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DIY Streets – May 2016 update

The technical proposals have been officially signed off!!

Now we just need to review the budget and agree the design details that will add character to the basic highways works. As previously discussed with the Council we’re hoping these will include:

  • Use of two colours of tarmac to define the footpath and the more general public space outside Ernest and the Tanners
  • A bench or two, cycle parking, bins and planters (which we’re hoping to be able to paint), outside Ernest and the Tanners, and at other locations on our focus streets
  • Street trees where possible to green and soften things up
  • Leaf and butterfly patterns painted under the bridge arch on Stepney Road to signpost the entrance to City Stadium and the woodland paths, and to brighten up this dull area
  • Round bollards on the widened pavement at the Stepney Bank/Lime Street corner – we will work with local organisations and artists to design and paint these, and they could be refreshed each year
  • A bridge motif across the surface of the Stepney Bank/Lime Street corner raised table – we can’t use bright colours here like we did at the Festival trial but we’ll work with the available materials to create something distinctive here in the heart of the Valley

The project will then move on to the ACTUAL DELIVERY STAGE!! This could be from June onwards and will be done in stages – Ouseburn Futures will aim to work with the Council to keep you updated about what will be happening when, as obviously there will be some disruption, but we’re hoping that the creation of safer, more attractive streets will make it all worthwhile.

DIY Streets – February 2016 update

The Council started the formal public consultation period for the Ouseburn DIY Streets project on 1 February 2016 – notices are now displayed on lampposts around the area and the plans are available to view at the Civic Centre. The notices state that:

If you wish to object, or make other representations about the proposed Orders or any of their provisions, you should send your objection or representation by 22 February 2016 quoting reference GH/P50/1045 to Newcastle Parking Services, PO BOX 2BL, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2BL, or by email to traffic.notices@newcastle.gov.uk. Any objections or representation MUST be made in writing and where an objection is made, it must state the grounds of the objection.

After the 22 February, the Council will look to resolve any issues raised. If there are significant objections the plans may need to go to a Regulatory Appeals Sub Committee where a view will be taken by the Council on how to proceed – this could take a further 1-2 months.

The project will then move on to the ACTUAL DELIVERY STAGE!! So depending on how the consultation period goes, this could be late March, or more likely April/May 2016.

Alongside the physical works we’ve agreed with the Council some ways to introduce colour and design into the proposals:

  • As trialled at the Ouseburn Festival, we can stencil butterfly and leaf shapes on the footpath under the rail bridge, at the entrance to City Stadium, to brighten this area up. Ouseburn Futures will take responsibility for refreshing or updating these in future years.
  • We will create a silhouette of the bridge arches on the raised table at Lime Street/Stepney Bank corner – we can’t use bright colours here as we did at the street trial, but we’ll use basic materials to create a more interesting surface.
  • There will be some spherical bollards on the widened pavement on the corner of Lime Street/Stepney Bank, which can be painted – we will work with local organisations to design these, and they could be refreshed on an annual basis.
  • We will be including street trees into the proposals where possible, and planters where either venues or Ouseburn Futures are able to take care of them.
  • The public spaces next to the Tanners and Ernest will have a bench or two for general public use, bike parking and planters. Both venues are happy to look after the planters, and may apply for pavement licences to use some of the space for their own activities, whilst maintaining a clear pedestrian route.
  • If there’s enough budget we’re also hoping to hoping to refresh some of the information boards that are around the Valley, where venues have changed or the boards have suffered from graffiti.

DIY Streets update – January 2016

In October 2015 the Council finalised the technical designs for our DIY Streets proposals and sent them out to the emergency services, Ward Councillors, public transport operators and special interest groups, plus businesses and residents on the streets affected by the plans. Some queries were raised at this point, which the Council have followed up.

We are now waiting for the Council to start the formal public consultation period, where notices will be put up on the streets and in the press, and there is a period of 21 days when the general public can submit their views. The Council will aim to resolve any issues that are raised as a result of this, and if there are significant objections it will be taken to a Council Sub-Committee who will decide how to proceed.

It might take another 2-3 months to go through this process, and all we can do is keep asking the Council to start the consultation as soon as possible. If the plans are approved, then delivery could begin in Spring 2016.

In the meantime we’re thinking about how to set out the public space outside Ernest and Tanners, as well as where we could put planters, street trees and bike parking, and where we could use colour on the road surfaces and footpaths. If you’d like to be involved in this piece of work please get in touch.

DIY Streets September 2015 update

Progress! The Council should soon be starting their official consultation on the DIY Streets proposals that have been developed with input from many of you over the past 18 months, to improve Lime Street, Stepney Bank and Stepney Road.

The first stage will be a Technical Consultation, when emergency services, Ward Councillors, public transport operators and special interest groups, as well direct neighbours of the proposals, will be given 21 days to give their comments on the plans.

