Newcycling is concerned about the transition to a better city with a resilient transport system, and says council is not doing enough for a better future for city people, families and children. Council looks after most of our public space and it’s in their gift to arrange that space more fairly to reflect a vibrant inclusive city Newcastle aspires to be.
Katja Leyendecker, committee member of the campaign, says “I am deeply worried about our local politicians’ inattentive attitude to one of the biggest transport policies they hold at the council: making modal shift happen or in plain English ‘getting people out of their cars’. They have no plan for that.
“We want 2014 to be the year, they get involved in their own policies so that it’s not at the expense, and I am not exaggerating here, of the future of our kids. We’ve asked for a scrutiny debate to be arranged. They want a 12% modal bike share; that’s a six-fold increase on current levels. Good, but just how are they planning to get to these German levels of cycling? The £6m council got a year ago, has not resulted in any road changes and there’s only a few months to go before the deadline. In fact plans I’ve seen are looking more like innercity motorways with slip road junctions than routes where walking or cycling takes precedence.
“Newcastle council are in charge of much of our public space, and have the ultimate power to make things better, so that kids can walk and cycle safely to school. So that parents aren’t worried about risk, danger and injury. So that we can commute without fear to work on foot, by bike. Surveys show again and again that our kids want to cycle to school, yet very few do due to the aggessive road environments they encounter on their routes.
“We know that school staff and concerned parents of various schools have been trying to converse with the council for years to alert them to dangerous road environments outside schools. Yet all is coming back is ‘we’ll look into it’ and then nothing much follows on from there; or sometimes – in a sarcastic twist – it results in even worse public spaces with loads of guard rails, a token 20mph stretch that’s useless or crossings in very unsuitable places making walking and cycling very arduous adding insult o injury. When what’s rather needed is to tackle the root cause: too much motor traffic and too much space afforded to parking which cod be used for walking and cycling.
“We, the public and community groups like Newcycling, are here to hold decision-makers to account. On modal shift they are not doing near enough. It’s lacking transparency. It’s lacking a step-by-step plan, openly debated in public. Above all, I hope we can get senior politicians to grasp their own good policies and proudly realise them for the city’s future vitality and competitiveness.”