Title picture transport plan 2021-2035

North East Transport Plan Consultation – January 2021

Title picture transport plan 2021-2035

From November 2020 to January 2021 Transport North East held a consultation on their draft transport plan for the North East up to 2035. This is the SPACE for Gosforth response.

We looked at the plan’s vision and objectives, and we looked at the schemes proposed. The vision talks about carbon reduction, health, reducing inequalities, safer streets and sustainable travel. The schemes include link roads, corridor improvements, capacity upgrades, addressing vehicle pinch points, dual carriageways and junction upgrades. These clearly don’t align.

We fully support the plan objectives, but the schemes need to be re-evaluated to select and expand those that support the objectives and reject those that do not.

Transport North East say they are working to “deliver game-changing transport schemes and initiatives.” and “to greatly improve the lives of everyone living or working in our region.” The current plan won’t do this, but we hope our and other’s feedback will be taken into account to produce a revised plan that will achieve the stated objectives.

Transport for the North East itself provides “strategy, planning and delivery services on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee (NEJTC)“, where the committee is made up of the region’s two Combined Authorities (North of Tyne Combined Authority covering Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, and the North East Combined Authority covering Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside).


Dear Transport North East,

Re: North East Transport Plan Consultation – January 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the North East Transport Plan. It is extremely positive to see The North East Combined Authority and The North of Tyne Combined Authority working together on a single coherent plan for the region.

We welcome and acknowledge the need, as you say, to “deliver profound and lasting improvements that will shape the North East and its people for decades to come.” We are in the midst of a Climate Emergency, a health crisis made worse because of existing high levels of poor health in part caused by inactivity, and scandalously we have still have not met legally-binding targets for air quality that came into force in 2005.

Between 2010 and 2019, 511 people were killed and 6,450 people were seriously injured on the North East’s roads. These are not just statistics, they were mums, dads, children, friends and neighbours. Almost half of those killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads were under 35 years old. Change is needed, and it is needed quickly, by 2025 not by 2035.

“The truth about a region’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.”

We’ve looked at the plan’s vision and objectives, and we’ve looked at the schemes proposed. The vision talks about carbon reduction, health, reducing inequalities, safer streets and sustainable travel. The schemes include link roads, corridor improvements, capacity upgrades, addressing vehicle pinch points, dual carriageways and junction upgrades. These clearly don’t align.

Carbon reduction, improved health and more sustainable travel all point to less vehicle traffic in future, not more. Building for more traffic while at the same time forecasting less traffic is just throwing money away, and will lead to more emissions and poor health outcomes.

While we acknowledge many of the schemes included do support active travel and public transport, for a region of two million people they could be substantially more ambitious than proposed, and achieve benefits far more quickly if funds weren’t being diverted to expensive schemes to create unneeded additional vehicle capacity.

The vision should define the destination

The plan vision needs to establish and make tangible what the end goal is and start to build towards that, so people understand the destination rather than only seeing individual steps on the journey. This will support both community buy-in to the plan and provide better focus for the initiatives that make up the plan.

It is not hard to envisage what this would look like. As a minimum it would need to include:

  • Accessible and inclusive local streets with pavements that are not cluttered or used for parking.
  • A defined road network for essential vehicle journeys, with reduced capacity compared to now, as fewer journeys will need a vehicle in future when other better options become available.
  • Local roads that are not part of that main-road network that can be used for walking, cycling, socializing and street play, but not for through traffic (low traffic neighbourhoods).
  • Junctions designed to prevent high-speed collisions and speed limits set to ensure collisions do not lead to serious injury or death.
  • A region-wide network of safe walking and cycling routes to connect homes to shops, schools, parks and other local destinations and which support inclusive cycling and allow children to travel independently.
  • An efficient high-frequency bus network with good quality interchanges and integration with walking and cycling routes for longer multi-modal journeys.

These alone would substantially achieve all the plan objectives with money to spare. The question for Transport North East is how quickly it can move to achieve this vision, so that everyone who lives in the North East can start to see and feel the benefits.

