£1.5m-worth of funding for cyclists could come to Jesmond

A cycle path, by William Aris. Used under a Creative Commons licence.

A cycle path, by William Aris. Used under a Creative Commons licence

Jesmond’s cycling campaigners are eager to get their hands on up to £1.5m of city council funding, JesmondLocal understands. The money would be used to implement a scheme drawn up that would tackle six roads in Jesmond that are seen as problematic for interaction of vehicular traffic and bicycles.

Progress has already been made in a bid to make Newcastle a more cycle-friendly city. Following a successful pilot scheme based on Moor Road in Gosforth, Jesmond Safe Cycling, a campaign group affiliated to the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, has come up with an effective approach to pedal their way to a safer city.

The plan for the scheme is to tackle retail areas and wards. This will be done by an approach called DIY streets, which involves co-operation between the residents and planners to tackle the problem of unsafe cyclists. The scheme will aim to provide cycle lanes around Jesmond alongside traffic calming zones, restricted entry areas, shared space and architectural modification.

The campaigners also hope that all of Jesmond will receive a 20mph speed limit to help make cyclists feel safe on the roads. There are six main ‘problem’ roads which the scheme is tackling. These are Acorn Road, Sandyford Road, Osborne Road, Tankerville Terrace, Highbury and Jesmond Dene Road. Acorn Road will also act as the designated ‘retail street’, as detailed in previous plans for a shared-space section of Jesmond.

The scheme has been developed in detail, although it is yet to receive funding.

However, the chances of funding are high as Katja Leyendecker of Jesmond Safe Cycling explains. “There is a £6m fund from Cycle City Ambition Fund [to be distributed] citywide, of which some money will hopefully go to Jesmond for Strategic Cycle Routes, such as the Great North Road.”

Some of the money will also go to beautifying the area, including Acorn Road and Tankerville Terrace, Leyendecker hopes. All told, “I am guessing it will probably add up to £1 -1.5m that Jesmond could get,” she says.

Jesmond Safe Cycling will have to wait until the funding is freed up, though. The council says no-one has yet been appointed to distribute the funds around the city. In the meantime, residents are working with Sustrans, a charity “enabling people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys” to find a solution to the problem of no funding.

A solution is crucial for the people of Jesmond, Tony Waterston, chair of Jesmond Safe Cycling believes. “It’s disgraceful, the lack of provision.” Waterston tells JesmondLocal that, for example, “it would be great if the children of West Jesmond Primary could cycle to school, however parents are scared for their children’s safety.”

Initial plans were given to the council two years ago; campaigners hope funding to bring their scheme to fruition will be freed up somewhat quicker.