We love Gosforth High Street, but …

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“Gosforth High Street is one of the key routes into the city-centre but suffers from high levels of congestion causing long delays for commuters, safety worries for cyclists and poor reliability of public transport, as well as high levels of pollution

This is from the Council website, but is it right? Does it actually reflect the views of those who live in Gosforth? If we want to propose changes to the High Street then we need to be sure what it is we are trying to fix, and what is it that we value about the High Street that we don’t want to lose.

At the SPACE for Gosforth launch event we asked those present, all residents and users of Gosforth High Street, to tell us what they liked and disliked about the High Street and this is what they said.

What do we like about Gosforth High Street?

  • ‘It’s a community hub with a long history of community focus.’  ‘You see familiar people.’  ‘It used to be known as the village.’ ‘Lovely feeling.’
  • ‘Lots of useful, good quality independent shops’ ‘Close convenient shops within walking distance of home.  No need to go to the city for shopping.’  ‘Good variety of amenities including pubs and restaurants.’
  • ‘Lots to do for families’ ‘Close to the park.’
  • ‘Good buses into town. Generally fast except at rush hour.’
  • ‘Cycle parking.’

And what are the issues we need to fix?

  • ‘Volume of traffic’ ‘Traffic splits the shops in two’ ‘Speed of traffic’ ‘Congestion’
  • ‘Lorries and vans unloading on double yellow lines (sometimes for a long time)’ ‘Taxis stopping on double yellow lines.’ ‘Cars parking on double yellow lines – drivers just popping into the shops’.
  • ‘Air pollution’
  • ‘Noise’
  • ‘Feeling vulnerable as a pedestrian or cyclist.’  ‘Poor pedestrian and cycling provision’
  • ‘Insufficient open car-free pedestrian areas’ ‘Too much concrete, not enough ‘green’’
  • ‘Cycle lanes stop and start; they are not mandatory and consequently are often obstructed.  High Street is not good for cycling.’  ‘Not enough cycle parking places on the High Street or particularly in the park’ ‘Poor provision for cyclist at junctions’
  • ‘Non-local buses going through the High Street – could they be routed elsewhere?’ ‘No metro station’
  • ‘Empty shops. Need to understand what businesses need to remain and be profitable’
  • ‘Insufficient parking’

So broadly the Council’s statement is right, but it isn’t complete. Those of us that live in Gosforth share the Council’s concerns: we want to be able to walk and cycle in safety and without pollution, but we see our High Street as a destination, not as a transport corridor, and we want it to flourish and thrive.

6 thoughts on “We love Gosforth High Street, but …

  1. Alasdair

    I fully support the balanced views put forward on this website. Improved public transport options could also reduce unnecessary traffic on GHSt. For example, buses heading toward Newcastle could drop all passengers at Regent Centre, allowing them to take the non-polluting metro for the remainder of the route in to the City consequently reducing significantly, the traffic and disproportionate pollution.

    Reply
    1. Liz

      I fear that replacing through buses with a bus service that terminates at Regent Centre and with a transfer to metro would backfire. You would be converting a one stage journey into a 2 stage journey with a 10 minute break in the middle and the inconvenience of getting off a bus and onto a metro, losing a seat and having to stand on the metro for the rest of the journey (at peak times). There is a serious risk that people would abandon public transport in favour of the car and would stop travelling by bus and use the car instead, all going through Gosforth High St. In terms of local air pollution, an alternative solution would be keep the through buses but have electric buses.

      Reply
  2. James

    I think the proposals put forward are a great idea. I myself are a cyclist and would love to see more protected cycle lanes put in. Possibly separated from pedestrians as well but separating from traffic is most important. A possible compromise would be to have the bus lane extended up the high street to encourage people to use public transport. Of course this would meant that there wouldn’t be a dedicated cycle lane be a sort of cycle lane but it is better than nothing.

    Reply
  3. Kerida

    The buses are certainly NOT the problem! The biggest problem is far too many cars heading downtown. Why anyone would drive rather than cycle or take public transportation is beyond me. However, saying that, has anyone noticed that as soon as the private schools are on holiday the traffic congestion improves slightly? One thing to address is people driving their kids to school as well as driving to work. There has to be a better solution.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: SPACE for Gosforth: A look back at 2015 - SPACE for Gosforth

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