Transport North East has work to do to demonstrate this is not a ‘business as usual’ transport plan.

Substantially the objectives in the plan do speak to the serious economic, climate, air quality, health and wellbeing issues that are today caused by road transport, and need to be addressed through changes to the transport system. Good intentions though are not enough to achieve good outcomes.

As we have said, many of the actual schemes proposed are very much business as usual.

We therefore want to challenge Transport North East to come up with a revised set of schemes, including those on the list above, that will demonstrably prove this is not a ‘business as usual’ plan.

To be genuinely transformational, and not just business as usual, the plan should very clearly:

  • Enable the five of seven local authorities that have set a target to be carbon neutral by 2030 to achieve that by substantially decarbonizing the transport system by 2030.
  • Achieve zero killed and seriously injured on the region’s roads by 2025. (This should be part of the safe, secure network objective, not hidden away on page 33.)
  • Create safe networks of routes leading to a step-change increase in walking and cycling for local (< 5 mile) journeys throughout the region.
  • Demonstrate that Transport North East and the constituent authorities can act with the necessary pace and urgency to make these happen, with substantial progress by 2025 or sooner.

There’s no such thing as a ‘two minutes late for work emergency’

There is a Climate Emergency. Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths.

Choosing how the budget is allocated is a moral and political choice. Transport North East can either deliver profound and lasting improvements by prioritising the budget to address transport poverty, health, climate, economy and environment, or it can build more link roads to make driving marginally more attractive for a few years for people who can afford it. Almost certainly it won’t be possible to do both.

Please choose wisely.

We enclose our response to the consultation questions below.

Yours faithfully,

SPACE for Gosforth

www.spaceforgosforth.com


SPACE for Gosforth North East Transport Plan Questionnaire Response

2. Are you responding as an individual or on behalf of an organisation?

We are responding on behalf of the SPACE for Gosforth group, based in Gosforth in Newcastle upon Tyne. SPACE for Gosforth is a residents’ group with the aim of promoting healthy, liveable, accessible and safe neighbourhoods where walking and cycling are safe, practical and attractive travel options for residents of all ages and abilities. We are residents of Gosforth, most of us with families and we walk, cycle, use public transport and drive. SPACE stands for Safe Pedestrian and Cycling Environment.

6. Do we support the Vision Statement: “Moving to a green, healthy, dynamic and thriving North East”

Yes, we support the Vision Statement.

This needs to be brought to life and explained properly so people understand where the plan is, or should be according to the objectives, leading us. For example:

  • Accessible and inclusive local streets with pavements that are not cluttered or used for parking.
  • A defined road network for essential vehicle journeys, with reduced capacity compared to now, as fewer journeys will need a vehicle in future when other better options become available.
  • Local roads that are not part of that main-road network that can be used for walking, cycling, socializing and street play, but not for through traffic (low traffic neighbourhoods).
  • Speed limits set to ensure collisions do not lead to serious injury or death, and junctions designed to prevent high-speed collisions.
  • A region-wide network of safe walking and cycling routes to connect homes to shops, schools, parks and other local destinations and which support inclusive cycling and allow children to travel independently.
  • An efficient high-frequency bus network with good quality interchanges and integration with walking and cycling routes for longer multi-modal journeys

How much do you agree with each of the following objectives?

NETP Objective SPACE for Gosforth Response
7. Carbon neutral North East

We will initiate actions to make travel in the North East net carbon zero, helping to tackle the climate emergency declared by our two Combined and seven Local Authorities, addressing our air quality challenges, and helping to achieve the UK’s net zero by 2050 commitment.

 

We support the Climate Emergency declarations made by North East councils, the work underway to achieve legal air quality limits in the shortest possible timescales (as required by the UK High Court), and further improvements in air quality even where limits have been met.

Five of the seven councils have a stated aim to become carbon neutral by 2030 (see p103 of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal).

