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"It would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges," claims local, as cycle lane plan with "enormous benefits for the community" met with vocal opposition

Plenty have spoken in support of the project too, the council's head of highways and transportation suggesting it will encourage people to replace car journeys with active travel and "provide a safe route for cyclists, including schoolchildren"...

A council in North East England has proposed a major project to build protected cycle lanes along a busy A-road to bring "enormous benefits for the community". However, some unimpressed locals have spoken out about the infrastructure — specifically being built with the aim of "reducing congestion and improving air quality" by encouraging residents to replace car journeys with active travel ones — which they claim will cause "chaos", "gridlock", and would be "sacrilege" if it involves taking up grass verges to make space.

North Tyneside Council has proposed the active travel scheme for the A192 Preston Road North in North Shields, hoping to provide a one-way cycle lane on either side of the busy route that connects North Shields town centre to the even busier A1058 to the north, the main route to Newcastle upon Tyne.

With several schools in the area, most notably John Spence Community High School at the roundabout where Preston Road North joins the A1058, the council is keen to "provide a safe link for cyclists, including schoolchildren, between the town centre and the A1058 Coast Road", proposals also including a crossing upgrade outside the school, a new toucan crossing, and changes to junctions.

Preston Road North (Google Maps)

In short, as one local Lorraine Scott told the ChronicleLive website: "It would work for me, I cycle with the kids for school but they are too young for the road. I don't feel safe on the road, it would totally suit me. I wouldn't go on the road here if the path was put in, the road gets quite busy, it would be perfect."

Work is expected to begin in the spring, Paul Watson the head of highways at the council explaining the long-term aim is to "encourage more people to switch from cars to sustainable modes of travel and deliver many benefits for both residents and the environment".

And while he accepts in the short-term there will be "some disruption" as the route is constructed and changes made, the long-term benefits of "promoting active travel, reducing congestion, and improving air quality" will, he says, provide "enormous benefits".

Preston Road North (Google Maps)

"Most of the new cycle lanes will use the existing road space and be built out from the kerbside, with efforts to retain as much grass as possible. While one stretch of grass will need to be removed, we are preserving a wider grass verge along the same section of road to minimise the impact. Junction designs have been carefully considered to ensure safety for both cyclists and motorists, maintaining smooth navigation," he said.

However, the mood of some residents expressing their views in the local press has not been so positive, 60-year-old Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, they are the only green spaces we have got here and trying to get parked here is crazy, it's madness."

> "Proper cyclists don't need cycle lanes": Locals blast "woke" bike lane works, as rugby club claims fans can't get to matches during "chaos"

"We don't need one, for how many cyclists I have seen," she added, before husband Neville said it is "disproportionate for the number of people that will use it and this part is bad enough without a cycle track, by 3.30 because of the school, you can't get up or down the road".

The claims did not seem to consider the council's confidence the scheme, by providing a safe and accessible route for active travel, would encourage people out of cars and onto bikes, freeing up road space and reducing congestion.

Likewise, another local, Derek Miller, claimed it would cause "absolute chaos".

> "A pointless waste of time and taxpayers' money": Bike shop owner slams cycle lane claiming it forced him to shut down business

"It is bad enough getting down here as it is and the traffic that backs up towards the school. It is going to create a gridlock in Preston Village because people are going to start going around a different way," he said.

The council disputes the idea the cycle lane will increase congestion and says the focus is on creating and "improving sustainable travel links between the A1058 Coast/Beach Road and North Shields town centre [...] It forms part of the strategic network of cycle routes throughout North Tyneside."

"It also complements and ties into wider regeneration plans for North Shields and supports the local authority's ambition to work towards the borough being carbon net-zero by 2030," information on the local authority's website states.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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32 comments

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M4rt1n74 | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Yep, let's not dig up the verge, people need them to park their cars.

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Wheelywheelygood | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Cycle lanes may be useful for parking as nobody else use s them 

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Rendel Harris replied to Wheelywheelygood | 2 weeks ago
7 likes

 .

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brooksby replied to Wheelywheelygood | 2 weeks ago
9 likes
Wheelywheelygood wrote:

Cycle lanes may be useful for parking as nobody else use s them 

"Nobody"?  Are you quite sure about that, wheely? 

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 weeks ago
7 likes

No true cyclist - because they're all busy blocking traffic before swerving onto the pavement and riding over the speed limit the wrong way past a red light so they can run over wheelchair users.

Back in reality - road.cc has explained this phenomenon.

TBH the more I see on-road cycle lanes as opposed to separated cycle paths the more I wonder what they're for?

The existing fast and brave riders will often ignore them because they're not continuous.  Where they are they're full of parked cars, boarding buses, delivery vehicles unloading, rubbish and holes.  They don't protect you - they may increase risk by hemming you in and making you less visible.

They're not tempting many new cyclists either.  (Reportedly some, my anecdata - but not sure the numbers can be seen above random fluctuation.  Of course there are lots of reasons why people aren't riding bikes in the UK.)

They don't even look good where cycling is socially acceptable, speed limits are lower and drivers are much better trained.

I guess they act as (very polite) notice that "you're not the only road users" to motorists.  Plus visual narrowing of the carriageway?

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eburtthebike | 2 weeks ago
6 likes

"....Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges....."

I wasn't sure what sacrilege meant, so I looked it up:

"Sacrilege is the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object, site or person."

I'm pretty sure that Gillian wouldn't think the grass was sacred if it was being removed to widen the road or provide more parking.

All the other anti comments were just as bad and completely untrue, and if Cycling Mikey's video can be fact checked, why can't those comments.

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OldRidgeback replied to eburtthebike | 2 weeks ago
5 likes

Maybe it's religious grass? She could be a rasta?

