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MONTH OF WAITING: New measures to cut car journeys finally announced

MONTH OF WAITING: New measures to cut car journeys finally announced

Hotspur Primary School in Heaton, where Newcastle City Council will introduce new 'School Street' restrictions on motorists, Image: NCJ Media

‘Bold’ new measures to cut car journeys in three parts of Newcastle have finally been announced after months of waiting.

City transport chiefs have revealed details of their plans for new low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Arthur’s Hill, Fenham, and Heaton to stop certain streets being used as rat runs – in an effort to make residential streets safer and less polluted.

Newcastle City Council also confirmed the first two locations where it will create permanent ‘School Streets’, closing roads outside Westgate Hill Primary in Arthur’s Hill and Hotspur Primary in Heaton at pick-up and drop-off times to improve safety for children.

However, there is still no sign of a final decision on the future of five bridges that were closed to traffic last year – despite a top Labour councillor calling for a “speedy resolution” to the saga almost two months ago.

The council announced back in June that it would “imminently” be introducing new LTN measures in areas such as Arthur’s Hill, Fenham, Heaton and parts of Jesmond, with more to follow across the entire city over the next two years.

But it has taken five months for the details of the trials to be revealed and they now look set to be installed in “early 2022”.

The proposals include bringing in bollards or planters to block vehicles from cutting through various streets, putting down more double yellow lines to stop inconsiderate parking and creating new crossings.

The public will be asked for feedback on the plans before trials lasting up to 18 months are put in place in the new year.

This is the city’s second round of LTN trials, following bans on traffic crossing five small bridges through residential areas in August last year – Salters Bridge in Gosforth, Castle Farm Road Bridge next to Jesmond Dene, Haldane Bridge in Jesmond, the Argyle Street Bridge near Manors Metro station, and Stoneyhurst Bridge in South Gosforth.

Some of those changes have proved divisive, with the Stoneyhurst closure in particular said to have “pitted one section of the community against the other”.

When asked this week, the council said a verdict on whether those changes would be made permanent is due “in the coming weeks” – the same response it gave three months ago.

Ged Bell, the city’s Labour transport chief, said in September that he wanted “to get a speedy resolution and decision on this”.

Announcing the new set of LTN proposals, Coun Bell: “We’re committed to creating a more liveable city – one that puts people first. We need to see less cars and more space for people to walk and cycle. The proposals set out how we could create better neighbourhoods, making streets safer and the air cleaner for the people who live there.

“This is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think of the proposals ahead of them being implemented. They will mostly be made as trial measures which means it’s easier for us to make changes if we need to. It is important that people can have their say so we can create better and more attractive neighbourhoods, where children can play out safely and more people feel safer walking and cycling on local journeys.“

The Newcastle Cycling Campaign tweeted that the new measures were “fantastic news for the city”.

The roads affected are:

  • In Arthur’s Hill – Gainsborough Grove, Sidney Grove, Dilston Road, Stanhope Street, Beaconsfield Street, and Fenham Road;
  • In Fenham – the junction of Queensway and Kingsway, Cedar Road, Newminster Road, Grange Road, Gowland Avenue, Bolbec Road, Nuns Moor Road, Hadrian Road, Wingrove Gardens, Moorside South, and Wingrove Road;
  • In Heaton – Ouseburn Road, Warwick Street, Heaton Park View, Bolingbroke Street, Heaton Park Road, Stratford Road, Mowbray Street, Cardigan Terrace, Heaton Hall Road, Heaton Road, Falmouth Road, Stannington Avenue, Wandsworth Road.

Full details of the exact changes being made at every location are available at newcastle.gov.uk/neighbourhoods.

Leaflets are also being sent out to affected residents, who are being asked for their feedback before a December 7 deadline ahead of the trial schemes being introduced in the new year.

Coun Clare Penny-Evans, the authority’s cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: ”We need to make bold decisions in our city to ensure that we clean up our air, improve public health and wellbeing and tackle climate change and these schemes are a key part of this.

“We know people don’t want their local streets choked by traffic. By making small changes to how we get around our neighbourhoods it can have a big impact on people’s mental and physical health, reduce car emissions and improve air quality.”

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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