This objective, as written, would not achieve the stated policies of the members of the NE Joint Transport Committee, and for the same reason it is not compliant with UK air quality law as determined in ClientEarth v Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Case No: CO/1508/2016).

A compatible objectives would be: “The NETP will ensure that transport in the NE will be carbon neutral by 2030 and that air quality will meet legal limits in the shortest possible timescales.”

8. Overcome inequality and grow our economy

The Plan is aligned with the North East LEP’s long term goals to first return the region to pre-Covid-19 GDP and employment levels and then to move forward in pursuit of the economic ambitions set down in their Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

 

Inequality and economy are different objectives and should be recorded as such. We suggest:

  1. The NETP will ensure all transport options are accessible and inclusive and will reduce ‘transport poverty’ caused by the high cost of owning and running a car, and a lack of alternative transport methods.
  2. The NETP will support economic growth by
    1. Maximising transport capacity through the prioritisation of the most space-efficient modes of transport,
    2. Reducing the cost of travel by prioritising investment to walking and cycling as the default travel option for local journeys, and
    3. Managing vehicle transport demand so that those that have a health or business need to use a private vehicle can do so without being delayed by those that have other viable options for how to travel.

We support both these objectives.

9. Healthier North East

The North East has the lowest life expectancy of all the English regions. The Plan will help achieve better health outcomes for people in the region by encouraging active travel and getting people to travel by more sustainable means, improving air quality, helping our region to attain health levels at least equal to other regions in the UK.

 

We support this objective, however suggest the use of ‘enable’ rather than ‘encourage’ i.e.

“The Plan will help achieve better health outcomes for people in the region by enabling active travel …”

This is because there is no evidence we are aware of that encouragement by itself is likely to make a substantial difference to how people travel. See for example https://hbr.org/2019/12/why-its-so-hard-to-change-peoples-commuting-behavior

10. Appealing sustainable transport choices

We will introduce measures which make sustainable travel, including cycling and walking, a more attractive, greener, and easy alternative to getting around.

 

We support this objective and suggest ‘a more attractive’ is replaced by ‘the most attractive’ to support and enable other plan objectives to be met. I.e. “We will introduce measures which make sustainable travel, including cycling and walking, the most attractive, greener, and easiest way to get around.

11. Safe, secure network

We will improve transport safety and security, ensuring that people are confident that they will be able to feel safe and secure when travelling around the North East.

 

We support this objective but suggest it is updated to explicitly include the target noted on page 33 of the plan: “Our aim is for there to be no fatalities or serious injuries on the regions’ road network by 2025.”

The objective should also aim to reduce the number of people who believe that cycling on the roads is too dangerous. According to the 2019 National Travel Attitude Survey 61% of people currently believe that cycling on the roads is too dangerous.

What do you think are the barriers to achieving each of these objectives?

The following are common barriers and / or risks that are likely to apply to all the objectives. We suggest these are included in a NE Transport Risk log to be tracked along with appropriate mitigations.

Governance and Leadership Risks

  • Lack of political leadership and/or lack of alignment between political leaders.
  • Lack of urgency to achieve committed timescales e.g. carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Focusing on, and getting bogged down in, small incremental changes at the expense of the more widespread changes needed to achieve the objectives.
  • Delays due to schemes not being initiated until the overall plan is agreed.
  • Lack of clear prioritisation between objectives e.g. air quality limits need by law to be met ‘in the shortest possible timescale’ and the target for five of seven authorities is to be carbon neutral is 2030.
  • Poor quality governance that means schemes, especially those that increase vehicle capacity, are implemented even if they don’t meet the NETP objectives.
  • Failure to account for the longer-term impact of Covid in reducing demand for transport.
  • Weak planning policies that lead to the creation of new car-dependant suburbs with no local facilities.
  • Not exploring alternative revenue raising options for traffic demand management such as a workplace parking levy.

