Cycle campaign says Acorn Road decision ‘a small step in right direction’
Katja Leyendecker and Sally Watson of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign have given a muted but warm welcome to the coming changes to Acorn Road, due to begin in January 2015.
Option 1, which will see the introduction of a contra flow system for cyclists, the implementation of a one-way system for traffic and the speed limit being reduced to 20mph, was favoured following the public consultation, with 49% of respondents opting for the £350,000 development.
Pavements will be widened and the road surface will be raised to the level of footpaths, both in the effort to improve wheelchair and pushchair access. New public seating and a tree lined avenue are also part of the project to make the road more attractive for shoppers. Smart traffic lights will also be introduced at the junction with Osborne Road, which will enforce the speed limit, turning red if the traffic speed exceeds 20mph.
Despite the coming improvements which will make the road safer for both cyclists and pedestrians alike, Sally Watson believes “there is still too little people space and too many cars. The design is compromised because of the fear of losing parking spaces”, arguing that less parking spaces would result in a “more comfortable and safe street for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Watson added that Blue Badge parking should be given priority: “we would always support the need for Blue Badge parking.”
Katja Leyendecker describes Option 1 as a “step in the right direction,” but noted that in future, Newcastle Cycling Campaign “would like to see Acorn Road fully pedestrianised along its entire length from Osborne Road to St George’s Terrace” Watson believes doing so will make Jesmond a “better, cleaner and safer community hub.”
Sally Watson adds that Newcastle Cycling Campaign is “looking forward to the work starting in January” and believes once the reform is finished, “people will want to see more of this kind of street which transfers focus onto people and away from cars.”