Back on the roads - again! Parklands eFocus No 52

April 9, 2016 5:41 PM

GREAT NORTH ROAD - NEXT PLANS

Furious residents show what they think about plans to close off the service road from Polwarth Drive roundabout alongside Great North Road. Cllr Pauline Allen presented 2 petitions to Newcastle City Council on 6th April and resident Mark Loftus used the public question time facility to address the issue. A good number of local people attend the Civic Centre and their applause was noted by local media

Details of the Council's revised proposals for cycle lanes between Broadway and Brunton Lane, Gosforth, can be found herehttp://www.newcastle.gov.uk/…/cycle-route-4-proposed-improv…

Here are notes Pauline made on her questions to Cllr Ged Bell on his report to Newcastle City Council Wednesday 6th April 2016

Question 1

Cllr Bell on page 312, (page 6 of your report), as part of the section on Gosforth Transport Improvements you say "Work on the section from Hollywood to Broadway junctions is complete bringing safer and smoother traffic flow".

However, you attended the Parklands Ward Cttee meeting where over 150 people told you that they did not feel at all safe on the crossings at Broadway junction. So when are you going to take some action to ensure that the Broadway junction and the crossings are safe for local people?

Notes of Cllr Bell's reply

With any scheme there is concern about crossings close to roundabouts, there is nothing unusual about this. Neighbouring authorities have zebra crossings near to junctions for example there are 3 or 4 junctions in North Tyneside like this. And also this happens in other places in the country.

There is no reason to take them out, and no money to do so. The situation has improved and settled down. Residents don't like change, for example as in Acorn Road.

Question 2

I listened carefully to your comments in your reply to Parish Cllr Mark Loftus and you mentioned that consultation was still taking place re the proposal to close the service road on the Great North Road.

However I have papers that say the proposals were to be the subject of TROs and that work is due to start in late spring/early summer. So can I have some reassurance that our concerns about the proposals that encompass the whole scheme from Broadway to Brunton Lane are to be taken into account before the TROs are finalised?

Notes of Cllr Bell's reply

The consultation finishes on Friday and then a plan is to be put forward and residents can object. A meeting is to be arranged with officers to discuss the plans.

NEED HELP? KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES?

Parklands Ward Councillors have used the last of the funds allocated for this year to commission the Citizen's Advice Bureau to work within the ward to provide help and support for those in need (probably from Grange Community Centre - details are being finalised) The Liberal Democrat group has also been very supportive of the Citizen's Advice Bureau retaining their funding to help the most vulnerable people in our city. Our party leader Tim Farron visited their offices recently and spoke to the team working there and they were very pleased to have his backing.

If you need help, we also know that there is a group called Christians Against Poverty who work in the local area and who have helped many people to get out of debt. They give help and support to anyone regardless of their beliefs. If you'd like more information about them they have a website.

SPEEDING ON OUR ROADS

As some people may know from social media, local police and Speedwatch volunteers use mobile speed detection equipment. Our neighbourhood police have told us they are receptive to requests for monitoring in problem areas. So if you have any suggestions, we'll pass on those where the most people think monitoring should take place - just email us.

BRUNTON BRIDGE TEMP CLOSURE

Councillors have been informed of a temporary traffic regulation order for a section of Brunton Lane, which is required to ensure that health and safety is maintained as repairs to the bridge joints on Brunton Lane Bridge are to be completed (as previously notified).

The legal order will start from 09/05/2016 and will last for 4 weeks. However it is anticipated that the work will only take 2 weeks during the order. The remainder is as a contingency in the event of unforeseen difficulties.

The closure will be in operation between the hours of 20:00 and 06:00, however access will be permitted for emergency vehicles and pedestrians during this time. All appropriate diversion signs and advance warning signs will be placed on the adjacent highway network, we are assured.

The number of Penalty Charge Notices issued in August, September and October last year for cars going across the Brunton Bridge bus lane averaged 616 per month. November, December and January saw this drop to an average 463 per month. And in February there was 393.

Council officials believe that over time, the number of PCNs issued at each camera will decrease as people receive them - 88% of penalties are to people caught only once.

There has been a windfall of over £1 million in fines for Newcastle City Council so far. This money has to be used for prescribed highways purposes.

BRUNTON PARK PLAY AREA

The proposals for the play area (which comes under the Parish Council) have been modified by Northumbria Water after feedback from local people. It will now include 4 swings, roundabout, rotator and multi-unit. If you'd like to see pictures, please email robin.ashby5@yahoo.co.uk

GARDEN WASTE SCHEME

I've just written to the Assistant Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council because I have been contacted by residents who wish to renew their subscription to the Garden Waste Scheme but who are confused by the article that appeared in City Life. No doubt officers want everyone to sign up to direct debits but residents don't always want to do that. Nor do they want to tussle with the automated telephone system that some of them can't hear I asked the responsible Cabinet Members 2 council meetings ago on this subject but despite several prompts there's still no answer. Just rude).

