Chronicle Live reports that within the next couple of months, work is expected to begin on the £1m segregated cycle path along John Dobson Street in Newcastle. However, while local cycle campaigners have welcomed the news, they remain concerned about certain aspects of the design, including potential conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians.
In February, we reported how John Dobson Street was going to be redesigned to include a two-lane segregated cycle path and reduced motor traffic. The money has come from an initial £5.7m award from the Cycle City Ambition Fund and Newcastle City Council say that the path will eventually link together a number of proposed cycle routes across the city.
In an article on their website, Newcastle Cycling welcomed the news that work is to commence but also made it clear that the current design is not entirely satisfactory. In particular, the group perceives a number of issues with regards to junctions.
“Walking and cycling movement along – and across John Dobson Street too – must be made safe, easy, clear and seamless,” they write. The group points to the convoluted movements expected of cyclists on the junction with Northumberland Road and the sharp 90 degree turns which will present a conflict with pedestrians at St Mary’s Place junction as being particular concerns.
The Northumberland Road junction also now features a toucan crossing in place of the previously proposed dedicated cycling crossing point. Newcastle Cycling believe this creates unnecessary conflict, adding: “Clear space designation is key.”
The group has also called for infrastructure to be improved along the rest of the 32-mile Great North Cycleway of which John Dobson Street forms but a small part.
“You may know that there is a route that is called NCN725 or ‘Great North Cycleway’ that runs through Newcastle and that it includes John Dobson Street.
“It is rather baffling to us, as with that designation comes responsibility too. The route should be designed to a quality that allows a ‘standard design cyclist’ (typically described as a sensible 12-year old) to safely cycle there unattended.
“Whilst the planned improvements to John Dobson Street appear to meet this quality, we would ask that the council puts robust plans in place to address this embarrassing oversight on the remaining route (northwards and southwards), or remove the designation.”