can only be met my reducing car journeys.

Junctions at Hollywood Avenue and Church / Salters are particularly over-engineered, especially in an urban setting. The traffic modelling does not respect the existing bottleneck at The County, where there’s space constraint due to the tight built environment. The decision-making framework is plainly wrong and more leadership and vision is needed. Putting local people first and reducing road space for passing cars should have been the sensible, reasonable and enlightened way to go about this. As it stands, apart from the Northern end (Broadway junction and cycle space onwards to Hollywood junction) we are facing a purely traditional highway design scheme in the middle of a densely populated Newcastle suburb.

Campaign Team
Newcastle Cycling Campaign

26 January 2014
Sent to: Councillors from three wards, Newcastle North MP, Cabinet Transport Cllr Ged Bell, cycle champion Cllr Marion Talbot, council officers (various)

Subject: Re: Gosforth Corridor Scheme TRO

Dear all

Whilst in general terms we welcome council’s intention to improve the Great North Road corridor, we are less clear or convinced by the details of the proposed design. To avoid a long reply listing our queries and (safety) concerns for every location, we ask that a meeting be arranged to discuss this with the responsible council officer(s). In principle, we welcome the effort council puts into thinking about the Great North Road corridor to make it fit for people and purpose and make it work in the city transport context, but must stress that much more is needed.

As a global strategy, vehicle traffic volume on this route should be curbed by reducing road space and capacity for private car journeys (the push) and giving space to walking and cycling (the pull), thereby bringing about modal shift – a policy Newcastle has held for decades but done little about. Even the public discussion of how this would or could be achieved is missing. Council must take the lead here. All this is important if Newcastle wants to remain competitive and resilient in its future, in research, retail, culture and workplaces.

Through our involvement with the council processes over the last three or so years, we have learnt that transport is dealt with on a piecemeal basis – however if we really wanted transport systems to work for our city, we have to have much more of a citywide approach. With urgency we seek a meeting with responsible politicians (Cllrs Bell and Talbot possibly) to discuss exactly what is required to bring about the desired modal shift (or put in less glorious terms: getting people out of their cars), as sadly many of the council actions are still contrary to this policy goal. We must discuss these transitional arrangements for modal shift, learn from other cities and apply these to Newcastle.

Unfortunately as matters stand, there are more questions than answers. We hope our request is seen as a reasonable way forward, and that the meetings can be arranged.

Katja Leyendecker
Chair, Newcycling