The Transport Group meets at 5pm on the first Tuesday of each month to comment on current transport issues and develop a vision for the future of transport in Ouseburn.  Anyone interested is welcome to attend - please do ask to be put on the meeting list so you receive the agenda and any change to date/time or venue.

Regular items discussed at each Transport Working Group include:

  • Progress on the street audit
  • Progress on transport improvements
  • Transport Strategy and Conservation Area Management Plan
  • Parking Management
  • Developing Community Engagement – what and when

We welcome people from a range of backgrounds - residents, businesses, venues and visitor attractions. The aim is to think big about how we wanted transport to work in the Valley, with a view to developing a strategy that we could collaborate with the Council and other key stakeholders on to deliver.

We are interested in how people get to and around Ouseburn, and how we can improve the current experience. We agreed to develop a Transport Strategy for the area, which captures some key aims such as

  • Improved public transport connections
  • Better and safer pedestrian/cycle routes
  • Strategic parking provision

We want to have ambitious goals but also some easy wins that sit beneath them. We work with the Ouseburn Trust’s Planning and Development group on this, as it is closely connected to future development and changing uses in the area.

We are developing the principles around the Strategy at Transport Group meetings and are producing a draft. We expect to use map layers to visualise the changes that could be made over the short, medium and long term.

Each of us probably view Ouseburn a little differently – is it an urban village, a work place, a destination for day-time or night-time activities, a home? To help share thoughts on this we want to ask people to submit images of places they’ve been to or seen (modern and ancient) that reflect how they would like Ouseburn streets to look – contribute your proposal here.

We also discuss short term areas that need attention – we may be able to work with the Council to address these, so plan to come up with a list of proposals that we can take further.

We will also be discussing this work further with local Ward Members and Council officers, so that we are in touch with any existing/future Council plans.

If you’d like to add any key areas for consideration to the list above, if you have any big ideas about how transport could be improved in the Valley, or if you have any comments or queries, please get in touch or come along to the next Workshop.

Let us know if you are able to join us or would like to be kept informed.

Summary of the group's activity for the period April 2019 to March 2020

Liaison with the Council

  • Transport issues identified by the group are fed through to the Director of Place and relevant officers at regular meetings
  • The Transport Team’s Engagement Officer continues to attend and support our group meetings
  • The Council has produced a transport proposals plan based on our input – proposals will be consulted on in more details as resources become available
  • There has been a positive response to the idea of an Ouseburn Metro station as a long-term plan.
  • We submitted a response on the Council’s Air Quality consultation in June 2019.
  • We are hoping to make changes to streets to improve safety and support business recovery as part of the Council’s Covid-19 response plans.

Influencing infrastructure improvements

  • Biscuit Factory junction – progress has been delayed due to issues with the developer of the Portland Green site and wider discussions around the New Bridge Street Strategic Cycle Route, but some draft designs have been developed by the Council that we hope to feed into this year
  • Ouse Street/Lime Street junction – this has not progressed as yet but will be picked up through a comprehensive review of Lime Street
  • Byker Bridge/Byker Bank crossing points – there are limited resources to address this at present, but options will be identified and agreed in collaboration with Byker Community Trust and other stakeholders
  • Ouse Street – a scheme has been agreed for a one-way street (northbound) with cycle contra-flow, and on-street parking spaces. This will be implemented when the Lower Steenbergs Yard development is complete and is an investment of around £140,000.
  • Accessibility improvements - the works recommended as a result of our involvement with North East Disability Forum and Seven Stories in Summer 2018 were implemented by the Council in Autumn 2019, to a value of £30,000. Some final works to improve the wooden footbridge and the lane behind the Ship Inn will be completed in 2020
  • Signage – a budget of £15,000 has been agreed in principle to refresh signage across the Valley, however this is awaiting Council awaiting sign off. Work should be able to progress this financial year.
  • Car-parking – off-street car-parking on Stepney Road was completed by the Council in July 2019. We carried out a survey of Spillers Quay car-park in July 2019, which concluded that 80% of users were parking there to travel into the city centre. We are still trying to progress implementation of consistent parking management measures in the north and south of Ouseburn, but this has been held up due to a lack of resource at the Council. We have offered the time and support of the group to help with local consultation and communications.

Commenting on planning applications

  • We have submitted comments collectively with Planning and Development Group on the various planning applications submitted this year
  • If the World Wheel proposals go ahead, we plan to work closely with them to ensure that travel related obligations required through the planning process support the whole of the area.

Working with local groups

  • We met with the Shieldfield Dwellbeing project and ran a workshop to understand the transport issues in their area, and the connections to Ouseburn. We have agreed to share future plans and strategies
  • We are in contact with Byker Community Trust and will engage with their family and youth groups to develop proposals for improved crossing points on Byker Bank
  • We will aim to build connections with St Ann’s, Shields Road and Heaton groups in 2020/21.

Contributing to the Ouseburn Strategy

  • We have produced draft text for the transport section of the over-arching strategy, refined following public consultation events in October 2019, and we are working with the Chairs of the working groups to integrate this into the main document.

Previous work of this group has included DIY Streets - developing improvements for cyclists and pedestrians using funds from the Council’s Cycle City Ambition Programme and with support from sustainable transport charity Sustrans. It is now mostly complete but you can read about what was achieved here.