Newcastle City Council are proposing improvements for the north of the city centre and are asking residents and visitors to provide comments on their proposals. The amount of traffic going into the city centre directly affects how much traffic we see (and how much pollution we breathe) on Gosforth’s streets. Providing safe and attractive alternatives in the city centre, such as improved cycling facilities or more reliable public transport, should also help reduce traffic and pollution in Gosforth.
SPACE for Gosforth does not comment as a group on the Council’s plans so if you want these changes to happen, or to provide feedback, you will need to log on to the Commonplace website and share your view. You have until Sunday 8 November to do this.
Thirty people from SPACE for Gosforth got together on Monday night to talk through the plans. While there are some detail points we think need looking at, overall we’re feeling very positive about what the Council are trying to do in the city centre.
The proposals cover five different areas with feedback being requested on each. Most of the comments below apply to all of the areas but where specific this is marked in square brackets. Feel free to use or reference these as you wish in your response – or add to them or challenge them by leaving a comment here or on the SPACE for Gosforth Facebook page.
The five areas are:
- Barras Bridge and St Mary’s Place
- Percy Street
- Claremont Road
- Queen Victoria Road
- Great North Road
These are the things we liked.
- Restrictions on through traffic should make the city safer and more attractive for walking, cycling and for shopping.
- Access is still provided for those who need to use the city centre car parks.
- Reduced through traffic should mean fewer hold-ups for buses. The same should apply for deliveries and car-shoppers.
- This should also help reduce pollution in the city centre. (The city centre along with Gosforth are Newcastle’s two Air Quality Management Zones.)
- The cycle lanes that help keep cyclists safe and link up to other routes into and around the city.
- Lots of extra pavement space/footpaths, especially opposite Haymarket. [A]
- Much wider pedestrian crossings where you can cross the road in one go, compared to now where crossing from the University to the Civic Centre can be three sets of lights. [A]
- The Barras Bridge and Percy Street cycle track will create a new safe and direct route into the city centre avoiding conflict with pedestrians. [A&B]
- The pedestrian crossing next to the bus station has been moved south so pedestrians can cross safely and without holding up buses. [B]
Other thoughts and concerns.
- There was concern about the busy shared space for walking and cycling opposite the Haymarket and how conflicts between those who are cycling and walking could be minimised, while at the same time ensuring cycling routes are separated from motor traffic and can still be used by families and less confident cyclists. [A]
- The same shared space point applies, though to a lesser extent, on Claremont Road [C] .
- The marking of shared space needs to show very clearly the desired route to be taken by cyclists and that, in that shared space, priority should be given to pedestrians e.g. cross hatching to look like a zebra crossing.
- We wondered if any additional enforcement was planned to deal with the existing issue of cars blocking the yellow hatched no-stopping zones, which can hold up buses. [B]
- The Percy Street cycle track needs to be separated from the main carriageway for its whole length, preferably by a kerb so that families and less confident cyclists can use it. It also needs to be clearly marked to show that it is a two way track. [B]
- We felt the proposed route/junction for cycling into and out of Exhibition Park onto the Claremont Road roundabout could be clearer. [C]
- We weren’t clear on how drivers accessing the city would know which car parks had space, and were concerned about queued cars being a source of pollution
- Ideally all the cycle tracks should be designed so that families and less confident cyclists feel safe using them.
- Any plans to encourage cycling should include cycle parking.
- We would encourage any attempt to introduce more trees or greenery into the city centre.
- We wanted to make sure that deliveries could still be made efficiently while maintaining the priority of making the city safer and more attractive for walking and cycling.