Following the publication of our view, and in no particular order, here is a selection of what some of you have said so far. More views added on 3 April 2014, go to 20 onwards.
Keep writing. Every letter counts. Contact us with your questions.
###### 1 ######
Having just looked through the proposals for the redevelopment of Gosforth High St I would like to make my support known for the ‘Option 2’ plan, (the one with the two way cycle path). This is far superior to option one which is very poor and will likely not be very well used.
Option 2 is terrific, I think that it will really open the street up to local cycle users seeking to make more use of their local shops and facilities. Unlike option 1 it provides much better separation of cycles and cars and does not force cyclists to pull out into the traffic for every parked car or stopped bus. Indeed I’d like to see the plan extended at least far as Regent Centre.
I’m quite new in Newcastle and ever since I moved here I’ve considered Gosforth High Street to be one of the worst streets I’ve seen in any UK city. All priority is given to the through traffic with local people forced to cram onto two very narrow slithers of pavement. What does the through traffic add to the high street? Why should it be more important than the people who live and shop there?
###### 2 ######
I use Gosforth High Street very regularly as a car driver and as a shopper on foot. I have always been alarmed by the disregard for parking restrictions along this road often I have seen people parking on yellow lines in order to pop into greggs for instance.
I am also surprised that parking is allowed on the white cycle route lines and how narrow the pavement is for pedestrians to manoeuvre around bus waiting areas and other street furniture while road traffic enjoys two lanes.
I have stopped attempting to cycle here because the two lanes restrict the width of the highway pushing cars and cycles into competing for space and having to squeeze past buses stopping or delivery vehicles parked along the street.
I used to live in south Gosforth and found that use of a cycle to make short journeys to Asda for instance was too hazardous.
One thing that is encouraging is increased cycle parking near Trinity Church and the introduction of scratch bike hire at the north end of the High St. Better cycling provision with a two way cycleway will reap benefits to this area by increasing opportunities to walk, cycle, use the bus to get to a cleaner more pleasant shopping street. I can imagine use of the street by shops/cafés for instance and a change of priority from car to pedestrian will transform the area.
###### 3 ######
Having lived in Gosforth for many years and a regular cyclist I think that the plans are very much needed to ensure we can co-habit the roads with other users in a safe manner. Many people are put-off cycling by their close proximity to cars on the highways. These plans will generate significantly more separation than currently available and so encourage many more people to cycle in the local area. I hope that the success of the proposed regeneration will be heralded as a success and be used as a template for further regenerations across the local areas.
###### 4 ######
I use Gosforth High Street both as a cyclist and motorist and find the current situation untenable from both perspectives, with my way impeded by people parking along the high street along double yellow lines or within the current cycle lanes.
###### 5 ######
I have followed with eager interest the plans for Gosforth High Street since I cycle regularly to Gosforth for meetings with a project partner. At the moment, I am often taking a longer detour to avoid the High Street and its scary corners. This means also that I have to cycle over the Town Moor at night. As someone who live in the city centre, I would like to see strategies like this applied much more in the City Centre – for example banning parking on Queen Victoria Road.
###### 6 ######
I have been following with interesting the development of plans for the cycling infrastructure in Gosforth and wish to make a number of comments about the proposals that were put to consultation last week. I live on West Avenue so use the High Street for shopping and local services wherever possible and the vibrancy (and independence) of the locality is one of the main reasons I chose to move there. However, I am also a regular cyclist, using my bike to commute most days and Gosforth High Street is part of my journey to work.
I have studied the proposals in detail and am impressed with the amount of work that has been done by Jonathan Higgins and his team. They have, under Option 2, produced on of the most ambitious pieces of cycling infrastructure that I have seen proposed for Newcastle in the 15 years I have been cycling to work. However, I do also have a number of concerns which I would like to raise.
I agree with the analysis that Newcycling has undertaken on this scheme, that the plans do not go far enough to achieve the aims of making Newcastle a safe cycling city. I understand that there is a lot of local noise being generated by the small number of people in the STURR campaign, but I would not like to see their views given undue credit simply because they shout the loudest. The whole purpose of the funding which is being used to pay for these developments is to encourage a step-change in the way people travel to work, to take them out of their cars and use other forms of transport where possible and where feasible.
To this end, I don’t agree with the provision of so many parking spaces along the High Street itself. The street is a place for people, not cars. Yes, it is still a major thoroughfare so requires room for traffic, but cars should not be encourages to park along it. This will detract from the environment and increase the danger to pedestrians and cyclists. The spaces lost from Salters Road car park may be a contentious issue, but by making the environment safer and more attractive to non-motorised travel then the need for car parking will naturally diminish anyway.
