The new Broadway / Great North Road junction - Newcastle City Council's response

July 7, 2015 10:30 PM

There has been a great deal of controversy about this, including safety claims made in tonight's Evening Chronicle. Liberal Democrat Councillors had previously written to Council officials on these issues : Here's a reply received late this afternoon.

Thank you for your email in relation to the works that are currently being undertaken at the Roundabout junction between the B1318 Great North Road and Broadway (East and West) and also in relation to the new cycle lanes that have been installed on the Great North Road.

This project is externally funded and is part of the Gosforth Corridor Improvements and the Gosforth Cycle Safety Scheme. The work on the Gosforth Corridor includes the creation of a strategic cycle route including the reallocation of road space as well as specific improvements to improve crossings at a number of junctions.

As Newcastle upon Tyne is a DfT funded Cycle Ambition city, the same approach has been taken on the Gosforth Corridor as has been adopted on other Cycle City projects. The main aim of these projects is to encourage people of all ages to cycle who currently do not feel sufficiently confident or safe to do so. This will also have the benefit of improving the journey times and convenience for existing cyclists.

All highway improvements are developed in consultation with colleagues in Traffic Management and Road Safety and are reviewed by a Technical Advisory Group with knowledge and experience on a local and national level. Highway designers also meet regularly with representatives from other Cycle Ambition Cities, Transport for London and the Department for Transport. This group discusses best practice, knowledge and experiences of highway design issues.

In relation to the concerns you raise about the Great North Road and Broadway roundabout then it should be noted that there were previously uncontrolled crossings for pedestrians that are being replaced with new formal zebra crossings. The new crossings are designed to slow traffic down and give pedestrians right of way over vehicles.

As you will be aware, construction work on the junction is still currently ongoing. When finished, the new zebra crossings will be highlighted by belisha beacons and will be more conspicuous than the previous uncontrolled crossings at this location. In addition, signs will be installed on each leg of the junction to ensure that motorists are aware pedestrian crossings are ahead.

It can also be confirmed that the new zebra crossings have been designed in accordance with guidance Department for Transport Guidance, as set out in Local Transport Note 2/95 'The Design of Pedestrian Crossings' which states that there should be sufficient distance between the crossing and the priority marking for at least one waiting vehicle. This will be the case at this location.

The council's Road Safety Officer has visited local schools to make them aware that changes are happening, and this will be followed up by further communication on how the new junction should be used to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Publicity will be undertaken via the media and local schools will be provided with information for parents as well as being offered assemblies on how to use the new layout.

In relation to concerns about the new Cycle lanes that have been installed on the Great North Road then it should be noted that Mandatory lanes have been used for some of the 'on road' stretches of this routes. This means that no vehicles other than bicycles are permitted to use these lanes. In addition, in order to provide a level of protection for cyclists, and therefore encourage more people to cycle, a method of physically segregating the cycle lane from the rest of the carriageway has been used.

The question of how to segregate cyclists from motorised traffic has a number of possible solutions and a detailed analysis has been undertaken prior to deciding on the use of Orca's as the preferred solution in this case. It is important to note that materials used for segregation (full or light) do not need DfT approval as they are not classed as road markings or traffic signs but are considered street furniture as are bollards and guardrail. It is the solid white line which indicates the edge of the carriageway.

As you mention in your email, there are also stretches of shared use footway / cycleway as part of the corridor. Where these are in place, they have been designed in accordance with Department of Transport Guidance set out in Local Transport Note 1/12 'Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and Cyclists' and also to meet on site pedestrian and cyclist 'desire' lines.

In relation to the policing the use of cycles on the footway, then this would fall within the remit of Northumbria Police as is currently the case. That said, as mentioned above, we will be working to provide education for all road users in relation to how to use the new infrastructure on this corridor and therefore we would hope to minimise any potential conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

I trust that this satisfies your queries in relation to the scheme and assures you that the safety of all road users has been of paramount concern in the development of the Gosforth Corridor scheme. There will be, as with all new transport infrastructure schemes, monitoring and review once it is in operation with consideration given to changes if these are proved necessary.