Campaign group – Infrastructure team

We are getting seriously organised. Over the last few months the Committee has looked at our organisation, and given it some added ‘structural stability’ to accommodate the growing demands on a growing Campaign. This was particularly necessary as more and more people wanted to be involved, making it a specially good time to be clearer about how we do things and how we are organised. We reported here and here.

One of the big Committee groups is the Infrastructure team. To welcome new people to cycling, we must first change our city’s roads to get down to a human scale and include space for cycling. For that reason our campaign is challenging the prevailing old-fashioned highway and road design philosophies to include cycling into current street layouts and – in more general and strategic terms – transport planning.

The Infrastructure team checks what cycling infrastructure needs to look like and assesses how it works (often by looking elsewhere and abroad, especially NL of course). In other words we look at actions that’d bring about the transport transition away from the private car by making cycling a real and viable inclusive proposition.

To give the team freedom to do things, without having to go back to Committee every time and check for their approval, we have set up a number of Campaign policies and position statements in support of the cycling infrastructure design that we want to see:

The team, led by Committee member Scott, is always busy and is getting seriously in gear. Scott attends regular (fortnightly) meetings at the council to discuss design plans with council officers. He also keeps a keen eye on traffic orders from Newcastle City Council. There is a lot to do, assess and comment on, so the group has its work cut out. Particularly with council programmes not always being that clear and often giving very little warning, we sometimes have just a few hours to react, debate and devise the Campaign stance. That’s quite a tall ask for a group of volunteers, and help is always appreciated!

On 27 January Committee resolved for the team to set up its own mailing list, separate from Committee, to focus on these technical discussions, council consultations and plans. The Infrastructure team will also arrange regular face-to-face meetings to look at plans and make decisions on behalf of the Committee, within the policy boundaries – this may involve inviting local members to attend and comment. Another way would be to use Cyclescape to engage and capture views. We will see how it goes and adjust our approach as necessary and as resources allow.

With more monies coming Newcastle’s way through CCAF2, we really do need to be on the ball to point out good designs, innovative layouts and better approaches to highway engineering and transport planning. CCAF1, which will end in September 2015, has yet to see any construction of cycleways despite many meetings and much talk. Council processes often let us down, but we will, as always, do our best to bring about inclusive street design fit for the future.

If you want to get involved in the Infrastructure team or any other Campaign activity, please get in touch on newcastle.cycling.campaign@gmail.com