We would firstly like to express our thanks and support to the the council for extending the city centre 20mph. This is something we have been asking for over the past few years and we are glad to see that this is happening.
We would also like to take this as opportunity to raise a few questions and points that we have about the 20mph zone.
Firstly, we feel that a number of streets should also be included in the 20mph zone:
- Barras Bridge, between Claremont Road and Haymarket
- The Quayside – in particular the section East of the swing bridge.
- Richardson Rd – Alongside Leazes Park and the RVI.
- St Mary’s Place and Sandyford Road – From at least the junction with Portland Rd/Portland Trc
While making the streets 20mph is a great first step, we feel there should be a plan for the next steps in the city centre.
While enforcement of the speed limit is a policing issue, there are measures that can be introduced through street design that encourage people (both consciously and subconsciously) to drive at lower speeds, we ask that following the change in speed limit, that the council start to introduce these measures in to the street design that encourage people to obey the speed limit, reducing the need for police intervention for speed limit enforcement. This also stated on our website: “We generally support any speed reduction as it reduces road risk, damage and injury. We acknowledge Newcastle is a 20mph city, but this conversion is far from complete. Overall we’d like to see an even more pragmatic approach to speed zoning (blanket 20mph) with design-led solutions (not just signs). Council may like to think whether communities could get involved through speed watch initiatives or similar. Rat-runs should be identified and prevented.”
There are still a number of rat runs that exist through the city centre, we ask that the council continues to close these off so that private motor traffic is prevented from cutting through the centre making all private motor journeys in the city centre access only, this will reduce the volume of motor traffic and the danger, pollution and noise that accompanies it.
Rationalise the roads that buses (and taxis) use to get through and around the city centre. There are places where high volumes of bus traffic travelling in all directions creates conflict with both pedestrians and cyclists, simplifying the routes that buses can take will make a number of these areas much safer for walking and cycling in the city centre.
Introduce cycle contraflows on the city’s one way streets, it would be great if this could be done across the whole city centre in one go (like the blanket approach being taken with this 20 mph zone).
Scott Dawson – NewCycling Infrastructure Lead
The plans we are commenting on: City Centre 20 mph TRO [pdf]