Huge social distancing changes to Newcastle’s iconic Grey Street are still weeks away from starting

Evening Chronicle – 3 May 2020 (Daniel Holland)

Plans were unveiled in May for a major reconfiguration of the historic city centre street to give pedestrians and cyclists extra space as more shops and businesses reopen.

A dramatic redesign of Newcastle’s iconic Grey Street will not start until the end of June.

Plans were unveiled in May for a major reconfiguration of the historic city centre street to give pedestrians and cyclists extra space for social distancing.

But while new cycle lanes and one-way pavements have been introduced on busy routes around the Royal Victoria Infirmary, it will still be several weeks before similar changes are made to the street once voted the best in the UK.

Cyclists have praised the measures on Queen Victoria Road as “fantastic” and urged Newcastle City Council to push ahead urgently with other projects across the city.

Sally Watson, of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, said the traffic cones creating a new bike lane on Queen Victoria Road allowed her family to safely cycle down it for the first time.

She added: “We congratulate the council for acting quickly to put in measures to help keep people safe on Queen Victoria Road, particularly RVI staff who have recently started cycling to work.

“The pop-up cycleway is a fantastic example of what can be achieved with a small budget and in a short timeframe. Temporary schemes are a great way to try new things out and we hope to see many more of them in the coming weeks.

“The government has set a deadline of June 5 for councils to bid for urgently needed funds to roll out more schemes like this across the city to enable social distancing. If they want to be considered for further funding, they need to demonstrate that the money will be meaningfully spent on reallocating road space to walking and cycling.

“Newcastle is in a strong position to capitalise on this, given that they appear to be in an advanced stage of planning compared to other cities.”

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