Acorn Road consultation favours pedestrian-friendly road layout
An interim report into the results of a Newcastle City Council consultation on the future of Acorn Road shows that more people favour a more pedestrianised, cycle-friendly area than a relatively low-key update to the key shopping street – though opinion is split depending on residents’ proximity to the road.
Excluding those who expressed no preference for introducing either scheme or doing nothing, 49% of respondents who supplied a valid postcode and/or house number said they favoured the council’s ‘Option 1’, which would see Acorn Road adopt a one-way system for vehicle traffic with wider pavements and more cycle-friendly areas. The revamp, which would cost £350,000, would see 10 parking spaces lost along the road, and a 20mph speed limit enforced.
38% of respondents said they preferred ‘Option 2’, keeping the current two-way system with improved crossing, at a cost of £189,000. The second option would reduce the number of parking spaces by eight, but would still introduce a 20mph limit along the road. 12% expressed that they did not want any chance to the status quo.
The survey, which received 624 self-selecting responses, becomes more complicated when taking in the geographical proximity to Acorn Road. Again removing those who expressed no opinion on the decision, 54% of those who reside 200m or more away from Acorn Road prefer the more pedestrian-friendly road layout proposal, while roughly a third favour a two-way traffic system; 12% favour no change.
For those who live within 200m of the street, however, opinions switch. two-thirds, 64%, favour Option 2, which gives precedence to traffic. Less than a quarter (23%) prefer Option 1. 14% would rather nothing changed.
A road layout based on Option 1 will now be progressed by Newcastle City Council’s Transport Investment and Development Board.
Though relatively widely-responded to (click picture right showing the location of resident responses to the poll to see more detail), the survey directors acknowledge the limitations of their polling. 414 responses were received with a valid postcode or address, which is 11% of the households in the North Jesmond ward.
Responses to the interim report on social media have been mixed:
Not content with controversial scheme on Gosforth High St, @newcastlecc to do same to Acorn Rd Jesmond. Labour have no mandate in NJ or Gos.
— Greg Stone (@gm_stone) October 3, 2014
Katja Leyendecker of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign said in a statement that “in the future Acorn Road should be fully pedestrianised and that could have been an ‘option for change’ in the consultation, whereas option 2 should not have been included. There is no room for parking and driving as well as people mingling safely, getting together and having a good time on Acorn Road.
“For the Jesmond’s Acorn Road consultation the options were unambitious and, right from the start, the debate was limited to mediocrity. Again, forgetting to set vision (and within that rules of engagement and policy platform) resulted in badly framed and at times rather ill-mannered discussions against cyclists and cycling in general. This was not only totally unacceptable but entirely avoidable too if a stronger modal shift framework had been set, from the start.”
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