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like to explore how the council might use the evident public support for doing things differently, getting away from outdated methods of transport planning, and show true leadership to deliver change.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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WANTED – Leadership for Transport Transition

Dear Pat We have written three letters to you over the last few months (see below for links), and you replied that you would not want to meet with us in person. But we won’t give up that easily. Serious attention needs to be given to designing cycling into our city. Our chair, Katja, invites you to cycle around the city with her so that you can see with your own eyes how urgent this is. Please get in touch so that we can make a date. For now, here are some documents which we highly recommend you read. These[…]

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On yer bike, Pat, for Newcastle

Faithfully, since our foundation in 2010 I have been writing incisive (German!) messages, casting back and looking ahead. You are not spared this tradition at the start of 2016. On this occasion, it is a message that describes how council have been successfully scratching the surface. They are trying. So much so that council may have almost convinced some of you into thinking Newcastle is actually moving into a more sustainable transport direction with people, not cars, at the heart. To me, having observed and examined council’s goings-on for more than five years, this however only feels like tactics. Or[…]

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Governing the transport transition

In our third letter to Pat Ritchie, we examine the bidding system for transport projects. We also look again at council responsibility and local decision-making. Over the last couple of months, we have written two letters to Pat Ritchie, the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council. The letters discussed council responsibility, budget transparency, working with civic society, climate change and sustainability, and costs and savings: First letter Working together for a successful outcome requires accountability Second letter What is the price we pay for our transport system? So far, we have established that for the council to succeed in creating a fair transport system[…]

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What is the price we pay for our transport system?

Following our letter to Pat Ritchie about budget transparency and accountability for council’s transport function, we would like to continue talking to the chief executive about the transport transition and the cost of the current system. We feel this is the best way to ask for her leadership on this vitally important matter. As we have received no reply from Pat Ritchie to our last letter, we will simply continue outlining the current and future needs of the transport transition. Climate change Transport typically accounts for 25-30% of all emissions. We have no reason to believe this to be any different in Newcastle. We[…]

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Working together for a successful outcome requires accountability

We at Newcycling want to support the council in their plans to turn Newcastle into a city fit for the 21st century with a transport system to boot. A city that we can be proud of and which enables everyone to travel safely and sustainably. However, there are some big barriers to our lending this support. We describe one of the most important ones here. Following the money You often hear “simply follow the money” when trying to analyse root causes, motivations or decisions taken on policy – and perhaps politics more generally. Following the money on local transport matters[…]

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Council cuts and desperate times? City must wake up to alternatives

Cycle advocates say it’s exactly because of council cuts that business-as-usual is no longer an option and that alternatives transport systems must be explored for a fairer, affordable future, better sooner than later. Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling.org, says “In our complex world it can be hard to see the wood for trees sometimes. And this seems to be where Newcastle City Council presently finds itself, in a deep dark forest. Whether recent council cuts are necessary or not, they are happening and we have to adjust – for the sake of our city and its future. We find ourselves[…]

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Newcastle City Council continues to remove cycle infrastructure

After removing cycle specific infrastructure on Silver Lonnen in 2010 and Elswick Road in 2012, Newcastle council continues to dismantle existing cycle lanes, now at a school in Heaton. Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling.org, says: “This is almost unbearable to watch how the council is still unable to support sustainable travel options to schools. For example, we are asking them to design in some safe space for cycling for the school run on Tankerville Terrace in Jesmond and they push us back again and again with their excuses. Now they are wiping out an existing cycle lane on Jesmond Park[…]

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Warning sent to Newcastle City Council

Newcycling has warned the council they would become negligent if no action is taken soon. At a Council Cabinet meeting with a focus on transport, held in public on 9 October, the group’s chairwoman went on record to hold Pat Ritchie, Newcastle’s chief executive, to account and ask her to get behind their own council transport policies to avoid the “London scenario”. Like most local authorities London has been ‘encouraging’ people to cycle for decades. Cycling in London, for this reason and others, has doubled in the last ten years making it the envy of other transport authorities. However this[…]

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