I am dismay to see that the cycle track in Option 2 ends at Salters Road junction, thrusting cyclists back into the midst of an urban dual-carriageway as soon as they’re further north. There is surely space for sensible cycling provision to the north too? I am also concerned about the layout at junctions along the High Street; will cyclists be given priority (as in Holland) to ensure car drivers don’t block the route or cause accidents? Also on this note, I would like to see the cycle route protected from the road, perhaps by bollards or a raised curb, to discourage infringement from motorists and give cyclists a sense of safety. Finally, a common problem of cycle routes along busy roads is that they often fill with the debris thrown from the road by passing motor vehicles: grit, broken glass, as well as snow and ice. I hope that the plans for this route will include ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
###### 7 ######
I am concerned that the plan for the High Street does not extend further, I find that cycling past The Regent Centre particularly frightening.
###### 8 ######
I cycle 32 miles every day from Blyth to Newcastle and I really cannot wait for the day to come that my wife doesn’t wonder if I’ll be killed going to/ from work so I’m in full support any sensible plans to support a long term cycling strategy that “isn’t just some paint on the road”.
Remaining safe on my route is hard and and I’d like to see dedicated, two way, protected cycle provision on Gosforth High Street.
I’d like to see physical protection of the cycleway, like a full-height kerb, mainly to allow for avoiding rush hour congestion and also to prevent car parking in the cycle space which is extremely problematic on Gosforth High Street.
###### 9 ######
I work in Longbenton and I cycle to Gosforth often for shopping, and nearby to visit friends. I currently avoid cycling on the high street as much as possible as it does not feel safe to cycle along. Option 1 to me does not indicate any real improvement that would make me feel safe when cycling, as the breaking up of the cycle lane would require me to continually pull out around parked vehicles and a lane like this would probably not feel safe with the traffic levels on the high street. Whereas option 2 would allow me feel safer when cycling as no vehicles should obstruct the cycle lane, the final design of something like this is key to making sure that it is built as safe as possible.
###### 10 ######
I am a Gosforth resident and already notice that the big queues that form on the High St are due to cars pulling up – surely parking bays will exacerbate this issue and mean more chopping and changing lanes, which is dangerous when you are on a bike.
###### 11 ######
I am a regular cyclist through Gosforth and find particularly disturbing the constant parking on the cycle path on entry into the shopping street. Also there is lack of safety in the high street owing to the passage of buses and fast cars.
I have stopped cycling to work because of the conflict with buses on the High St, especially at peak times when there is competition for space and buses pull in front of you at every stop.
###### 12 ######
Option 2 uses the space well and is continuous, rather than the cycle lanes found around the city that stop and start and are not exclusive to bikes.I would also ask that these principles are applied to the other cycle routes around the city. Not to do so unfortunately makes a nonsense of being a cycle-friendly city and would be a lost opportunity to make Newcastle a city where cycling is truly supported.
###### 13 ######
Ideally the track should extend much further North – maybe this could be considered in the near future. The cycleway must be marked clearly when going across side streets to avoid coming into conflict with drivers. This would benefit drivers too and minimise the incidence of dangerous cyling. At the moment some reckless cyclists are encouraged to cut up cars and beat them at their own game, which would not be an issue if dedicated areas of road were provided. Option 2 sounds like an imaginative plan that shows vision for a more dynamic, environmental and attractive High Street, and one that will bring economic as well as health benefits.
###### 14 ######
What enforcement methods will be used to ensure that cars are not parking in the cycle lane?
Why only some bus stops are located outside of the cycle lane, and others are located within it, thus breaking its continuity?
What plans are to be taken beyond Gosforth High Street, at the Blue House Roundabout, to ensure continuity of cycle lane provision from Gosforth towards the city centre?
###### 15 ######
I’d like to add my support to option 2 to provide a 2-way continuous cycle lane along Gosforth High Street, although I think you should also physically separate the traffic from the cycle lane to prevent collisions between south-travelling cyclists and north-travelling motorists.
Let’s have no more token cycle lanes which only exist where the road is already wide enough and then stop whenever it narrows or comes to a junction. Let’s have no more cycle lanes alongside parked cars which are positively dangerous – since car doors can be opened into the path of cyclists knocking them into the road, and let’s have no more parking allowed on cycle lanes!
