This week the council have made plans for John Dobson Street public.
You can view the plans here, and you can share your views on the scheme here. Alternatively, the council are holding sessions at the City Library over the following week (details available through the previous links).
With this plan, we are very optimistic about the future of John Dobson Street to be one for people – as a destination as well as connecting more fairly and smartly by enabling active and healthy travel choices. The conceptual plan that we have seen appears to achieve that shift away from its strangling motorway appearance. Reducing this severance and improving the sense of place will be an asset to the quality of the public environment and to the people using it.
We have been asking for a safe North-South route for years and this is an excellent start.
We are very happy that road space has been appropriated from the currently over-proportioned carriageway to provide separated continuous space for walking and cycling, thereby bringing a human scale to the road environment. The junction designs, albeit conceptual at this stage, seem to cater well for walking and cycling too.
The cycle roundabout at the junction with Northumberland Road looks over-designed and is unnecessarily impeding pedestrian desire lines. It should be changed to a simple cycleway crossing, straightening the pavement space for walking in the process.
As a matter of procedure, we’d have liked to be much more involved in the development of the scheme (point zero engagement), and are still looking forward to receiving the city centre works programme as well as the timetable for CCAF / SCR design and construction which would allow us to plan and allocate volunteer resources. Council would do well to explain within their vision and project documentation how John Dobson Street sits in the wider context, like walking and cycling connectivity north and southwards (NCN725) and connecting to central station and quayside, and east and westward routes too.
There is still much that needs deciding that will be progressed during the detailed design stage. We ask to be kept fully abreast with council’s decisions and reasons, and be given adequate time to comment and shape the plans.
Overall, this is looking like a great scheme for the city centre, its residents, customers and vitality. For these reasons we support this scheme and hope that the momentum continues to deliver something great for cycling in Newcastle.