Monday, 19 August 2013
Newcastle car scrap with jam
Newcastle gained some good money through the Cycle City Ambition Fund. With their top-up funding it amounts to £20 per head for the next two years (the length of the DfT bid - yes funding certainty would be grand, thanks). Woop woop yay - you should think.
Yet what is the first thing Newcastle do? They scrap a scheme which would have improved cycle safety by re-purposing space away from cars to bicycles. The reason given is the 1960s premise of "car, car and car" - here's what council say:
(a) it was felt that the introduction of these proposals at Welbeck Road would be unsafe due to the narrowness of the road and the volume of motorised vehicles using it (including a large number of buses). It was considered likely that this would lead to potential conflict with other traffic in the road
(b) the expeditious and safe movement of vehicular traffic would, on balance, not be enhanced by the proposed Traffic Regulation Orders.
Because cars matter. Car is king. Motoring into the sunshine, on empty roads. Silly really to support car dependency in a city that hasn't slided down the car-ownership scale too fast and is below the national and regional average for car availability (Census 2011). And where the wards that would benefit from the now-shelved scheme (Walker, Byker, Walkergate) are the unhealthiest in the city (difference in life expectancy up to 12 years to healthy wards, source here) and more households DO NOT even have access to the car.
Newcastle City Council - you are absolutely ridiculous!
Posted by katsdekker