Risks relating to the selection of schemes

  • Insufficient portion of the overall budget allocated to meet specific objectives.
  • Too much focus on ‘encouragement’ rather than making changes to make streets safer to enable people to walk or cycle.
  • Inappropriate allocation of the budget to the wrong schemes that either will not support the objectives or prevent budget being allocated to more effective, more strategically aligned, cheaper or quicker to deliver schemes.
  • Over-reliance on traffic management changes, which are unlikely to achieve the objectives and risk inducing increasing traffic volumes and adding to pollution and emissions.
  • A lack of measures to manage and reduce the demand for private vehicle travel.
  • Promotion of headline-grabbing ‘mega-schemes’ that sound impressive but are less effective than using the same budget for a package of smaller measures.
  • Continued over-reliance on traditional ‘predict and provide’ planning for new roads that assume increasing traffic levels even though the NETP objectives implicitly require that in future fewer vehicle miles will be driven than now.

Risks relating to Public Engagement

  • Failing to make the case for urgent change through lack of, or poor quality public communications.
  • Poor quality or overly-long consultations that delay implementation.
  • Too much weight given to relatively minor objections, or issues that can be mitigated, compared to the benefits from achieving the plan objectives.
  • Mixed messages vs other council policies e.g. free parking offers.

Risks relating to Implementation

  • Over-reliance on modelling vs trialling changes.
  • Lack of training and expertise within councils and suppliers to make the necessary change to move quickly from traditional vehicle-led design to people-led design of road schemes.

Further barriers and / or risks that apply to specific objectives are set out in the table below.

NETP Objective SPACE for Gosforth Response – Barriers
7. Carbon neutral North East The main barriers or risks to achieving this objective are likely to be:

  • Lack of sufficient urgency.
  • Insufficient prioritisation of the transport budget for schemes to enable transport in the NE to be carbon neutral by 2030. E.g. an expensive rail scheme that does not deliver until 2032 would be much less use in reaching the target compared to a smaller scheme that can be implemented by 2025, even if the long-term affect would be greater.
  • Over-reliance on electric vehicles as a ‘silver bullet’.
  • Inclusion of schemes, such as new link roads, that will lead to increased emissions.
8. Overcome inequality and grow our economy The main barriers or risks to achieving this objective are likely to be:

  • Lack of focus on ensuring local streets are accessible and can be used by all ages and abilities including children and older people.
  • Failing to provide a linked network of inclusive, accessible, all age and ability cycling facilities to link homes and key destinations.
  • Incorrectly focusing on expensive schemes to reduce private vehicle journey times instead of measures that will be effective to reduce transport costs and support increased economic activity in the NE.
  • Too much priority given to vehicle parking even though evidence shows that pedestrianisation or replacing parking with good quality cycle provision are both likely to lead to higher retail sales.
9. Healthier North East The main barriers or risks to achieving this objective are likely to be:

  • Too many schemes funded to make private vehicle transport more attractive compared to active transport.
  • Lack of focus on what makes us happy and healthy e.g. quiet (low noise/traffic), safe streets with street trees, benches and places to meet, play, exercise and socialise that can be quickly achieved through low-traffic neighbourhoods.
  • Over-reliance on soft ‘behaviour change’ initiatives without associated infrastructure changes.
10. Appealing sustainable transport choices The main barriers or risks to achieving this objective are likely to be:

  • Lack of, or poor quality walking and cycling facilities that don’t meet standards and require longer, slower, routes or require people to mix with heavy traffic to complete journeys.
  • Insufficient focus on appealing places rather than moving vehicles.
  • Insufficient focus on changes needed to enable more local journeys, such as walking or cycling to school or to local shops, within urban areas.

We also submitted a list of barriers to walking and cycling in our response to the NECA Walking and Cycling Survey in July 2017. We have included a copy of that response in Appendix A to this letter.

11. Safe, secure network The main barriers or risks to achieving this objective are likely to be:

  • Conflicting objectives that lead to designs that speed up and prioritise space for vehicle traffic rather than more sustainable, safer, space-efficient travel modes like walking and cycling.
  • Inappropriate use of shared paths rather than separate walking and cycling facilities.
  • Lack of input from or consideration of vulnerable road users on what causes them to feel unsafe.
  • Failing to address pavement parking.

