National Walking Month – May 2017

The month of May is Living Streets National Walking Month and with your help we want to build a map of all the different ways in which the streets of Gosforth could be made better for walking.

We’ve included some examples and ideas below. If you know of somewhere in or around Gosforth that could be improved for walking please add it via the comments section and tell us where it is, what the issue is and/or any suggested solutions. We will add your ideas to our interactive map over the course of the month.

There are a number of ways in which streets can be made better for walking. For example:

  • By making it easier to cross busy roads or other ‘barriers’ to walking such as railway lines or rivers.
  • Local improvements focused on areas where lots of people walk e.g. around schools or shops or where people work.
  • Changes that help children, older people or people with disabilities.
  • Reducing traffic speeds – e.g. by having narrower traffic lanes and/or tighter corners – or reducing traffic volumes.
Picture showing roads as deep canyons with planks placed across them as makeshift bridges.

Barriers to walking

In recent posts we’ve written about improving the High Street for pedestrians, issues faced by the visually impaired and a plan for a more accessible crossing on the Great North Road, and there are plenty more places to look for inspiration.

Living Streets have written a document Creating Walking Cities – A Blueprint for Change that says we should design ‘healthy streets; that are accessible and inviting to everyone, including disabled and older people, so everyone can enjoy walking and spending time there’.

Transport for London in their Healthy Streets Guide include the following indicators for ‘healthy streets’ including being easy to cross, having shade and shelter, places to stop and rest and where people feel safe and relaxed.

The Local cycling and walking infrastructure plans technical guidance and tools released alongside the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy on 21 April also contains a long list of ideas for improving streets for walking, including how to determine and assess a walking network. The technical guidance says that walking routes should be attractive, comfortable, direct safe and coherent.

The ‘Who is the pedestrian?’ diagram at the top of this post was taken from an illustrated Charter of Pedestrian Rights drawn by Edgarseis, an illustrator and designer for sustainability, political participation, community-building, urban transport, and related projects.

The Charter sets out that as pedestrians we should have the right to:

  • Cross the street calmly and safely
  • A city that fits my needs
  • Adequate public transportation services
  • Organised urban centres
  • Socialize in public spaces
  • Play in the streets
  • Suitable street furniture
  • Spacious sidewalks
  • A health environment and enjoyment of the space
  • Walk calmly on the streets

Wider Benefits

Walking isn’t just good for your health. Living Streets have published research on the Pedestrian Pound that found that ‘Investing in better streets and spaces for walking can provide a competitive return compared to other transport projects; walking and cycling projects can increase retails sales by 30%.’ and that ‘Many car journeys are short and as the volume of goods purchased is small, these trips could be made on foot.’

It is also more than just being about transport. Wikipedia defines ‘placemaking‘ as creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and well being. The Project for Public Spaces says ‘Great public spaces are those places where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges occur, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, schools – where we interact with each other and government. When theses spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives.’  They also have lots of advice for what makes great public space.

Your ideas

Please use the comments section below to tell us your ideas for how we can make Gosforth’s streets better for walking. Please try to be as specific as possible. E.g.

  • What improvement is needed? E.g. slower traffic or safer crossings
  • Where specifically is this needed? E.g. outside a school, or on a particular street
  • If you have an idea for how the improvement might be achieved e.g. a zebra crossing or tactile paving.

You can also rate your walk on the Living Streets Website to help them build a national picture and potentially win a family city break.

43 thoughts on “National Walking Month – May 2017

  1. Emily

    The back lane next to Archibald Street school, has only one usable pavement due to the bins being left out on the other one. This makes it particularly difficult at the beginning and end of the school day when there are pedestrians and children on scooters/bikes going in both directions who all want to use the one narrow pavement. It would be unlikely to manage to get all the skips/bins removed, so one way to improve it could be to make the lane access only during the hours of e.g. 8.15-9.15am and 2.45-3.45.

  2. Emily

    The zebra crossing on Salters Road needs some enforcement action-a car sped past me whilst I was pushing my baby in buggy and only narrowly missed me (I was half way across).

  3. Phil Lord

    The whole Western part of Salters Road is terrible for pedestrians. It’s hard to cross, with a very wide road, and very wide side road junctions also. There are pedestrian islands which do help a bit and make it possible, but these are not comfortable places to be with fast cars rushing passed at regular intervals. This is especially true having seen the island near the old hospital sit getting trashed last year in a crash.

  4. Phil Lord

    The Salters Road, Kenton Road Roundabout is also nasty for pedestrians. There is often a constant stream of traffic coming, from several directions. This means as well as looking left and right, you have to look behind you in case someone is turning the corner.

    This is the pedestrian route to two shops and a number of schools, and in addition the only way across the very wide Kenton Road to to the south, until you get to the Kenton Road/Elmfield roundabout, which is equally awful.

  5. Guy Harvey

    Please can we do something about Salter’s Road from the GNR to the post office?

    The pavement is so narrow walkers have to go in single file while there are three lanes of cars.

    It’s a very narrow road. Can it be made one way?

