For most of 2015 SPACE for Gosforth was a collection of ideas. Ideas about the sort of place we want to live, about how streets can be designed for people and made safer for everyone, about Gosforth as a destination rather than a “transport corridor” and about how we as a community of residents, friends and neighbours take responsibility, how we engage with proposed changes and ensure that we are informed about issues and understand the solutions being proposed.
SPACE for Gosforth was a plan to make a difference.
Then, in September, SPACE got bigger … a lot bigger … and we began to put our plan into action.
We started with a launch meeting at the Gosforth Hotel to talk about the High Street plans and to seek feedback on our ideas for how those plans might be improved.
At that meeting we asked those present, all residents and users of Gosforth High Street, to tell us what they liked and disliked about the High Street. The answer was clear: there’s lots to like but we need to do something about the traffic.
It was also clear though that some of the main issues, not least pollution and road safety, were not widely understood and were missing from the public debate.
To fix this:
- We borrowed a pollution monitor from Newcastle University and found worryingly high levels of small particles (PM2.5s) – on a relatively quiet Saturday morning. On our website we have also written about the health risks from pollution and what might be done to improve air quality on Gosforth High Street.
- We wrote about the effect of speed and how a 20mph speed limit can help protect the children who use Gosforth High Street.
- We did a “blind walk” along Gosforth High Street to help us better understand issues faced by the visually impaired. The results from this will be published soon.
- We surveyed parking on and around Gosforth High Street and found 1,482 spaces within a few minutes walk and identified additional spaces currently not being used.
Although the Gosforth High Street plans are yet to be published, the Council did announce two consultations of interest to Gosforth residents.
- We arranged a meeting to talk through the City Centre North proposals – covering the key walking and cycling routes from the city centre to Gosforth.
- We shared our views on Broadway to Brunton Lane proposals for a new off-road cycle track, one that we hope will be suitable for families and children and set the standard for the rest of Gosforth.
We expect Newcastle Council will publish proposals for Gosforth High Street early in 2016: when this happens we will arrange a further meeting to talk through the scheme.
To share and seek feedback on issues and our ideas we have also presented to:
- The Newcastle Elders Council – who represent the interests of older people living in our community.
- The local branch of the Living Streets charity – the charity working on behalf of pedestrians to make streets safer for everyone.
- The Newcastle Cycling Stakeholders Forum.
- The West Gosforth Ward Christmas Meeting.
As well as creating this blog we also have a Facebook group, a Twitter feed, a Streetlife page and an e-mail list for residents to find out more information and to raise concerns. We are pleased to see that local Councillors and Traders have begun to use these forums as well.
But this is only the beginning.
If you want to find out more, provide feedback or help us investigate issues and propose solutions see our Join Us page here.
In 2016 we have a whole year to make a difference!