12. Are there any objectives you would have liked to see which are missing? If so, what are they?

Yes:

Better places – streets as places where we all live, play, socialize, exercise, shop & where people want to live.

13. Do you agree that individual projects will be required to submit Monitoring and Evaluation Plans?

Yes, we agree. The monitoring and evaluation plans need to assess whether schemes support achievement of the NETP objectives.

How much do you agree with the following policy statements?

Policy Area Policy Statements SPACE for Gosforth response
Making the right travel choice 14. We will enable people to make greener and healthier travel choices whenever they can and ensure our sustainable network takes everyone where they need to go at a price they can afford. 5. Strongly Agree
15. We must ensure all our actions improve transport across the region and deliver to the objectives of this Plan so we are greener, more inclusive, healthier, safer and our economy thrives. 5. Strongly Agree
Active Travel 16. We will help more people use active travel by making the cycle network better across the North East. This will include being flexible in how we use road space to help cyclists and pedestrians. 5. Strongly Agree – Proposed alternative: “We will help more people use active travel by making the cycle network better across the North East. This will include reallocating road space to separate people walking and cycling and from moving traffic.”
Public transport: travelling by bus, ferry
and on demand public transport 17. We will improve bus travel and attract more passengers with new rapid bus corridors. This will include changing how road space is used to help buses move more quickly. 4. Agree – including improved integration with cycling to expand the area that will benefit from the new bus corridors. This would include the provision of secure cycle storage at main bus stops.
18. We will take action to continue to support the Shields Ferry and develop potential improvements where possible. 4. Agree – including improved integration with cycling.
19. We must help more people to reach the sustainable transport network with more ‘on demand’ solutions. 3. Neither agree nor disagree. On demand’ public transport is typically inefficient and costly, only likely to be justified for people with specific transport needs, or with semi-flexible services to support sparse demand in rural areas. See e.g. https://humantransit.org/2011/07/10box.html
Private transport: travelling by car and using
road infrastructure 20. We must make our roads flow better for goods and essential car journeys. Proposed alternative: “We will reduce non-essential vehicle journeys and manage road traffic demand so roads flow better for goods and essential car journeys.” Note that improving ‘flow’ risks increasing fuel consumption and air pollution. See e.g. https://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/1993/04/18/does-free-flowing-car-traffic-reduce-fuel-consumption-and-air-pollution/
21. We must strengthen use of cleaner, greener cars, vans and lorries. 4. Agree Proposed alternative: “We will support the introduction of cleaner, greener cars, vans and lorries for journeys that cannot be made by other, more sustainable means.”
Public transport: travelling by local rail
and Metro 22. We must invest in Metro and local rail to extend and improve the network. 4. Agree – where this would meet the timescales set out in the objectives.
23. We will take action to drive our partners to make travelling and moving goods around our region more efficient and greener. 4. Agree – for local freight this policy might be better included in the Active Travel policy area, rather than public transport, given the substantial untapped potential for cargo bikes for first and last mile deliveries.
Connectivity beyond
our own boundaries 24. We must work with partners to make movement of people and goods to and from our region, more efficient and greener. 4. Agree – however this should be of lower priority than movement of people and goods within our region.
25. We must work with partners to strengthen connections from destinations in our region to everywhere in the UK and beyond. 2. Disagree It is not clear what ‘strengthen connections’ means in this context? Agglomeration benefits are only relevant to local journeys within or between nearby conurbations, so this policy is unlikely to support achievement any of the stated objectives. A greater focus on digital (out of scope for this plan) might be more effective.
Research, Development Active travel and Innovation 26. We will embrace new technologies to meet our transport objectives and set innovation challenges to industry creating new opportunities with our network as the testbed. 2. Disagree – substantially all the technologies to meet the NETP transport objectives already exist. This is likely to distract from rather than improve the chance that the NETP will meet its objectives.
Overarching policy areas 27. We will strive to integrate within and between different types of transport, so that each contributes its full potential and people can move easily between them. 4. Agree e.g. In the Netherlands a high proportion of people combine cycling and public transport for longer journeys.
28. We must constantly seek funding opportunities to deliver our Transport Plan objectives. 5. Strongly Agree
29. We will take action to make travel in the North East net carbon zero and improve transport safety and security. 5. Strongly Agree. Proposed alternative: “We will take action to make travel in the North East net carbon zero by 2030 and improve transport safety and security. Our aim is for there to be no fatalities or serious injuries on the regions’ road network by 2025.”
30. We must ensure that we work with partner organisations to drive new, quality roles and innovate in the transport sectors. 3. Neither agree nor disagree.

