A campaign member decided to take action and contacted us to discuss their idea. In the process a poster was designed and printed (attached below), and distributed to traders on Gosforth High Street. Here is a quick report from their experience and the data and feedback gathered. This is really useful information for us all and worth sharing! And looking at different parts of the plans separately seems a sensible thing to do too. The cycleway could be created whilst the Salters Road junction goes back to the drawing board and a “less 1960s motorway design” is found.
I had an interesting morning talking to various traders and shop workers. Most were pretty supportive of the cycle route but there’s some genuine fear about the red route and loss of parking, especially amongst some of the businesses up by the Salters Road junction.
Here are the sort of responses I got:
• that traders were quite aware of what they perceived as the bad points (red route / lost parking) but far less aware of the good (cycle route)
• pretty much universally the ones that chatted liked the idea of a protected cycle route on the High Street (probably 1/3-1/2 of the total)
• quite a few mentioned they were cyclists but only one mentioned that their customers were.
• the fear of loss of car-based customers is currently much greater than the anticipation of new cycling customers – and that most don’t yet think of cyclists as customers.
The protected cycle route in option 2 is a great opportunity for Gosforth and it has been great to find it has widespread support on the High Street. If the council is willing to delink this from the other issues then as long as we all (shoppers, communters and residents) get our feedback in then hopefully we will have this secured.
This isn’t a reason to be complacent though – if the new route will let you shop on the high street by bike you should say so with your feedback. We should let the traders know we want to support them and importantly that more cyclists = more potential customers: after all it’s far easier to stop and get off a bike to nip in a shop. We went for a family (mother’s day) bike ride yesterday, stopping at a cafe by West Jesmond – that’s just something we can’t do in Gosforth at the moment (and having now been in all the cafes and seen all the great cakes I feel we’re missing out!). If anyone else feels strongly about this they are welcome to use / adapt the poster as they wish.