At the end of 2014, Newcastle celebrated being the top English Core City for Space for Cycling political support: 67% of local councillors supported space for cycling (we are now at 65% since the local elections in 2015).
This is great and we said a big thank you at the Space for Cycling ride in September 2014.
What does this mean and what’s next? We asked Councillors to select the top three priorities amongst the 6 S4C principles, based on issues on their wards:
- Protected space on main roads for cycling Major roads and junctions can be threatening and will deter people from cycling and walking. The higher the traffic volume and speed, the greater is the need to provide separate and protected conditions for cycling (and walking).
- Removing through motor traffic in residential areas Through traffic and rat-running negatively affects neighbourhoods and can make cycling (and walking) an intimidating experience. Comfortable cycling and walking conditions can be created by reducing the chance of rat-running. This can be achieved by removing through-traffic by redirecting it onto the main road network, and by leaving a street open for cycling and walking.
- Lower speed limits Since 2011, Newcastle has implemented a comprehensive policy to reduce residential areas to 20mph speed limits by installing signage. (It is worth noting, that a 20mph street can still fail to feel like a residential street when it remains a rat-run. If through-traffic is a problem, please go to 2.)
- Cycle-friendly town centres This applies as much to Newcastle’s City Centre as it does to the many local retail areas, dotted around the Newcastle’s wards. Public spaces dominated by motor traffic can be difficult for people to appreciate and use. Shopping areas are more pleasant places when they have been designed for people walking and cycling.
- Safe routes to school Surveys show again and again the huge potential: children want to cycle to their school. However, without safe infrastructure on school routes many parents are put off from walking and cycling.
- Routes through green spaces Walking and cycling in green spaces is pleasant and makes for great city life. Direct routes or shortcuts through parks can complement routes along main roads, and complete the cycling and walking network.
We will report back in February/March 2016. In the meantime,
- if you are a Councillor, please complete the survey – and get in touch if you need the link to be re-sent to you or have any queries.
- If you are a member, do get in touch with your councillors and ask them to complete the survey