Monthly Archives: October 2014

DIY Streets October update – Stepney Bank one-way trial

The Council have now proposed dates for the Stepney Bank one-way trial – Friday 7th and Saturday 8th November 2014.

This will involve allowing downhill traffic only, but there will still be access to Stepney Road, Coquet Street and the car-park at the bottom of the bank from the Lime Street direction.

By just having one lane of traffic there will be space to show how we could create a more attractive entrance to the Valley outside the Tanners, how the footpaths could be widened to make it easier for people travelling down from public transport connections or nearby homes, and how parking spaces could be better spread out along the street.

Everything should be set up by 8am on Friday 7th, and will be taken down around 5pm on Saturday 8th. Ouseburn Futures, Sustrans and the Council will be around over the two days, probably at both the top and bottom of the bank, so please come and let us know what you think – this is just a trial, and we’re open to suggestions. Please get in touch too if you would like to be involved in helping organise the trial and gathering people’s views.

In terms of the ideas we tried out at the Ouseburn Festival these are still being worked up into detailed designs by the Council, but we hope to be able to report back more on these before the end of November. As a reminder, the plans are to:

  • Create a public space at the north end of Stepney Road, next to Ernest, so that it is safer for pedestrians to cross, and there’s less confusion for vehicles
  • Build a chicane mid-way along Stepney Road, to slow traffic down and give some extra footpath space
  • Improve the junction of Stepney Road and Stepney Bank to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles
  • Create raised tables on Lime Street by Seven Stories and on the corner with Stepney Bank, to slow traffic down and create a friendlier environment, particularly for families with children visiting local attractions
  • Improve footpath and road surfaces throughout the focus streets

Please contact Cath at if you have any comments or queries.

Byker Bank highway works

The Council has recently finished changes to the junction of Byker Bank, Ford Street and Foundry Lane.  Anyone who travels this way will know that it can be a fast, busy route, and the aim of the scheme was to reduce speeds, improve safety for traffic coming out of Ford Street and Foundry Lane, provide a safe crossing point for pedestrians and create some space for cycling.

Four way traffic lights have been put in place, including an advanced green light for cyclists crossing Ouseburn Bridge from the west – this gives people on bikes a head start if they’re turning right into Ford Street or heading up Byker Bank. There is also a Pelican crossing for pedestrians, and cycle lanes on Ousbeburn Bridge and both of the uphill sections on Byker Bank and Cut Bank, plus a 20mph speed limit .

We asked some people for their first impressions of the scheme:

So pleased to see a pedestrian crossing here at last, I’m amazed there haven’t been any serious accidents in the past, especially given all the lorries and vans moving around here…

There are queues right back to Cut Bank during rush hour, and I waited a long time to get into Lime Street – why is the second set of lights so far back?  It’s slowing traffic down too much, people are taking short cuts along Albion Row, Leighton Street and Ouse Street – surely that can’t be a good thing?

It can take a while to get out of Foundry Lane now, but at least  when you do you know you’ve got right of way. I travel across the junction to Ford Street, and I’ve done this by bike and by car now, and particularly by bike it feels a lot safer – it’s a bit of a hill start and used to be pretty risky given the width of the road and the speeds people were travelling at.

At rush hour this morning the traffic was backed up all the way across Ouseburn Bridge from Cut Bank, so when the lights turned green for people heading in the opposite direction they were cutting into the cycle lane, it was all a bit messy.

Crossing Byker Bank by bike every day is now much safer! Thank you.

What do you think? Email us with your thoughts or any comments you’d like us to feed back to the Council –