Our reply – Osborne Road plans

As a constituted community group with 1,600 local members we respond on their behalf to the plans for parts of Osborne Road. See bottom of page for the details of the council plans we are commenting on.

Speed management

We welcome the introduction of a 20mph limit for the full length of Osborne Road but would like to see a change in road layout so that this limit is self-enforcing. This would, most likely, require physical infrastructure and should include network planning measures too.

In relation to this, we do question why it is necessary to use speed cushions, which can be uncomfortable if not even a hazardous when cycling, and wonder whether these could be replaced with a raised table in the absence of wider considerations.

Again, we would like to know what ideas and measures the council has considered to make the speed limit self-enforcing in a more holistic manner, rather than relying on spot measures like speed cushions. Speed cushions or raised tables might well mean that the speed limit is complied with at the location but disregarded in between locations. This leads to noise pollution, degradation in air quality and neighbourhood sense. A smooth but slow low traffic flow should be aimed for, and can be achieved by adjusting the network flow for motorised traffic.

Space for cycling

In the current absence of the intention to carry out some wider network planning in Jesmond (reduction of speed and volume), we have campaigned for space for cycling on the entire length of Osborne Road for a while. Hence we welcome the attempt to introduce space for cycling on parts of Osborne Road. But we think that – if the road is to continue functioning as a through road with high levels of traffic – the cycle space should be protected and wide enough for the whole road length. We would like to hear what council has in mind for protection of the cycle space, as that determines the required width.

Junction design

Advanced stop lines (ASL) place vulnerable road users in a dangerous position, create conflict and for this reason are now seen as an old-fashioned substandard design detail. We recommend that instead of installing ASLs on the junction, that the junction is designed to facilitate separate motor and cycle movements.

Separation in space and time is a much better way to design for cycling safety and comfort. It is now the preferred way of designing junctions like the one in question (in the absence of any network planning to reduce speed and volume). There are many ways the signal setting can achieve this (combined walk/cycle green, cycle scramble etc). The design landscape is changing fast. We urge engineers and planners to seek out these new design tools and ways to innovate.

Holistic approach

For serious lasting change, a wider area assessment of vehicle movements, with a council commitment to remove rat-running motor traffic, is needed to make Jesmond work well for walking and cycling. We are yet to see a real prioritisation of walking and cycling over motor movements. This is despite the user hierarchy, that is often quoted by council engineers, planners and road safety professionals.

Please have a look, again, at our policies explaining this further:

In order to advance the discussion, expertise and knowledge, we would appreciate a meeting with highway & traffic engineers and transport planners so we can understand each other better in future. We urge council engineers to work with council planners, and vice versa.

Documents commented on