Days after cycling campaigners complained that infrastructure was needed to promote cycling in the city, Newcastle City Council have revealed plans for precisely that. Proposals for John Dobson Street in the city centre could see the creation of a two-lane segregated cycle path.
Last week, Newcastle Cycling Campaign reacted to the Cycling in the City project by making a plea for major work on infrastructure. Newcastle City Council has now unveiled proposals for a cycle superhighway running through the city centre.
The plan is the biggest project of its type ever undertaken by the authority and will cost £1.1m, the money coming from an initial £5.7m award from the Cycle City Ambition Fund. The cycle path will eventually link together a number of proposed cycle routes across the city as well as forming a section of the Great North Cycleway, a regional route from Blyth to Darlington.
The proposals describe ‘a boulevard style environment’ with wider footpaths, raised junctions and a segregated two-way cycle track. The junction between St Mary’s Place and John Dobson Street will also be closed to cars, with buses and taxis transferred to single lanes.
Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for investment and development, told The Chronicle:
“These major improvements are part of our ambitious plans for the city. We set out last year how we are committed to making Newcastle one of the safest and easiest cities to get around. The John Dobson Street scheme confirms the council’s commitment to put Newcastle firmly on the map as a true cycling city.”
John Litherland, chair of Newcastle Cycling Stakeholders Forum, welcomed the news:
“Newcastle is one of eight cities awarded Cycling Ambition Funding resources from the Government and this is a very ambitious project.
“I think we are on the cusp of cycling becoming a much more mainstream way of getting around the city and the proposal for John Dobson Street is likely, if successful, to be replicated in other parts of the city so in the longer term we will have a much more complex network so people can get home to school and work.”
Following consultations, it is hoped that work will commence this summer.
A £10.5m grant is also said to be in the pipeline for other cycling schemes. Newcastle City Council wishes to create a new route between Science Central and Arthur’s Hill; a £2.5m link between Ouseburn, Heaton and Jesmond; and a fully upgraded Coast Road route.