Some people want to pay by cheque and they want to post the cheque to the Civic Centre but the article doesn't give them the details to do this. Why not?

UPDATE : This just received.
Following the City Life article, we will writing in the first week of April to every household on the scheme with details of how to renew their garden waste service. This will include the details of how to make payments by cheque.

CYCLISTS IN PARKLANDS WARD - THE FACTS

This table provides information that classifies usual residents aged 16 to 74 by their method of travel to work, for England and Wales as at census day, 27 March 2011.

All categories: Method of travel to work 7026

Work mainly at or from home 290

Underground, metro, light rail, tram 301

Train 67

Bus, minibus or coach 410

Taxi 16

Motorcycle, scooter or moped 13

Driving a car or van 3043

Passenger in a car or van 207

Bicycle 130

On foot 286

Other method of travel to work 65

Not in employment 2198

- See more at: http://www.ukcensusdata.com/parklands-e05001105#sthash.qfYDQF6m.dpuf

On this basis there are other transport modes in which we should be investing including better quality pavements....

BUS LANE CAMERAS

We asked about the number of penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued at Netherwitton Way.

The camera went live 11 January, but for the first 3 weeks all PCNs were issued as warning letters only. (133 issued in these 3 weeks) Then the system started issuing penalty notices

Total Issued during February 97 Total Cancelled 0 In recovery process 59 Total Paid so far 38

All PCNs issued have 2 still images and 1 video taken from the ANPR camera. Whilst the video does not show the registration plate, one of the two photos is infra-red from the camera and shows the number plate from close up.

Anybody caught can review their footage at https://buslanepayments.newcastle.gov.uk/live-3sc-user/

KOI CARP CENTRE

Delighted to see that it appears to have successfully relocated from its previous home in parklands to the Team Valley.

SPEED MONITORING ON BRUNTON PARK

The police have confirmed that there has been some speed monitoring on Polwarth Drive, Brunton Park, based a complaint from a local resident. Monitoring is usually done in an overt manner and police have been encouraging Community Speedwatch to be active in the area - they should be obvious, wearing tabbards.

PARKING PERMIT SCHEMES

From time to time residents get annoyed about parking issues and the topic of parking permits for residents only comes up (most recently on Melbury and Brunton Park) So we enquired about the rules - here's an edited version,

"The Permit scheme is designed to address commuter parking throughout the day. The introduction of a permit scheme also follows a set procedure with various criteria which looks at levels of parking through the day and is designed to address commuter parking only. The first of these criteria is that 85% or more of any available kerbside parking space must be occupied through the day and 1 in 4 or more cars must be commuter vehicles (so for instance this would not be the case if local problems are with evening parking.

The process which would need to be followed would be to undertake surveys at 7am, 12 noon and 7pm to determine levels of commuter parking. Much higher parking levels during the midday survey would indicate an issue with commuter parking. If the 85% threshold were to be met then the next stage would be to consult with residents. If more than 34% of residents were against a scheme then the Council would not progress it to formal legal advertising.

There is a permit scheme for Event related parking around the Newcastle Falcons ground. This scheme was developed as part of the planning consent for the redevelopment of the ground and was paid for by Newcastle Falcons, including the cost of permits. This is the only permit scheme of this type within Newcastle and the Council had to obtain specific authorisation from the Department for Transport to introduce it.

Any permit scheme would require residents to pay for permits."

CIVIC CENTRE TELEPHONE SYSTEM

The Council's Civic Centte automatic telephone system - 2 months ago Pauline Allen asked a question of the Cabinet Member in charge about how people who are hard of hearing/don't understand can get through, finally received this reply :

The automated system recognises when a caller has not understood or heard the options correctly and after two attempts (without success), the caller would be automatically connected to an operator (member of staff), who would take over the call and assist accordingly. The automated message does also give an option to state 'operator', which would also connect the caller to an operator without any delay, however I appreciate that this option may not have been heard by the caller in the example you provide. To be connected to an operator automatically would only take a matter of seconds as opposed to minutes so it would be advisable not to hang up unless absolutely necessary as you will be connected to an operator if you haven't heard the options on the automated message.

Other accessibility routes are available for those who have severe hearing difficulties to include 'type talk' and 'minicom' which are available facilities in the Contact Centre and there are aids available for the home such as amplifiers for telephone handsets, which may be worth looking into.

But other people's experiences cast doubt even on this...