Some good news! Newcastle City Council has announced plans to filter a number of bridges across the city as part of its Covid-19 response. Click here for their article.
We welcome the news that Newcastle is to trial the removal of through motor traffic on five bridges across the city. We think these filters are a fantastic first step towards creating low traffic neighbourhoods, making Newcastle a more liveable city and enabling more journeys to be made on foot or by cycle.
The five bridges will be filtered using temporary measures. The bridges are:
- Salters Bridge – At the eastern end of Hollywood Avenue over the Ouseburn river in Gosforth
- Stoneyhurst Road Bridge – Over the metro line in South Gosforth
- Castles Farm Road Bridge – Over the Ouseburn at the northern end of Jesmond Dene
- Haldane Bridge – Over the metro line in Jesmond, beside Osborne Road and near the Newcastle High School for Girls
- Argyle Street Bridge – Over the man train line near Manors metro and train stations.
Some of these filters will be very effective in creating low traffic neighbourhoods, particularly Salters Bridge. There was previously a temporary filter in this location, one which made Hollywood Avenue a much nicer street to walk and cycle along and has strong local support. Other filters like Stoneyhurst Road in South Gosforth and Haldane Bridge in Jesmond will help remove some traffic from the local area and create opportunities for further measures which would create true low traffic neighbourhoods in these locations.
This is a really great first step and hopefully one which the council can continue to build upon to provide further filters across the city. Ideally, in time this would gradually build towards to a city where all through traffic can only travel on A roads and removing rat running traffic from our residential areas.
The council have said that they will monitor these filters and will keep them if they are successful. The experimental orders allow them to consult during the trial period. No terms have been provided for what success will look like and therefore we ask that council draws up some success criteria. It is also important that the council does not base their final decision only on complaints received. It is likely that some people will complain about changes to their own driving journeys while being unaware of the problems this creates for local residents, pedestrians and cyclists. Instead we ask that other measures are used that show whether the changes improve the local area such as reductions in volume or speeds of traffic and improvements in local air quality and noise pollution.
We also call on the council to stop using the term ‘closure’ for filters like this. These bridges are not being closed, but are being filtered to remove the most dangerous traffic from them. The bridges will all remain open for pedestrians and cyclists. This is a strong message to send to people when explaining the purpose of these measures and will help with attracting support for them.
Once again, we want to express how pleased we are to see these measures being introduced and to offer our thanks to the council. We call on the council to identify more places where filters such as this can be introduced to create low traffic neighbourhoods across the city.