Newcastle City Council is currently (until the 8th March 2019) seeking views on Walking and Cycling across the city as part of the development of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrasructure Plan (LCWIP). The details can be found on the following link: https://newcastlewalkingcyclingroutes.commonplace.is/
We wrote a response directly to the council which has been reproduced here:-
Having read the information on the LCWIP commonplace and looked at the provided map of routes, we thought it best to respond directly, as the commonplace map would not be suitable for a response of this type. Please consider this our (NewCycling) response to the LCWIP engagement currently taking place.
From the material provided, the council have made it clear that it is currently trying to develop a map of where the walking and cycling network should exist. What is not clear at the moment, is whether the walking network will be the same as the cycling network. Due to differences in the types of journeys, distances covered and speeds attainable by the two different modes of transport, the needs of the network for both of these are very different. Therefore, we would recommend different design parameters for walking and cycling and therefore a different network plan for each.
For cycling, the council should be proposing a main cycling network that is creates of routes that are around 400m apart in built up areas. In the rural edges of the city routes should generally connect up the built-up areas as directly as possible. We have created a map that shows how a network that meets this would look:
A link to interactive version of the map – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pWFGwie74z307S7GuSqOWuIGyAofvRrt&usp=sharing
The map we have produced is an indication of where routes could lie to make a main cycle network that meets the ideal 400m by 400m network density. We accept that local groups and residents may have better ideas of where certain routes should lie, and that a final map would look different to what we have provided.
We urge the council to ensure that the final plan that is produced of the ideal network is designed for a 400m by 400m network, knowing that the following steps of the LCWIP process is to identify what the short-term and medium-term priorities are for development and spending. Please feel free to use the map we have developed as a starting point in achieving this.
Building the network to this density (with the quality of the provision also built to a high standard), would create a network that provides a real alternative to driving. This will enable modal shift by converting journeys taken by car, into journeys cycled. This would be a significant step towards the councils aim within its cycling strategy of increasing the number of short journeys (under five miles) undertaken by bicycle, and would have many other benefits that support council’s wider policies such as reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality and improving people’s health.
By not planning the network to the ideal size now risks missing opportunities in the future. This would lead to repeating the process again to include the additional routes needed for a higher density cycling network and potentially spending time and money on routes that may be less of a priority in a higher density network.
What does not seem to be considered at this stage is what the provision will look like on the ground. The council need to follow up this network mapping work with the adoption of expected standards for cycle provision across the city, such as those used throughout the Netherlands set in the Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic (CROW), which would be applied to on all future highway schemes across the city to create infrastructure that allows people of all ages and abilities to cycle safely and comfortably throughout their entire journey.
We hope to continue working with the council as the LCWIP develops.