Newcastle council: can you deliver what you have promised – a better future city?

Newcastle council has agreed to go back to the drawing board with the Blue House roundabout, and is hopefully rethinking the full corridor in the process. In the light of this, we would like to explore how the council might use the evident public support for doing things differently, getting away from outdated methods of transport planning, and show true leadership to deliver change. Having carefully studied the council’s policies, there is certainly ample scope for this change to happen. Here we pose some questions to the council to help them direct their efforts towards meeting policy mandates. We would[…]

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Dear Santa, please have a look at our wishlist

Dear Santa Please, can you have a look at our wishlist? This year again, we tried very hard to be good. Our Infrastructure Team has been exceptionally busy, providing vital expert advice to the council. After five years of observation, our wishlist is made up of very carefully considered items. These items, taken all together, will make our city better, happier and reduce inequalities. It’s really not so much for the few of us who already cycle in Newcastle – as we are often cycling despite the lack of sensible cycleways out there – but for everyone who wishes to[…]

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Newcastle council road plan kicks cycling out

Newcycling.org voices their concerns about council road plans. They call the plans a complete throw-back to the 1960’s of highway horrors. Cycling and walking is simply forgotten at the Haddricks Mill redesign by the council and their consultant WSP. The plan can be seen below. Katja Leyendecker, newcycling.org chair, says “It appears that Newcastle City Council have received go-ahead from Department of Transport to tear up an innercity roundabout and widen it to push more traffic through – all this is done in theoretical calculations and mathematical modelling terms, which do not account for transport transitions or mode shift. In[…]

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Crushed cycle contraflow for Newcastle city centre

One year on from the original request, and Newcastle now does have its first cycle contraflow. But when it was first built it was left in a rather precarious position for weeks. How come? Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling.org, says “Newcastle city centre is absolutely littered with one-way streets. Yes, it’s good to restrict access for private cars, but not so good for supporting cycling. For a few years, and then again a year ago (1), we made a strong plea to the council to rectify that. Now Newcastle has its first real cycle contraflow. You’d think: marvellous! Inexpensive and[…]

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Newcastle disconnected on transport matters

The campaign groups newcycling.org is unsatisfied with the state of transport affairs at Newcastle City Council. Whilst some matters are slowly getting better, important gaps still persist to exist, and aren’t necessarily narrowing. The various council departments involved in transport must get much more organised, start working together closely and effectively – including sharing with expert groups – to demonstrate a concerted united citywide effort. Katja Leyendecker, chair at newcycling.org, says “Newcastle City Council now has millions to spend on walking and cycling infrastructure but still there is no programme. I wonder how the expenditure is going for the CCAF1[…]

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Council’s approach to road safety unfair and unbalanced

A campaign group is angry at the imbalanced, dangerous piecemeal approach that Newcastle City Council is taking. The group says that whilst council delivers free cycle training to adults and children, they also must educate drivers about their responsibilities, teach drivers what they can expect from cyclists and tell drivers that cyclists have been instructed by the council to cycle in certain ways. This latest safety call comes in the unfortunate absence of any safe and convenient cycle infrastructure that would enable cycling for all ages and abilities and make interactions and responsibilities between road users much clearer. Newcastle has[…]

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A pound saved for every mile cycled

A campaign group previously revealed the level of savings that current commuter cyclists make to the city of Newcastle to be £3 million, annually. These savings, however, are already sunk into the city’s economy and budgets so that decision makers are blind to them. The group has now asked what savings could be made if people switched from car use to cycling, in another attempt to engage decision-makers. Using data from the UK Census and World Health Organisation (WHO), newcycling.org has calculated the future savings, that the city is still to benefit from in the coming years. It also says[…]

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A campaign group is bitterly disappointed with council’s progress and compassion

For many years parents, and school officials, have asked council to address inconsiderate and aggressive driving behaviour outside schools, particularly relating to school drop-off and pick-up times when road space is at a premium. Due to constantly worsening traffic situations outside schools, the inaction and lack of duty of care in improving areas around schools is now at its most unacceptable yet – incisive action is needed, now, to prioritise walking and cycling for the sake of the next generation’s future. Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling.org, says “This utter mismatch must be addressed by council, with urgency. Sitting back and[…]

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Councils must get down to human scale

Newcycling.org has been busy in 2014, and promises to stay positively active, connected and involved in 2015. The campaign is supported by their patron Christian Wolmar and, together with seven other city cycling campaigns, they have written to the minister, made suggestions to Cllr Nick Forbes, and their Campaign Management Committee adopted policies for successful engineering and planning approaches on behalf of their 1,500 strong membership, amongst other things. Katja, chair of newcycling.org says: “The main message is sometimes still not getting through and is worth repeating. “Providing space for cycling is not a question of space availability as councils[…]

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A letter to Newcastle City Council with a vision

Newcycling, Newcastle’s cycling campaign, now in its fifth year, spells out to Newcastle City Council what’s now needed to transition to a diverse, fair and vibrant city with an inclusive transport system at its heart. Newcastle is likely to be given upwards of £10m from the DfT, a recent ministerial announcement indicated. After four years of campaigning, the group has now reviewed what’s been done and found many barriers had persisted to exist. It’s vital that these are removed so the city can sustainably shift the way we travel, clean up its air, reduce noise pollution, give healthier choices to people, kickstart[…]

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