Newcastle is full of token and, in some cases, dangerous, cycle lanes. I can think of only one cycle lane that works really well and that’s the one on the paths along Scotswood Road.
Provision of safe cycle lanes will encourage more people to cycle with all the resulting benefits.
###### 16 ######
I live on Brunton Park, and cycle along the Great North Road, along Gosforth High Street, and onwards to Gateshead to work every day. I also cycle to the shops in Gosforth. I know lots of people who would love to cycle to work each day, or to the shops, but are terrified of the traffic… I fear that a lot of money will be spent on these plans, but the end result will do little to encourage people to leave their cars at home and cycle through Gosforth.
However, I feel that unless these plans to go much further, this will be a huge missed opportunity. This should be the blue plan for the next three generations of cyclists. Please don’t just tinker around at the edges, simply paying lip service to cycling safety. We need to set a fantastic example for the rest of the city, and be held up as a good example of cycling safety. (Note: signed by a family)
###### 17 ######
I live and work in and around Newcastle and this often includes using Gosforth High Street. I use my pedal bike and am also a member of the Common Wheels car club. I occasionally use buses and the metro too. Many of my journeys combine all of these modes of transport.
I currently avoid using my bike on Gosforth High street because I have previously had several near accidents due the poor planning and lay out of the traffic systems there.
I am very proud of my home city and the region in general but feel we are let down by the lack of thought and resource put into planning our traffic systems so that they are suitable for 21st century transport options.
I hope you can come up with a sustainable modernisation plan for our streets and shopping areas that recognise the importance of reducing individual car traffic and promote fossil free, clean and healthy ways of allowing access for all our diverse community.
###### 18 ######
I do not agree that the proposed plans for the High Street has to be linked to the Salters Road/Church Road/Salters Car Park junction plans – I believe these could exist as independent plans.
###### 19 ######
We’d also like to see similar schemes introduced on other busy streets in the City such as Chillingham Road or Osborne Road.
###### 20 ######
I use Gosforth High Street both as a cyclist and motorist and find the current situation untenable from both perspectives, with my way impeded by people parking along the highstreet along double yellow lines or within the current cycle lanes.
###### 21 ######
I am a Gosforth resident, and frequently cycle along the southern end of the High Street to and from my home on the south end in West Gosforth. The current cycle lane is almost always blocked by parked cars on the west side. So I am very much in favour of Option 2, the two-way cycleway, in your recently published plans for Gosforth High Street.
###### 22 ######
Of the two options, I support Option 2, the two-way cycleway. It is undoubtedly the more sustainable, progressive option.
However, of course it could go much further. My opinion is that car parking *on* the High Street is not necessary, and should not be formalised – space should be given to people walking, cycling and using public transport. Although the loss of the Salters Road car park will be unfortunate, there are other options for parking – including the rooftop of the shopping centre and surrounding streets (where current parking restrictions could be altered).
Ideally the track should extended, both to the North and South. My daily commute takes me from Grange Park to Newcastle University and back – I am a confident, respectful cyclist, yet constantly aware of my vulnerability. I’d like to see physical protection between cyclists and vehicles.
There are many “flash-points” on my journey, including:
– Buses encroaching into the cycle-lane heading South (past the County towards the speed camera)
– The death-trap of the Blue House Roundabout (where staying inline, part of the traffic flow, is safer than crossing Jesmond Road from over the duel-use [sic] path)
– The crossing orientation over Forsyth Road
– Heading North, the narrowing of the inside lane approaching Regent Centre roundabout
– Potholes immediately prior to left-turn on to Park Avenue (just as one intends to take a hand off to signal!)
###### 23 ######
I’m writing to add my broad support to your ‘option 2’ proposal.
I use Gosforth High Street as a driver, pedestrian and cyclist.
Firstly can I congratulate the council and the project team for being brave enough to put together such a radical scheme. This is the first scheme I have seen proposed for Newcastle where the needs of non car users have being considered as a central part of the design rather than been an after-thought.
While I broadly support the option I think there are number of weaknesses that would need to be address to make this a truly exemplary bit of cycle infrastructure;
• I think the segregated two-way cycle lane should be extended further North to Regent Centre/Asda. The current plan shows the cycle lane reverting to standard ‘painted lines’ after St Nicholas Ave. There is plenty of space in this section which is largely dual carriage way and given the hard work done in fitting the lane down the high street it seems a shame not to complete the route and provide access to the offices and shopping at Regent Centre.
