This follows the account of the first part of the Campaign’s AGM 2015.
Katja presented the Campaign plan for 2015-16 which is articulated around 4 main areas of attention:
- Talking about the transport transition and documenting the economic benefits of cycling
- Building the transport transition (infrastructure)
- Engaging decision-makers
- Members engagement building on last year’s “shifting up a gear” motto
Katja invited members to discuss the activities which could derive from these areas and asked to discuss how members could contribute to them. More comprehensive notes of the discussions which followed are being prepared. In the meantime these are some of the highlights:
Transport Transition – Economic case for cycling
As outlined by Geoff, there are different levels: individual, community and society/city. And also different aspects: impact on local retailers and how to overturn perception problems, highlight public health benefits and how they can be converted to monetary value. Despite evidence, data and local surveys in support of cycling, retailers can still be sceptical – the idea of doing cycle “cash mobs” was flagged up.
Transport Transition – Infrastructure
Ruth talked about what it’s like to cycle in the West end. There are cyclists, not just students, but it is currently not pleasant and safe to cycle around. There are lots of buses, narrow bike lanes, wind tunnels and too many parked cars. Putting aside the strategic cycle routes, in order for people to go to key destinations such as schools, community facilities, workplaces etc, we need a network. Transport Transition is also not just about cycling. Public transport is key – part of the traffic in the West end is generated by people commuting from further afield (Northumberland) so improving public transport connections is absolutely essential. Maybe we need a Sustainable Transport Forum for the city, where interest groups (cycling, public transport, elders, disability) can work together to shape and steer the city transport transition.
Activities will be more local and neighbourhood-based; members can pick up specific spots to focus on – for example Tony suggested that members invite their Councillors to join a school run and observe traffic issues, as a way to start discussing how the built environment has to change. The voice of the campaign will be strengthened by individuals talking to Councillors – it’s not one or the other, it’s both! It would be great to have more local branches, building on the model led by Sally in Jesmond and recognising that it takes time to empower people, faciliate knowledge sharing and a sense of community.
John said that there are lots of opportunities to help the campaign and we need to continue to explain what they are, how much time members need to commit to and use our communication channels (newsletter, email) to pick one activity at the time and “demystify” it. Sometimes it takes one person to put their hand up and say “I’ll do it” and some other times, it is not as straightforward. It is important to provide support and guidance to volunteers, at least at the start. Watch this space, in the meantime, we’d like to thank Alistair for agreeing to be the Campaign’s representative on the Tyne and Wear Public Transport User Group.
So here’s to another year of campaigning!
Let’s, together, make 2015-16 the start of Newcastle’s Transport Transition.