Newcastle City Council will soon release its final plans for Gosforth High Street for one last “technical consultation”. Responding to this consultation is your one last chance to influence how the High Street will look for the next generation.
No comment could mean no change, leaving the High Street as one of the busiest, most congested roads in Newcastle: a road choked with traffic during rush hours, exhaust fumes passed from one car to the next; cars and bikes rushing to beat traffic lights, dodging around each other and around stopped vehicles; while only inches away children walk past on their way to school or to the shops.
The most recent 2014 plan goes some way towards addressing these issues of pollution, congestion and safety, but further improvements are needed to gain the maximum benefit:
1. The 20mph speed limit so critical for minimising the impact of collisions, particularly for young children, could be extended for the length of the High Street.
2. The cycle lane could be fully protected to prevent encroaching vehicles and so that less confident riders feel safe and are not tempted to ride on pavements in conflict with pedestrians.
3. Disabled parking and loading bays are critical, but should be retained on quieter adjacent streets, not interrupting a busy traffic lane where they would create additional and unnecessary risk for pedestrians, cyclists and for those using the bays.
4. Raised crossings, such as at the end of Ivy Road, could be installed across all side roads in the shopping area to slow down turning traffic and provide greater protection for pedestrians.
None of these four measures will adversely impact the High Street businesses. Making the High Street a safer, more pleasant environment will benefit everyone: residents, shoppers, traders and commuters. A good quality safe cycle lane creates an additional option for those wanting to travel to the High Street, rather than having to travel by car. At the same time those who need to use the High Street as a through route can continue to do so, with the promised improvements from linked traffic lights ensuring a smoother flow of traffic.
Please continue to follow this blog and we’ll post details of the final plan and how you can respond. We’ll also post relevant facts and studies that provide further background so that you can, if you want to, judge the evidence for yourself. This isn’t just a one-way street though, if you want to contribute please do. We welcome constructive feedback – and above all we want to make sure that the plans for the High Street are the very best they can be for all of Gosforth.
Thank you for your time and support.