Chronicle – 13 August 2020 (Daniel Holland)
Newcastle City Council closed five bridges in residential neighbourhoods to traffic on Thursday morning, in an experimental move that has sparked fierce debate in recent weeks.
Controversial traffic bans on five Newcastle bridges have come into force – and were met with a mixture of anger, joy, and calls for constructive talks after weeks of fierce debate.
Traffic cones and closure signs appeared on Thursday morning in the first stage of Newcastle City Council’s plans to cut rat-running by shutting five crossings to traffic – Salters Bridge in Gosforth, Castle Farm Road next to Jesmond Dene, Haldane Bridge in Jesmond, the Argyle Street Bridge near Manors Metro station, and Stoneyhurst Bridge in South Gosforth.
The Stoneyhurst closure in particular has provoked a backlash from many locals, with opponents denying that it is used as a rat run and claiming the move will clog up surrounding roads with traffic.
Fleur Wilkinson, who started an online petition calling for the “vital transport link” to be kept open, said she wants “space for all” and encouraged calm, constructive debate over the road’s future – but added that many residents now have a “lack of trust” in the council.
Sally Watson, of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign and the Safer Stoneyhurst group of residents supporting the experimental changes, added that it was now down to the council to “properly take on all the different views and ideas. There is no one solution that will keep everyone happy, but it all has to be worked through until there is something effective. For me the main thing is whether children and people with children can get around safely.”
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