Full report here [pdf]
Another year has passed – but really, just another year that strongly consolidated our verdicts and justified our stance and actions. It’s clear to me that we must keep pointing out the obvious to the council. The politicians have good intentions, but I am not convinced that the Newcastle City Council’s chief executive understands the urgency and significance of the task in hand: to modernise council structures, budgets and communications for a smooth transport transition.
Ending our current campaign year of informing about the transport transition – yes, more people cycling is also better for drivers – we will now re-focus our campaign on infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.
For people to see cycling as a real option and for the council, society and the individual to reap the rewards of a Cycle City, Newcastle must build a world-class cycle infrastructure. This is what is needed, and this is why we formed the campaign, back in 2010. And yet, despite all the good data, evidence and clarity over the paybacks of cycling, the insertion of a cycle network in council policy and plans proves the hardest thing to do still.
This year we will focus on the cycle network (as per council’s Cycle Manifesto) and its inclusion in council’s budget books. The current plans of the council consist of 7 radial routes (as per council’s Cycle Strategy) and an inner ring road (as per Newcastle and Gateshead’s One Core Strategy). We did our homework. To get reasonable coverage and grid density the network should consist of at least 9 radial routes and 2 ring routes. This means, council’s plans must be revised and updated. And, to be really clear, it is exactly these routes where we must see the construction of protected cycleways with dedicated and well-delineated space for cycling. Walking is our ally, so space must come not from the footway but from the road. The residential areas in between the main routes can be improved by cutting rat runs to sufficiently calm the road environment. On quiet neighhourhood streets mixed traffic is possible.
We will also keep keeping on about Sustainable Safety. Yes, it may be a bit technical but it nonetheless is the holistic road safety system that the Dutch use so successfully, evidenced by their high cycling numbers and excellent road safety statistics. Sustainable Safety asks for an all-encompassing approach, starting with citywide road classification and danger elimination at source, creating consistency in street designs and even taking into account human factors to ensure the design is safe for all users. All good sense, but not the current way Newcastle approaches road safety. Here the pedestrian and cyclist still get the blame and infrastructure rarely sees meaningful mention let alone adjustment. Walking and cycling must truthfully be prioritised.
This year, we are planning to get you involved in some action. At certain points in the year, we may ask you to get in touch with your local politicians to talk to them about personal stories of cycling and Newcastle’s cycle infrastructure. Watch out for these action items. We promise to make it as easy as possible for you do this. It would be great if you could get involved, we are looking forward to your engagement.
Thanks for your membership, and do watch out for our action items this year.
Read the full report here [pdf]
Messages from our new Treasurer and volunteers
Tim Binks, Volunteer, Newsletter Editor
I wanted to get involved and help out with the campaign for a while, so when I found some of my newly acquired skills in communications could be of use, I approached Claire about taking on managing the email newsletter, including the creation and mailing out of it every month. As this area was fairly new to me, I have appreciated and enjoyed the chance to develop my skills further, which benefitted me as much from the experience as I hope the campaign has benefitted from having assistance with this task. The work takes only a few hours a month, and soon became an easy, simple and rewarding role to be involved in.
Shannon Robalino, Volunteer
Hi! I initially joined the campaign in 2012 and became a management committee member at the 2013 AGM. Due to health reason I had to step down from my role on the committee but I have continued to help out by taking photos at events, helping organise and be a marshall for Space for Cycling rides, and helping administer the campaign’s Facebook group.
James Stanton, Volunteer, Infrastructure group
I got involved with the campaign about 18months ago. I’ve always used a bike to get around, but it wasn’t until I changed jobs and started cycling in rush hour every day that I wondered how things could improve.
I’m a bridge engineer – maybe that engineering background steered me towards the infra team, but everyone brings different skills and experiences (some of us understand more about networks for example, others more about safe neighbourhoods, or about learning lessons from other cities).
There’s no time commitment. I maybe spend an hour or two each week looking at existing bits of infrastructure or plans for new ones, and I hope that helps NewCycling campaign for better infrastructure in our city.
John Watson, Treasurer
It’s been a privilege serving as a Management Committee Member over the past year. My role is to balance the books and to act as financial gatekeeper, ensuring that our modest income is spent to maximum effect. As an example, this year, thanks to your generous support, we’ve been able to attend a small number of events and forums across the country where we’ve learned from and shared experiences with other cycle campaigning groups and stakeholders.
Progress is seldom linear and change can seem painfully slow at the time; but it is clear to me that our organisation has gained tremendous traction over the past twelve months. Our collective voice matters and over the next year I’m optimistic that with your continued support our influence will continue to grow.
Read the full report here [pdf]