In 2012, Newcastle adopted a 10-year cycle policy which every Newcastle councillor signed, for 20 per cent of short journeys to be by bike by 2020 and seven cycle routes into the city to be created, complete with a delivery programme. Without Newcycling pestering the politicians, this would not have come about.
Getting the £5.7m DfT funding announced last week is great. It’s yet another excuse for inaction (no time, no money, no space) that now falls by the wayside! The council didn’t manage to action these ‘little’ inexpensive things like opening up one-way streets for contra-flow cycling when money was tight. Now, with the recent investment injection we are talking big changes to our roadscapes.
Newcastle has not built one successful urban continuous cycle route to the city centre in its entire existence. The bid promises four (albeit stubs for later extension) to be constructed by 2015.
In the council’s defence, it’s not easy for anyone to support something which is only drip-funded. We must see some investment, certainty at £20 per head per year, year on year – not just the £10 that Get Britain Cycling is calling for. At least we’ve started talking numbers, such as British pounds per head, bike modal share targets, etc.
We are holding a ‘Love Cycling Go Dutch’ conference in November with the Dutch Embassy and asking our members to submit their cycle paths photos and accompanying stories from cycle cities around the world. One thing is guaranteed: there never is a dull day at Newcycling HQ!
This article was first published in the August 22 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!