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mattw | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

We had one of these recently where the local Council wanted "a modest scheme" to appeal to nimby voters and create a wedge issue with County who are the LHA.

TBH it sounds like the usual "retain my personal benefits" neanderthal tendency.

Fight.

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Fursty Ferret | 2 weeks ago
8 likes

60-year-old Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, they are the only green spaces we have got here and trying to get parked here is crazy, it's madness."

I'm willing to bet a million pounds (and a leg) that she's removed the grass from her front garden to make a parking space.

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wycombewheeler replied to Fursty Ferret | 2 weeks ago
6 likes
Fursty Ferret wrote:

60-year-old Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, they are the only green spaces we have got here and trying to get parked here is crazy, it's madness."

I'm willing to bet a million pounds (and a leg) that she's removed the grass from her front garden to make a parking space.

Sounds more like she regulalrly parks on the grass verges, otherwise why link parking shortages with the loss of grass verges at all.

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brooksby replied to Fursty Ferret | 2 weeks ago
4 likes
Fursty Ferret wrote:

60-year-old Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, they are the only green spaces we have got here and trying to get parked here is crazy, it's madness."

I'm willing to bet a million pounds (and a leg) that she's removed the grass from her front garden to make a parking space.

But that she never actually uses to park her car on because it's easier to park on the verge… surprise

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Moist von Lipwig | 2 weeks ago
7 likes

I'm local to this.

Location is here  https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.0215467,-1.4528897,18.5z?entry=ttu

Drawings are here 

https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1739/a192-preston-road-healthy-...

The 6 houses affected by parking retain their parking, and only one section of verge is lost.  Blah blah blah....

Its all single carriageway at the moment and remains as such, all the traffic problems are juts caused by the sheer volume of cars. Preston Village is used as a rat run at peak times anyway - if thats such a problem then just put a modal filter beyond the Monks Wood Access.

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neilmck | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

If they think they should not have cycle lanes because they don't see many cyclists then they should get rid of the pavements to make space the bicycle lanes. In my town you see pavements on both side of every road, but you never see a pedestrian using them, a complete waste of valuable space.

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ubercurmudgeon | 2 weeks ago
4 likes
Quote:

60-year-old Gillian Ferguson who lives on a street just off Preston Road North claiming "it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, they are the only green spaces we have got here and trying to get parked here is crazy, it's madness."

"Sure, shitting in public has turned the streets into open sewers. But those people who spit on the sidewalk are really disgusting. Not least because I might slip on saliva the next time I'm looking for a place to take a dump."

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HLaB | 2 weeks ago
16 likes

If the grass is so precious, they should narrow the road or ban polluting cars completely.

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AidanR | 2 weeks ago
18 likes

It would be madness to give people a safe option to cycle instead of using their cars, as there are too many cars and it would cause gridlock...

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HarrogateSpa | 2 weeks ago
19 likes

Grass is not sacred ground.

Houses get built on it, roads get widened, but only when cycle tracks are proposed do a few people treat the green stuff as sacrosanct.

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Jakrayan replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 weeks ago
21 likes

I bet if the council were proposing to dig it up and tarmac over it to make more parking spaces the same people would be all for it 

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chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Still a cycle lane apparently (though people often confuse the language)? If so not so good, for a busy A road and wanting kids to use it a separated cycle path is needed. At least they're taking space from that wide wide road though.

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chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
17 likes

Sometimes these quotes are so lacking in awareness I wonder if road.cc is making them up!

Doris and Sid Bonkers wrote:

it would be sacrilege to take up the grass verges, *they are the only green spaces we have* got here and *trying to get parked here is crazy*, it's madness.

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
12 likes

You beat me to it- I wonder how often those sacred green verges are churned into mud by, or covered with, parked cars...

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 3 weeks ago
11 likes

Also valuable - nay, sacred - green space (true) because ... all the rest of the space is under tarmac for motor vehicles (or those parked vehicles).

Sadly because of how inefficient this mode is it really is a bit of a zero-sum game.  Above a certain number of people/motor vehicles we don't get to have nice things (parks, paths, pedestrian-only spaces) AND fast, easy access to them from any direction AND lots of parking.

Still - back in the Bad Old Days (pre-millenium?) when we (or our ancestors) were all poorer we appreciated things more (access to a park / the shops, conveniences of travel, next-week delivery)...

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qwerty360 replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
18 likes

Not too mention the 'no one cycles here so we don't need a cycle lane'

Hint - the miles of tarmac for cars to speed on and lack of a cycle lane is exactly why no-one cycles...

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kamoshika replied to qwerty360 | 2 weeks ago
23 likes

We don't need a station here, no one ever arrives by train

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Geordiepeddeler replied to kamoshika | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Ever heard of the metro?

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kamoshika replied to Geordiepeddeler | 2 weeks ago
5 likes
Geordiepeddeler wrote:

Ever heard of the metro?

You've missed my point. I was pointing out the absurdity of the arguement "we don't need bike lanes because no one ever cycles here" by applying the same logic to a different form of transport. It wasn't a comment specific to the area in question but, yes, I have heard of the Metro, and have used it quite a few times.

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Geordiepeddeler replied to qwerty360 | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

I do

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Geordiepeddeler replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

Haven't these people got lawns? I am from that neck of the woods and these houses are what you would call not average, they are really nice houses and therefore probably have front and back gardens. Only green space they have? Don't believe it for a second.

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shoko replied to Geordiepeddeler | 2 weeks ago
5 likes

It's true, absolutely no other green space if you can't be arsed to walk for two minutes.

More likely means "I need somewhere close by for the dog to lay some eggs"

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brooksby replied to shoko | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

Exactly.  There seems to a huge wodge of green space very close by.

But maybe it doesn't have a car park…

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