• The three bus stops between St Nicholas Ave and Salters Road which cut into the cycle lane look extremely problematic and dangerous. Cyclists having just enjoyed the safety and convenience of the two-way segregated route will be thrust into conflict with buses; quite scary and not acceptable to all levels of cyclists.
• The new junction with Salters Road does not look cycle friendly; as cyclists are released from the traffic lights they will have to deal with a stream of traffic overtaking them. A ‘safe route’ should clearly be marked on the roadway to keep cyclists and drivers in separate parts of the roadway.
• The two-way cycle route should have physical separation from the road by way of a kerb or similar to prevent any incursions from vehicles.
Overall I think your option 2 proposal has great potential to improve the high street, and despite what some campaign groups may have you think, will actually bring about a step change improvement to the high street and encourage more visits by local residents to a better, more people centred environment.
###### 24 ######
I live in the city centre and use my bike for all local journeys; I occasionally cycle on the High Street for shopping or on my way to visit friends in Gosforth or further afield. As it is, the High Street is not a pleasant and safe environment for cyclists and I can’t see how it will encourage more people to cycle. I’m aware that there has been a significant amount of collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists along the High Street (around 50 the last three years) which I would hope, will prompt Newcastle City Council to act by creating safer conditions.
I also understand that local retailers/shop owners have expressed concerns as they perceive parking and more precisely “parking outside the shop” as essential for their survival. There is well-documented evidence and research that demonstrate that the use of private car for shopping is exaggerated and reality is different with more people walking, cycling and using public transport to shop locally. In addition, research also shows that spend per sustainable travel shoppers is higher than car drivers and that creating attractive and safe retail areas for people is in fact good for the local economy: https://newcycling.org/sites/default/files/Newcycling_Retail.pdf
Only an improved option 2 will have the desired benefits: protect the regular cyclists who use the High Street, and encourage more local people to cycle – both contributing to the Newcastle Cycling Strategy/Plan 2022. It would also create a blueprint for other developments in the city.
###### 25 ######
I am a local resident, walking and cycling to the High Street to do my shopping and I wish more people would do the same. I can understand why they don’t at the moment as the road environment is very hostile to vulnerable users. Please take this opportunity to make our High Street a more friendly place for people.
###### 26 ######
I am a mum of two who regularly cycles around Newcastle either by myself, with my kids on their own bikes or with a child on a tag-along bike. At the moment Gosforth High Street is a complete mess for pedestrians and cyclists (it’s not great for cars either!). Option 2 seems by far the least worst option. While I’m emailing, could I also raise:
* the complete lack of a good cycle route through Newcastle. I regularly attempt to cycle from Newcastle University to the Centre for Life, and it’s a nightmare – pedestrianized zones, one-way streets so I can either walk OR risk my life in heavy traffic round by St James. There really should be good cycle routes crossing the city centre in all directions. I recently ventured south of the river and discovered Gateshead is even worse!
* the lack of dropped kerbs in so many places. So for example if I’m riding in the road and then I notice that a decent bike path has emerged up above the kerb, there generally won’t be a dropped kerb to enable me to mount it for ages, so I carry on being in drivers’ way on the road.
* anti-motorbike devices which make bike paths inaccessible to cyclists towing trailers or tagalongs. The footbridge over the A1 near the Kingston Park Tesco is a good example. I took my little girl to Ponteland recently on the tagalong and we had to wrestle our way through this one. When the kids were small, I used to have a bike trailer and could have used it to do our weekly supermarket shop – we live about a mile from the Kingston Park Tesco when you go via this footbridge. Except that the anti-bike railing make taking a trailer to Tesco completely impossible, so I just drive the car. Great result Newcastle Council.
###### 27 ######
I live in Jesmond but regularly cycle on Gosforth High Street to visit the shops, visit friends and to get out into Northumberland to cycle. At present it is a complete nightmare to cycle on as you have to compete with buses and parked cars. Option 2 will give a much clearer “cycle space” similar to those seen in great cycling cities such as Amsterdam.
###### 28 ######
I consider the Council should be much braver in planning and presenting a vision of a future where the townscape is less dominated by motor vehicles. A healthier, more economically vibrant, more sociable, and happier society could be the result. With regard to public health I understand the Council has obligations to tackle obesity and pollution levels. This requires much more bravery than shown in these Gosforth proposals. I would have been pleased to see an option 4 [not known to us, ed.] with no motor vehicles on Gosforth High Street and the potential to create a vibrant and sociable shopping area for the community.
