Council are deliberating on the future for Gosforth High Street by looking at the hundreds of consultation responses they received. Here is what should have happened.
You may recall, there were two options to pick from, and two options only. We understand that this was decided by the Cabinet member responsible, Cllr Ged Bell. Out of these we supported Option 2 – a two-way cycleway – A more innovative approach over the traditional share-the-road-with-buses proposal. Above all, we supported the principle of setting-aside of road-space for cycling. And we heavily caveated our response which you can read here.
We do not think, however, council’s option actually looked at the full range of possibilities for this popular Newcastle high street.
The consultation in itself was flawed. It provided the wrong list of options, misleading and depriving the public of voting for a vision for Gosforth High Street. We wish the Cabinet member could have spoken to us beforehands to discuss the array of possible futures for the high street. We requested a meeting, but this has been repeatedly denied. We are unsure what influence local councillors had. There seemed to be some discontent at the full council meeting in April.
Moving on, here’s the solution that should have been considered. And here’s the crux: to put this in place, real lasting commitment to our transport future and planning is needed. A sign-up to a people vision for Gosforth High Street, and indeed the whole city. A political signal of traffic reduction, managed junction capacity and enabling modal shift. It would mean taking private car journeys off the high street, making it into a bus-only road and setting aside dedicated space for cycling. It can be done. Here is what it could and should look like.
Credit google streetview – Nobelstraat, Utrecht, Netherlands
As a reminder, here’s the current car-dominated environment on Gosforth High Street. It’s not exactly encouraging and promoting a place-for-people atmosphere.
Credit google streetview – Gosforth High Street, Newcastle, UK