In an attempt to help and support, we've asked the council to share a bit more detail on their Strategic Cycle Routes plans.
Not to remain vague with our request, we've therefore lobbied for a costed programme with key milestones clearly showing the different project phases, to be put together. We've spelled out the inherent risks of a hastily put together cycle route: bad public relations for council including the image of cycling, criticism of expending money on something that's dangerous to use and attracting little more ridership. We fear project management expertise for such a big task at hand might be lacking. A recent conversation about a lessons learned register, a well-established project management tool, resulted in describing this vital best-practice as a "register of things that go wrong".
Formalising their approach into a programme would give real power to the Cycling Forum to
- oversee the development of these routes
- mobilise the right people at the right time to input
- review, influence and shape the development
...in essence fulfill its function as per its terms of reference.
Newcastle City Council seems to say
- a programme is in place (sadly we haven't seen it)
- the implementation depends on the availability of funding (we fully acknowledged that, it's the nature of the beast, but have asked for schemes to be designed and then implemented whenever the funding should become available, we've also pointed out alternative ways of funding, and to investigate these is part of their own 10-year Cycle Plan)
- it refutes the suggestion that the recently completed North-South route through Newcastle city centre is substandard (we are shocked to hear that, as our input was almost entirely ignored at the time)
Where does that leave the strategic routes?
We've recently renewed our call for a programme.