A week of meetings, and a festival

Some eyes and ears appear to have popped open recently. We’ve had a fair slice of cake (well, meetings, and too many at that to recall here) and we’ve learnt this:

Good
– we seem to agree on where we are (City is untenable for mass cycling) and where we ought to be (City fit for cycling)
– Cllr Henri Murison largely agrees with the 1Plan – mandating a European style city centre, virtually car-free with a ring of car parks outside the urban core, the urban core serviced by walking, cycling and a much more effective bus system
– in the presence of the cycle prohibition on Northumberland Street the council will provide a North-South route on John Dobson Street in the short term (part of the unfinished ‘Red Route’ now also carrying Sustrans designation NCN725 / ‘Great’ North Cycleway)
– much improved public realm can be expected to be seen around Central Station, as a starting point to civilise the city centre

Work in progress
– there’s a lot of talk transition but we still have to chart out the how. For example: there is continued confusion about viability of city centre car parking and who uses it / who it’s for.
– a car-restraint strategy is badly needed (cross-reference to Green Capital bid assessment) to free up space for walking and cycling
– expertise must be developed to coordinate the Strategic Cycle Route development

Newcastle Bicycle Festival
Gatherings like this are very important for multiple reasons. It brings cycle folks together – we had campaigners visiting from other towns and cities to chat to us. And we can use it to speak to others and widen circles and sympathies. Thanks for Sandy Irvine (Green Party), and Cllr Nigel Todd to talk to cycle folks on Friday at the Star & Shadow and answer some of their questions and reply to their concerns.

Fair slice of cake in front of us, we are sitting on the table waiting to eat it. In the end, naturally, it’s safe space we’d like to see relinquished to make cycling pleasant and open it up to everybody. Some way to go, but a bridge has been built.