Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Told to Look after City Centre Pedestrians

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Told to Look after City Centre Pedestrians

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Brown Reporter

WALKING and cycling groups have joined forces in the wake of recent bus accidents to call for greater pedestrianisation of Newcastle city centre.

Since April 2012, 21 people have been injured in 20 separate incidents within just a few hundred yards of each other.

And though Newcastle City Council says it is working on measures it hopes will help keep people safe, campaigners say the plans do not go far enough. "Although there have been many improvements to Newcastle over recent years there are still a number of danger spots for pedestrians, most notably in Blackett Street, Market Street and St Mary's Place," Colin Green, the chair of Living Streets Tyneside, said.

"But these are all capable of integration into the neighbouring areas to extend the safe and enjoyable streetscapes in the city centre and make Newcastle a more attractive and prosperous city."

And that feeling was echoed by the Newcastle Cycling Campaign's Katja Leyendecker, who said the city centre is "a place for people", and that it was "high time we got serious about this."

"It is Newcastle City Council's duty as the local highway authority to ensure vulnerable road users are safe," she said. "A safety campaign with more warm words and some checking of traffic lights is simply not enough.

"We need better road design, more pedestrianisation, further speed reduction - putting people first.

"Pedestrians are not well cared for in the city centre.

"They are lured on to the safe space that's Northumberland Street, but then left totally abandoned at Barras Bridge and Pilgrim Street, as well as Percy Street. And Market Street is like running a gauntlet with buses - and you can guess who 'wins'.

"We have it on good authority that many cyclists avoid the city centre altogether - which is a shame as it is otherwise such a successful place. …

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