The Council will aim to resolve any issues raised, then a Statutory Consultation period will begin, where notices will go up on the streets and in the press and there will be another period of 21 days when the general public can give their feedback.

Again the Council will address any issues, or if there are significant objections the scheme will go to a Council Sub-Committee which will decide how to proceed.

This process can take a bit of time, but should be complete by November/December this year, which would mean that work could start early in 2016.

While all this is going on we will be looking at how we can be creative with street furniture, planting and the footpath and road surfaces to make the streets more appealing – if you’d like to be involved in this please get in touch.

We’ll publish the final version of the proposals here as soon as the Statutory Consultation begins (potentially mid to late October).

 

 

DIY Streets – February 2015 update

We’re sorry to say that things are still a bit slow moving with our DIY Streets project – it will now probably be early March before we have the latest draft designs, which will be published on this website, displayed in Ouseburn Farm and opened up for comment.

We’re waiting on the Council for these designs, who as mentioned last time are busy with a number of other schemes across the city, but they have carried out technical surveys of the area now, so have got all the necessary information to hand.

In terms of Stepney Bank, the replies we’ve had have mostly been in favour of the two-way design, so this is the one we will develop. Thanks for all your comments.

As a reminder, the other changes people have asked for through the project are listed below. We won’t have enough money to do all of these so we’ll need to prioritise, but we have been asking the Council to include Ouseburn in future bids for funding in an attempt to cover everything.

  • Create a public space at the north end of Stepney Road, next to Ernest, so that pedestrians have a much safer way to cross, and to make an attractive entrance to the area
  • Create a build-out 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 (Stepney Road, Stepney Bank and Lime Street)

In the meantime we’re giving some thought to how to create a sense of having arrived somewhere different on the focus streets – where you can enjoy being on foot or bike, and slow down if you’re in a vehicle. The general look of a place can be a big help with this, and while the Council have a fairly limited range of materials they can use on the roads, we’re hoping to have some Ouseburn related shapes on the pavements, planted containers, colour on bollards and buildings and the like – please get in touch if you have any ideas about this, or would like to have something on or outside your building that you could help take care of.

Some other things you might be interested in…

North-South cycle route: The Council want to identify a preferred cycle route through the Valley between City Stadium to the north and Hadrian’s Way on the Quayside to the south. Really we want all of the roads in the area to feel safe enough to cycle along, but if we need to pick a route we’d suggest Portland Road South, Stepney Road, (option for an off-road short cut here down through the woodland paths), Stepney Bank, down past the Farm, over the wooden footbridge to Foundry Lane, across at the Byker Bank lights, along Ford Street or Hume Street depending on how things settle down with the Malings development, to Maling Street and out onto Quayside Road. If you have other ideas please let us know.

Car parking: The Council are in the process of carrying out a review of car-parking in the area, and some consultation will be starting soon. We’ll keep you posted.

 

DIY Streets – Stepney Bank January 2015 update

Following feedback from the street trial in November we’ve developed a second option for Stepney Bank, which keeps the two-way access.

The idea with the two-way design is to widen the footpath at the main pinch-points, create public space at the top of the bank and have identified parking bays to avoid cars bumping onto the pavement. This will involve some give-way sections which should help reduce vehicle speeds.

Both of the options are shown below – please let us have your thoughts on these by contacting Cath at diystreets@ouseburnfutures.org.uk

Stepney Bank Two Way

Stepney Bank One Way

 

DIY Streets – November update

The Stepney Bank street trial took place on the 7th and 8th of November. This involved allowing downhill traffic only and using the space this freed up to show how we could create a more attractive entrance to the Valley outside the Tanners, widen footpaths for people travelling by public transport and from nearby homes, and set out designated parking spaces along the street to meet business needs and avoid people parking on pavements.

It was a dull and wet couple of days which meant we couldn’t set things up in the same colourful way that we did for the Festival trial, but we did have lots of useful conversations with businesses, residents, people visiting the area and those just passing through.

We talked to around 40 people over the two days, and received over 80 responses to our online survey. There was a mix of views – the idea of widening the footpaths was popular with most people, closely followed by the creation of extra public space at the top of the bank, but there were concerns about the impact the one-way system might have on local businesses and residents, and how it might increase traffic cutting through Coquet Street and Stepney Road.

As a result we’re going to look at a second option, where we still try to improve pedestrian areas, make space for horses and cyclists and have designated car-parking along the street, but retain the two-way access for vehicles. We hope to be able to share this before Christmas and will ask people which option they prefer.

We’re also continuing to work with the Council on the designs that were trialled at the Ouseburn Festival this summer. We expect to have some final draft plans by the start of 2015, and we will be arranging some public events and emailing out information before the end of January. If we can agree the proposals they’ll move on to a technical design stage, and work could start in Summer 2015, to be complete by September 2015.

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 diystreets@ouseburnfutures.org.uk 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 – info@ouseburnfutures.org.uk