Currently Newcastle City Council are carrying out engagement on three Streets For People projects. This is our response for the schemes presented for Jesmond. The engagement process ends on Thursday the 30th November, we have provided links to the individual schemes we have commented on.
The Streets for People project with its current method of consultation highlights issues that would be best avoided in future. This big bang of different designs is excessive and tiring to go through in detail. With the length of time this project has currently been going on for, we feel it would have been better to identify smaller changes and introduce each individually, starting much earlier in the process.
Osborne Rd, Holly Avenue, Haldane Trc
the inclusion of cycleways along Osborne Road is great to see, as cycle infrastructure is sorely lacking in the Jesmond area.
- The filtering onto Haldane Terrace is also welcomed as it will help reduce rat running traffic along this street.
We do however have a few concerns with what is presented on the drawing.
We would like to understand more about the width of the Osborne cycleways and the type of protection that is proposed. A minimum clear width of 1.5 metres is suggested by LTN 2/08, however widths greater than 2m (ideally 2.5m), would be needed to encourage safe family cycling where a parent can ride alongside a child.
On the drawing the junction by Holly Avenue has been signalised, yet the exit from Holly Avenue (East) has not. This could create conflict with cyclists trying to leave Holly Avenue, especially with no indication of when conflicting traffic will start moving.
At this same junction, the inclusion of Advance Stop Zones (ASZ) rather than cycle specific signals is also a concern. These zones are often ignored by drivers and they also give suggestion that cyclists should wait within them regardless of the traffic waiting at the light, this is especially dangerous with HGVs whose blind zone covers pretty much the same area.
This issue is also repeated at the Haldane Terrace Junction. Here in the northbound lane, there is no reason we can see for the ASZ either as there is no right turn to be made.
As a solution, at both these junctions, cycle specific signal would be much better than using ASZs, if space is a concern here then the cycleways could restart slightly further away from the junction, as the signal timing could be set to allow plenty of time for cyclists to clear the area before general motor traffic is permitted to enter the space.
It is also not clear how the cycle infrastructure will continue to the north and south of what is shown. We would welcome protected good-width cycleways to continue along the entire length of Osborne Road.
St Georges Terrace
The shared space at the Osborne Road/North Jesmond Avenue Junction is likely to create conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, separated space should be provided here. The advisory lane on the opposite side of bend is also likely to create conflict between motorists and cyclists. Cyclists are forced to wait in the middle of the road in an unsafe position to turn into or out of St George’s Terrace when heading South.
Where the raised table have been shown, these should be extended to include the cycleway, as this will help slow drivers down further where they could be crossing the path of cyclists.
There is no indication of how the cycleway will be protected, there is a risk that just paint will be provided here, which provides no real protection and some drivers ignore. This would have been a good opportunity to close the end of Tavistock Road and create safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
The use of Forsyth Road and Tankerville Terrace as rat runs has not been addressed, instead attempts are being made to patch the issues caused by this rather than address the real issue.
The existing no entry and proposed one way system need to be given an exemption for cyclists. There is similar width here to Acorn Road and therefore no reason why cycling cannot be exempt from the one way.
For the western section of Forsyth road, Option B for cycling is much simpler and easier to use and understand:
The alternative option with two way cycling on one side of the road is problematic for numerous reasons, a key one being the conflict where cyclists will have to carry out a complicated movement by a junction where the potential for conflict is already high.
In addition to this, most cyclists heading West here heading towards the city centre, this layout will force cyclists to cross over the road and then within a short distance cross back again. Children travelling to and from school will also be forced to cycle into oncoming traffic at the end of Forsyth Road to get onto a two way cycle lane.
We recommend that this whole area should be revisited with a focus on completely removing through traffic from around the school, see below.
Forsyth Road Crossing/West Jesmond Primary
The number of crossing here demonstrate that there is a much bigger issue that simply putting more zebra crossings in does not fix. The use of Forsyth Road and Tankerville Terrace as rat runs has not been addressed, instead attempts are being made to patch the issues caused by this rather than address the real issue.
Also on Tankerville Terrace, the road is shown to be quite narrow at two points, with the existing behaviour of drivers on this street, we expect that cyclists will get the worst deal here, with inconsiderate drivers using the danger posed by their vehicles to force priority through these points. Pinchpoints are to be avoided according to LTN 2/08.
We recommend that this area should be revisited with a focus on completely removing through traffic from around the school.
It seems that the designers took an opportunity: they apparently thought that space is available that they can play with it. However designing for cycling should be done on the basis of a network (movement plan) and need (traffic volume, speed, mix). Nothing has been done here to tackle the rat running traffic that passes through the High West Jesmond area – for example motor traffic will still speed on Ilford/Rectory and on Moor Road South. It is Ilford /Rectory that must be improved as a link into West Jesmond.
Having a two way cycleway that is joined and left at a roundabout does not seem like a safe design. Where does this stretch sit on the network? We do not want to see money wasted when much cheaper solutions could work (this looks like Brandling Park all over again).
The cycleway is continuously ended to provide pedestrian crossings, as car parking flanks each of these crossings, there is clearly space that can be taken from the carriageway to provide points where people can safe check if the road is clear to cross, allowing the cycleways to continue uninterrupted (with potential to have zebra marking over the cycleway to give pedestrians clear priority).
The north – south cycle movement could be given clear priority when crossing on to Moor Road.