31. Are there any comments you would like to make on the policy statements?

See table above.

32. Are there any policy statements which you think are missing?

Please see alternative proposals in the table above. In addition we would like to propose:

Active Travel – Streets are easier and safer to navigate for residents or visitors with limited mobility and for residents or visitors with disabilities or conditions for whom travel is a challenge.

Active Travel – There is good walking and cycling access to local community destinations including schools, shops, medical centres, work-places and transport hubs.

Active Travel – Streets are valued as places where people live, meet and socialise, and not just for travelling through.

33. What do you think of the timeline for the delivery of schemes up to 2035?

The pace of change in the plan is massively too slow and risks not achieving set targets especially:

  • Achieving air quality legal limits ‘in the shortest possible timescales’.
  • Achieving no fatalities or serious injuries on the regions’ road network by 2025.
  • Achieving carbon neutral transport by 2030.

34. Are there any schemes which you feel are missing from this timeline? 


Schemes that support these urgent time-bound objectives should be prioritised and delivered early in the plan timescale. These can include:

  • Widespread (region-wide) implementation of low traffic neighbourhoods and school streets.
  • New main road crossings, in support of new safe walking and cycling networks.
  • Narrowing lanes on urban main roads to 3m maximum width for improved safety for all users.
  • Trial schemes to reallocate space on main roads to create wider pop-up protected cycle lanes.
  • Review of speed limits to meet Vision Zero principles: 20 mph speed limits in cities, 40mph limits on rural minor roads.
  • Clear Air Zones where air quality limits are currently not met.
  • Using parking charges to manage and limit traffic demand in busy city centres, including workplace parking levies.
  • New bus lanes, where space is not needed for walking and cycling facilities.
  • Tightening entrances and exits from junctions to prevent vehicles from travelling through those junctions at high speeds, putting other users at risk.
  • Better enforcement of traffic offences, including via the use of ANPR cameras.
  • Improved winter maintenance of pavements and cycle lanes.
  • On-street secure cycle storage (e.g. cycle hoops)
  • Definition and implementation of a minimum viable cycle network that connects homes to major destinations and can then be expanded and improved on.
  • Creation of a plan for a regional cycle network including traffic-free cycle links between adjacent urban areas e.g. Newcastle to Ponteland, Killingworth or Cramlington.

SPACE for Gosforth has previously submitted evidence-based suggestions for how to reduce carbon emissions to the Newcastle City Council climate change consultation, which can be found here: http://spaceforgosforth.com/evidence-about-climate-change/

SPACE for Gosforth has also completed a literature review to find what type of measures have evidence to show they are effective to reduce air pollution, which can be found here: http://spaceforgosforth.com/air-quality-what-works/

SPACE for Gosforth’s response to the Newcastle City Council Breathe Clean Air consultation, which proposes schemes to address air pollution in Newcastle can be found here: http://spaceforgosforth.com/tag/breathe-clean-air/

We would also like to propose the inclusion of this walking and cycling scheme by Regent Centre in Gosforth: http://spaceforgosforth.com/regent-centre/

35. Are there any schemes in our programme which you feel should not be included? 


Yes. Building for more traffic while at the same time forecasting less traffic is just throwing money away, and will lead to more emissions and poor health outcomes.