    1. Jo Smith

      Agree with this – I regularly push a buggy along here and struggle if I meet anyone. Can be a struggle to cross safely without a detour as well

  6. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Use the centre of the Regent Centre roundabout as a public space e.g. with play equipment or benches for people to sit or eat their lunch on.

    This space can be made even bigger if the north / west sides of the roundabout were to be converted into roads with 2-way traffic. This would mean the current road SE of the island could be grassed over to link up with the pavement by Gosforth Pool.

  7. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Make the Metro footbridge by Hunters Court more accessible (currently it has very steep steps) and provide a walking link into the industrial estate between the Metro lines from the bridge.

  8. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Provide access to St. Nicholas playing fields from opposite Brackenfield Road. This would also help create a pedestrian route through Baronswood onto Jubilee Road avoiding Salters Road.

  9. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Disappearing pavement & no dropped kerbs at corner of Emblehope Drive at the end of the path to the south of St. Nicholas hospital.

  10. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Pavement parking on the east side of the Great North Road south of Broadway roundabout.

  11. Alistair Ford

    Whilst safe crossings along the High Street are important, I think it’s also important to think about safe crossings on our residential streets. Many streets have junctions with back lanes or other streets where traffic speeds can be high. I often hear parents shouting at their children to stop when crossing a back lane. Raised crossings here, making sure that cars emerging at junctions have to do so slowly and considerately, would make a big difference to how safe people are when walking around the residential area.

  12. Sarah Macrae

    Speeding traffic on Elmfield Rd. Also, trying to cross the intersection at Parker Ave, Elmfield Rd and Westfield Drive – particularly in the morning- is awful. The dropped kerbs essentially lead you into the middle of the road, which mixed in with the cars that are usually speeding, means it is tricky to get across. We should be encouraging our children to walk to school by themselves as they get older but I’ve seen some near misses, where the child (middle school age) hasn’t actually even realised that they were almost hit!

  13. Guy

    Walking around Gosforth is much nicer if you can get away from the pollution and noise of the main roads.

    I find the worst place is around the regents centre. You are either forced to walk on the pavement by the road or through the bus/metro station. It’s really awkward getting over the bus station to the Gosforth Theatre. This could be made more pedestrian friendly.

  14. Guy

    The pavements around the entrance to the Regent metro are often slippy. Especially around the car ramps coming down from the upper floors of the car park. We find we often have to walk on the road as it’s flatter.

  15. Guy

    Does this consultation extend to jesmond?

    Walking South from the RGS/Jesmond Metro there is a pedestrian underpass that looks like the entrance to the Gates of Hades. Very uninviting. Could do with being tidied, painted and lit properly if it’s to remain.

  16. Guy

    There is a lot of drivers who don’t like the positioning of the North/South crossings on the Broadway roundabout.

    I would like to say that I am OPPOSED to these crossings being moved further away from the junction. This is because walkers will still want to cross near the roundabout as it’s the most direct route and this would end up being MORE dangerous as the traffic will not be expecting it and will be going faster at that point.

  17. Guy Harvey

    How about turning the Regent C car park into a Park and Stride? A short, pleasant (if you take the back streets) and healthy walk into Gosforth High Street.

  18. Paul Bennison

    Some largely general points which are applicable across Newcastle and therefore so common they are impossible to list individually:

    – Remove advertising boards from any bollards alongside footways
    – Remove bollards from GHS after the implementation of 20mph zone
    – Get utility companies to improve their pavement repair standards or fine them/or charge them a bigger initial fee
    – Mark areas of non-designated shared surface with some sort of ground line marking, possibly alongside the kerb, so both pedestrians and cyclists know. This would also mean that where the line doesn’t exist there shouldn’t be any cyclists
    – ticket vehicles fully parked on pavements regardless of the passing space left
    – Increase the timespan of all pedestrian crossings so everyone can get across safely
    – In order to create and maintain healthy streets, ensure that street trees in private developments are cared for and exist after the defects/maintenance period, which should also be extended to 10 years
    – In order to create and maintain healthy streets, map all street trees across Newcastle and ensure all trees are replaced within the street scene once the original trees are cut down
    – Ensure that all pedestrian crossings at junctions have either dropped kerbs or raised platforms
    – If it’s a good and sensible idea to restrict parking at road junctions around schools (eg Hall’s Estate) to make pedestrian crossing safer for children and their careers, why can’t the same thing be done in all residential estates (where they live)

    Finally it is good to see a local group promoting and pushing issues with regards walking. Walking doesn’t tend to attract a specific budget yet 99% of us all use the footpath/way. what a shame the city council appear to do virtually nothing to promote either the ‘Walking Month’ or the ‘Walk to School’ week.

  19. Andrew Lambert

    Gosforth High Street would be a much more pleasant environment to walk along if the amount of heavy traffic were reduced. The noise and smell generated of the sheer number of busses (and HGVs) that use that route from the A1 into town make the whole experience very unpleasant and intimidating. We should look at ways of diverting busses which don’t serve High Street to more appropriate A roads or terminate at Regent Centre Metro and also encourage alternative fuels such as Hydrogen or Hybrid.

  20. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Conerns shared via email about traffic in the back lane between Beatty Avenue and Honister Avenue.

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