Transport planning and advocacy in a pandemic

If you want to join the national debate on walking, cycling and transport in these uncertain times, you need go no further than #ideaswithbeers. This started as a pub meet up hosted by Brian Deegan, one of cycling’s champion engineers working at Urban Movement, to discuss all things to do with cycling and infrastructure. Sadly it’s not currently in an actual pub, but it’s turned into a great place to meet advocates, practitioners and academic researchers from across the country to discuss what needs to change in response to the current crisis.

This afternoon, I gave a talk on how we need to rethink both how we do transport and how we advocate for it. In this new world, we aren’t planning or advocating for imaginary future cyclists, they are already here among us. The low levels of traffic provide the necessary safe conditions for cycling on many streets. They need our urgent help to maintain this space for cycling – and we need to amplify their voices in terms of asking for change.

But we also need to listen to what people want to see in their own streets. Space for walking, socialising and play are of the utmost importance. And many people would like to keep the clean air and quiet streets. We also know from experience that people would like our politicians and transport planners to communicate clear plans and build trust through trials, monitoring, feedback and making changes where necessary.

The message is – be bold and be brave Newcastle! We and many others in the city are cheering you on.

If you want to join next week’s #ideaswithbeers email ideaswithbeers@gmail.com