Sunday, 21 July 2013

Going Dutch - by helicopter

One of Newcastle's notorious blackspots (no-one walks or cycles there without fear or intimidation) is Blue House Roundabout. It's best to get across by helicopter (which may not quite be the best environmental, or socially or economically feasible, way of travel). On a recent visit the Cycle Embassy of Great Britain was not impressed with the ease of navigation by bicycle at this location.

Yet, Blue House gyratory is on the Gosforth Strategic Cycle Route (now locally known as SCR 4) and the Great North Cycleway (NCN725) where people-friendly designs should be more easily forthcoming. Hello Sustrans, are you going to say something? (City Centre, nudge nudge.)

New plans I have seen look like they have little for cycling 'convenience' where pedallers are probably lumped in with pedestrians once more (just like the latest Central Station plans). Neither does the site fare well for pedestrians with its proposed multiple stage crossings. Be prepared to emerge ten year older when re-surfacing on the other side of this dead space. Hello 1960s! The Grand Age of Motoring is back. And funding has been allocated through the LTP (as also for Haddrick Mill and Cowgate gyratories).

This is terrifying.

But - salvation trumpets - the Dutch are coming to Newcastle, hungry to fill us in on their cycle infrastructure knowledge.  Solutions are there of course. The space is there (of course) - luckily at this location, without starving the Sacred Cow of traffic flow.

Blue House gyratory - existing


Blue House gyratory - proposed

Blue House gyratory - overlay


  1. Having staggered crossings like that does not make for quick and convenient crossings.

    It feels like they are a fudge by the planners to save people from trying to cross in one easy movement.

  2. Something very similar is about to be built in Sheffield.

    A roundabout converted to a signalised junction with lots and lots of multi-stage crossings.

  3. Non-sultation... In-sultation... Whatever you'd like to describe your Sheffield experience. My deepest condolences. It hurts when that happens. As for the highway design, I agree, it's a shocking prioritisation of motor traffic. Again, that hurts too.