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New £350k plan revealed to make Acorn Road in Jesmond more people-friendly

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A £350,000 scheme to make a popular Newcastle street “more people friendly” has been revealed.

It follows consultation with local residents and businesses on the future of Acorn Road in Jesmond.

Three options were discussed, one being no change, before it settled on the following plan.

It will include turning into a one way street for traffic, raising the road surface to the levels of footpaths to make it easier for pushchairs and widening pavements.

The council also wants to introduce a contra flow system for cyclists so they can pedal in both directions, reduce the speed limit to 20mph, provide new public seating and landscaping and introducing smart traffic lights at the junction with Osborne Road.

Another part of the scheme involves raising the junction with St George’s Terrace and pavements to improve wheelchair and pushchair access.

Tony Waterston, of the Jesmond Residents Association, said: “My personal view is it’s a very good scheme which will greatly improve the neighbourhood and I’m really keen for it to go ahead.”

He said people living closest to Acorn Road were concerned over the loss of parking spaces causing motorists to use their street to park in.

Meanwhile, local businesses are worried the loss of parking spaces might hit their trade.

Mr Waterston said: “I think it will encourage more people to go on foot. Surveys reveal that pedestrians come back more frequently than car users and spend three times as much.”

Newcastle City Council said the changes will improve traffic flows, make the road more attractive and safer for cyclists and people who shop there.

Coun Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, said: “Acorn Road is a very popular shopping destination and it’s important that the council does everything it can to maintain its vibrancy.

“By making it more cycle-friendly it will attract more visitors, residents and cyclists to the local businesses, improving the local economy and making the area even more attractive.”

Dr Tony WaterstonDr Tony Waterston
The council received 624 responses with 48% backing the scheme they are putting forward. This compared to 31% who backed the second scheme which would have kept the two way system, with raised pavements and would have cost about £189,000. Meanwhile 13% wanted no change and 8% did not state a preference.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of cycling campaign group newcycling.org, said: “We welcome the public’s and project board’s decision to reduce motor dominance on Acorn Road.

“It’s good for people, business, residents and customers, young and old. I am delighted to see that people rallied behind the far better option of the two that were on offer.”

However she added: “In the future, Acorn Road should be fully pedestrianised and that could have been an ‘option for change’ in the consultation, whereas option 2 should not have been included.

“There is no room for parking and driving as well as people mingling safely, getting together and having a good time on Acorn Road.

“London boroughs and our European cousins know that and have started designing their local shopping areas that way.”

The council will now start statutory consultation with emergency services, taxi firms and bus companies, and advertise traffic regulation orders to begin the legal process to make the traffic changes.

The cost of the scheme is being met by the Cycle City Ambition Fund, and work is expected to start in January 2015.

 

Source - Newcastle Chronicle 6 Oct 2014

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