###### 29 ######
I must add my wholehearted support of Option2 for the dedicated cycleway. This option is exactly the kind of initiative that we see on the Continent from Mallorca to Denmark. This would be a significant demonstration by Newcastle City Council that they are serious about a mixed traffic city with safety built in.
###### 30 ######
Car parking on the High Street is not necessary, and should not be formalised – space should be given to people walking, cycling and using public transport. Anything other than parking by mandatory delivery vehicles for the businesses along the high street will cause blockages. There are parking spaces immediately off the high street which people can use. The high street is far too much of a major link road these days to afford designated parking spaces along.
Ideally the track should extend much further North – maybe this could be considered in the near future. I have friends and family who live in the ever expanding Great Park and I would like to think that the council is planning on facilitating and encouraging cycling (effectively a carbon-free transportation) throughout the city.
The above are very important issues to me, being a local resident who uses Gosforth High Street almost daily, and I hope that every effort is being made to facilitate, encourage and protect those of us who chose not to use individual motor vehicles on today’s already congested roads.
###### 31 ######
As a daily cyclist residing within the city, I feel I have a vested interest in cycling within the area. As such I have become aware of the plans for Gosforth High Street, a route taken by myself when travelling from the university to visit friends.
Looking into this further, I’ve found analysis conducted by Newcycling with which I agree, supporting the selection of the option 2 solution with a two-way cycleway. This permanent fixture would be especially beneficial to myself as many of my journeys take place outside of the 7am – 7pm period proposed in option 1, a time (especially in winter) when cycling on the main carriageway can be intimidating for many. Having experienced such two-way cycle routes in other countries, I would hope that as part of this option a protective kerb is considered between vehicles and cyclists to further clarify the separation of traffic and reduce the use of the cycle lane for parking.
I understand that improvements must consider the needs of all stakeholders, but I’m afraid I cannot understand the need in option 2 for the apparently token inclusion of a small quantity of general on-street parking. I appreciate that loading and disabled facilities must be incorporated (and commended), but surely the space for general parking could be better used to make the area more desirable to residents and shoppers. Wouldn’t this help make Gosforth High Street a more desirable destination than the thoroughfare that it currently feels?
###### 32 ######
I’m writing to give my support to Option 2 (two-way cycleway) for Gosforth High Street. I regularly cycle and walk in Gosforth High Street, and the Option 2 plan looks like a breath of fresh air for what is currently one of the most unpleasant high streets in the UK.
For the first time since Northumberland Street was pedestrianised, we have an opportunity to really improve the streetscape in Newcastle, and resist the ever growing tide of motor vehicle dominance. The soul of the City is at stake, and we have an opportunity to start to win it back. I’ve read that at the time Northumberland Street was pedestrianised there was huge opposition, with local traders predicting the closure of most shops, but the opposite has happened. I hope you will similarly be able to resist doom mongers who say Option 2 must not go ahead.
I’d like to see the scheme (Option 2) extended to completely remove car parking on Gosforth High Street, extended further north, the cycle way physically protected with a kerb as is common for such cycle ways in other countries, the cycle way clearly marked at junctions, and to see similar schemes set up on other high streets in Newcastle such as Chillingham Road, Heaton Road and Newton Road.
###### 33 ######
As a Gosforth home owner and a keen cyclist, I have been following the proposed changes for the high street. Having cycled along the high street many times I believe it is essential that this opportunity to include real provision for cyclists is not missed. I would be so proud if Gosforth could become known as a cycle friendly place. I also believe that better cycle provision would increase the value of homes in the area.
One of the most frustrating things for me when cycling is the lack of continuity; in so many places cyclists are ‘abandoned’ by their cycle path! I’d like to understand more about how to get on and off the track travelling southwards as well as learn more about the intermediate exit and entry points on the track.
Having recently cycled along the well protected cycle path right though the centre of Vancouver, Canada, I’d like to see physical protection of the cycleway, like a full-height kerb, to prevent car parking in the cycle space.
As a cyclist commuting to work in winter I find it very unfair that car drivers are given cleared and salted roads whereas cyclists and pedestrians are left with dangerous slippery paths. With any cycle path there should be a maintenance plan to keep the cycleway be kept clear of debris, ice and snow, so it’s operational all year round.
###### 34 ######
We use to cycle along sections of the high street quite often as it is easier to get to (due to congestion) by bike to do our shopping and commuting to/from the university/RVI but at present it is very narrow and cars dangerously try to overtake cyclists quite often. Also as a car driver I find the present layout and option 1 not very satisfactory. If it was safer for cyclist I would be happy to bring my 2 ½ year old daughter with me on the high street at present I think it is too dangerous to have her on the bike seat behind me.