Link roads, corridor improvements, capacity upgrades, addressing vehicle pinch points, dual carriageways and junction upgrades are how we ended up with a climate crisis and illegal levels of air pollution. More of the same won’t address the climate crisis, won’t solve air pollution, won’t make it safer or more attractive to walk or cycle, won’t address transport poverty, and will further decimate local High Streets as people who can drive are incentivised to travel long-distances to out of town shopping centres rather than supporting local shops.

All the schemes that increase vehicle capacity and encourage more driving need to be re-examined to assess whether they will actually support the objectives or if there are better options including the use of traffic demand management to keep roads clear for those that need to drive most.

Schemes that should be re-evaluated and removed if not consistent with the objectives or if better options exist include:

  • Schemes for new car parks, access roads and link roads,
  • Additional lanes, dual carriageways, bypasses and any scheme that claims to improve ‘flow’,
  • Junction changes designed to increase vehicle throughput, and ‘pinch point’ schemes,
  • Changes to vehicle capacity made as part of ‘all user improvements’ or ‘strategic corridor improvements’, and
  • Relief roads and new vehicle bridges.

36. Are there any other comments you would like to make? 


In our response to the NECA Walking and Cycling survey in 2017 we said the following, which is equally relevant to the NE Transport Plan.

The strategy [Plan] needs to recognise that every journey driven that could have been undertaken by foot or by cycle:

  • Increases travelling cost for the person travelling, money that might otherwise have been spent in the local area.
  • Adds to the overall cost of road maintenance.
  • Worsens air quality and creates risks for other road users.
  • Increases carbon emissions.
  • Is a lost opportunity for fresh air and exercise.
  • Creates additional demand for parking which means less land available for housing and other more productive uses.

Likewise for every neighbourhood designed to prioritise traffic over place we find:

  • Children unable to play outside
  • Teenagers not able to travel independently
  • Older people stuck alone in their home
  • And a community weakened through lack of on-street social interaction.
  • Local shops and services diminished because of competition from out of town shopping centres.

Whether or not these are part of the thinking for the transport strategy, or part of its aims, these are the real life outcomes. Nor are these just words. Tens of thousands of people die early each year due to poor air quality near roads. Many more die due to other conditions and illnesses related to how we travel. For example “regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%” (http://spaceforgosforth.com/cwis2017/)

By prioritising walking and cycling, the NECA Strategic Transport Plan can deal with air pollution, it can reduce social isolation, it can improve choice for how we travel and make neighbourhoods more accessible for those with reduced mobility. It can reduce road injuries and deaths and reduce the fear that people feel when travelling on foot or by cycle. It can enable children’s independence so they can travel to go to school or play outside with their friends. It can enable people to travel to work and make them feel better when they get there. And it can align individual and community-wide incentives to ensure the transport system as a whole is as efficient as possible.

We hope that Transport North East will seize this opportunity and put in place a robust and well-funded plan to address all these issues as a matter of urgency.

For reference, we have previously responded to two NECA consultations and a consultation by Transport for the North.

The 20 year transport manifesto for the North East, in April 2016 – http://spaceforgosforth.com/neca-2016/

The July 2017 NECA Walking and Cycling survey – http://spaceforgosforth.com/neca-survey-2017/

Transport for the North Strategic Transport Plan April 2018 – http://spaceforgosforth.com/tfn_consultation_questions/

 

1 thought on “North East Transport Plan Consultation – January 2021

  1. Graham Davidson

    Hi,
    Our street Regent Road North has seen an increase in traffic since the left turn was stopped onto Salters road from the Great North road. There are two speed bumps but this does not slow down a number of drivers. i like the idea suggested for the roundabout. As a car driver for work initially I was dismissive of the closures of the small bridges to traffic but now I see the benefits of it for the residents and pedestrians near them.
    Is there anything you could suggest to reduce the traffic flow? Our street is especially busy in the mornings and at 3.00pm when the children are being dropped off and picked at schools nearby.

    Thank you Graham Davidson

    Reply

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