This is a short account of our infrastructure safari through Heaton, code name: SCR6 Benfield. The concept of Strategic Cycle Routes (SCR) in Newcastle is well established and monies from the Cycling City Ambition Fund (CCAF) have been earmarked to build part of them. So, earlier on in the year we came up with a plan - we thought it would be useful to ride them and assess how much needs to be done to make them safe, convenient, direct and attractive while connecting places of interest such as schools, shops and employment centres.
Our warning is about the details of Newcastle City Council's plan for the section of the Great North Road from Hollywood Avenue junction to Broadway roundabout. As a cycle route is only as good as its weakest link, we are concerned about the council design, well meaning as it is, but it creates some new dangers and leaves them unaddressed. We hope that the illustrations we have now included will help to explain our concerns further.
Calculations carried out by Newcycling, Newcastle’s cycling campaign, using HEAT, an internationally acclaimed economic assessment tool for walking and cycling, show that the contribution that current city commuter cyclists make is worth over £3 million to the city of Newcastle every year.
Using the latest Census 2011 data and feeding it into the economic assessment tool, the campaign group calculates that Newcastle’s 3,300 commuter cyclists save the city over £3.3 million in costs simply by living healthier and more productive lives.
BBC Look North (2 August 2014)
BBC reporter Martin Forster "But some cycling campaigners say there's little point getting us to fall in love with cycling if, come Monday, our roads are once again dangerous for cyclists."
As promised last week, we wanted to add some more specifics to our previous article which was setting the scene: we aren't too happy with council's current SCR4 plans. If Newcastle City Council were serious about making Brandling Park a Cycle Street, they would have build the case for a Cycle Street, bottom-up. That means gathering data.
It's great that Newcastle council wants to create Strategic Cycle Routes (SCRs). Safe space for cycling is much needed in our city. We now have to make sure the SCRs are designed well enough so that people will intuitively use them. SCR4 (Gosforth) is part of the seven planned routes and council have recently issued designs for Brandling Park and Clayton Road.
Newcycling, Newcastle’s cycling campaign, speaks out against a counterproductive road safety initiative, when a flyer from Road Safety GB Northeast fails to address real safety issues. Newcycling recently adopted Sustainable Safety as a campaign policy to counteract the prevailing negative approach to road safety.