Although I live in Sandyford, I visit Gosforth two or three times per week as I belong to (and chair) the tennis club there. I also combine my visits with shopping on the High St. I am a confident (63 year old) cyclist but I don’t think the environment there is good for less confident cyclists.
###### 35 ######
I am a resident of East Gosforth ward and use the High Street for shopping. I also travel through/along the High Street for other journeys, on foot, by bicycle and car. My preference is for Option 2 because it is the only option which provides cyclists with greater safety and more dedicated road space than they currently have, which is one of the aims of the scheme as I understand it. However I do have a few comments
– If you hope to get more people cycling than currently do, or to improve the cycling experience, then by keeping parking bays and business loading rights, it is unlikely that many NEW cyclists will begin to use this route. I have just come back from the Netherlands where separate cycle lanes are available on all roads and it means that cyclists can get on with their journey, not having to stop to wait behind buses or to overtake stationary/loading vehicles. This is surely one of the reasons why so many people cycle as transport there. It is great that some of these issues are addressed with the red route and two way cycleway but as it is not continuous/all the way along the Great North Rd this needs to be borne in mind.
– I can see that you wish to retain car parking spaces (moving some to the High St as compensation for those lost from the car park at Salters Rd junction) but I believe that parking spaces should be OFF the High St to improve the whole experience for those using the High St, not just cyclists but pedestrians etc (noise, congestion, air quality). If enough cannot be found in existing car parks then as mentioned at one meeting I attended, there should be negotiation with Sainsbury’s to allow later opening of their multi-storey car park (and what about talking to DVLA/Gosforth Civic about putting some pay spaces there too? It is only a 5 min walk to the High St shops). We should be making changes based on how we want to see the High St/ Gosforth in future and for me this should be about more people walking to the High St, using public transport or cycling. Therefore the plans we make should reflect a future vision and not be stuck in old-fashioned ‘car comes first’ ways of thinking.
– The cycleway should definitely have physical separation from the parking spaces e.g. a line of kerb-stones and be clearly marked (a different colour?). Also it should be made very clear to both drivers and cyclists how and where to join/leave the cycleway and how the cyclist journey continues (I believe that the Cycle Forum and Newcastle Cycling Campaign should be involved in the final design to bring their knowledge and experience to the project). Without physical separation from the parking I am not even sure I would use the new cycleway, as I would be petrified cycling along whilst a vehicle is being parked right next to me!
– I am not clear from the pictures what happens to a cyclist travelling north past Salters Road junction – their cycle lane disappears? Especially with it becoming two lane traffic in both directions at this point I can foresee a DANGER AREA for cycle safety. Many people go from Gosforth to the library, pool or Asda so they need the journey to continue to be as safe as possible and supplying a dedicated cycle route would help to do that (along with greater interest from the council/Police in driver behaviour).
– Please can you co-ordinate with traffic management/enforcement in order that all unauthorised stopping/waiting on the High St is dealt with properly.
###### 36 ######
Currently Gosforth High Street is dangerous for cyclists, especially for children so most people will prefer to use other transport methods e.g. car, or cycle on pavements.
A radical change is well overdue – Option 2, a two-way cycleway proposal may well be the start. It is a unique opportunity to begin with creation of modern ‘Dutch-style’ cycle facilities which would actually end up being used by cyclists and further inspire other sustainable transport projects.
There are too many of ‘patch-on’ hardly useable afterthought solutions where money is spent with little effect. Option 1 appears to be one of them and I hope it will not be further pursued. The frequent bus stops and cars still stopping in the cycle lanes (despite the restrictions) would create obstacles and force cyclists into the main traffic flow, not to mention the danger of suddenly opened car doors. Cars turning left would continue to cross in front of cyclists. It would certainly not help the efforts to increase the number of trips made by bike, whether for shopping, commuting, school runs or leisure.
I am aware of the concerns regarding the reduction of car parking spaces (I also drive). Unfortunately there is a high perception in our culture that local trade is dependent on customers only arriving by cars. Isn’t this just a consequence of non-existing or poor provisions for people who would prefer to walk or cycle to do their daily local shop but haven’t got that option? Would Newcastle city centre retail business thrive without the motor traffic restrictions? Car parking directly on the High Street should not be encouraged, priority should be given to people walking, cycling and using public transport.