Saturday, 27 April 2013


Newcastle (but by all means not just there) still creates urban highways simply by using resurfacing and road marking "techniques" readily available from the 60s engineers toolbox.

Are our city engineers and transport planners not aware of psychological effect and influence they have on people and their interaction with places? Or are they indeed still and solely under the influence of the Almighty Highway Engineer who cruelly destroys - like a Monster Carzilla - our towns and cities?

These are 20mph streets  - yet they do not feel like it.

The most recent example is Moor Road South in the Newcastle suburb of Gosforth / Jesmond. It's not on any of my normal routine routes, but I happened to cycle through there the other day, when my face was progressively but rapidly paling at the street robbery that took place there.

The start... 20 by sign not design.

Moor Road South
Moor Road South at junction with The Rectory

The centre line, painted on perfectly. The tarmac, dark and smooth. Ideal for rollerblading... but what's with the centre line? I thought we were through with them on urban streets.

Moor Road South
Moor Road South looking North

And the lovely flares at the end turning into the No.1 Ratrun in Gosforth The Grove (I am aware that I might do Ilford Road a great disservice here though by saying so). All expertly executed complete with double yellow lines. Wow! You can also admire the set-backness of the pedestrian dropped kerbs - ever a straight line for peds neither.

Moor Road South
Moor Road South junction with The Grove

There was an opportunity to change all this. Or put it on hold. But as this (I am surmising) was firmly stuck on a ward resurfacing list, further talk didn't actually take place.

Even more strangely though, this street (and its continuation across The Grove called Moor Road North and then Alwinton Road all the way up to Christon Road) is all part of the Cycle Safety bid Newcastle City Council recently won £1.3m, the second highest allocation from that national fund. The route's completely bypassing the key destination Gosforth High Street - but that aside, I suspect (hope!) what we see on Moor Road South is not the finished article.

So why would anyone waste money on works that might get re-done (possibly quite substantially) in the next few months?

Then there is of course Clayton Road and Stowell Street in the city centre where similar highway-style makeovers were applied by the engineer. Maybe makeup and engineering is not compatible. Or maybe it's a different kind of makeup they apply...? The Halloween scary stuff.

And I could mention more streets that have received a scary highway makeover, but I stop here.

I want to wave Byebye - Hi-way engineers. Stop your street robbery. Get your highway makeup out of our urban toolbox.

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