The election of the new Mayor of North Tyneside will take place on May 2nd 2013 has been seized upon by cycle advocates.
Three charities – Sustrans, Living Streets and Newcastle Cycling – are calling for the mayoral candidates to commit to creating safer streets and town centres in the area, creating a Better Streets Manifesto and urging cyclists and pedestrians to have a voice in the elections.
The charities have called mayoral candidates to:
• Reduce traffic speeds
• Boost town centres by making them safer, cleaner, and more attractive
• Provide direct, convenient and safe cycle-ways and better crossing points
• Provide well surfaced, unobstructed and drained pavements and cycle paths
• Provide more good quality public seating
• Improve public health by promoting walking and cycling
“Increasing walking and cycling levels is the answer to many problems in our community – it will turn the tide of rising levels of obesity, reduce traffic congestion and make our towns safer and more pleasant places to be," said Sustrans' North East director Bryn Dowson.
“The new North Tyneside Mayor must prioritise the needs of cyclists and pedestrians and commit to making our streets safer and more appealing as a first priority.”
Chair of Tyneside Living Streets Colin Green added: “I hope that the Mayoral Candidates will react positively to this opportunity to take measures to improve the economy of town centres and public health. A strategy of trying to compete with out-of-town shopping centres will continue the slow decline of the town centres in North Tyneside.
“It is time to capitalise on local distinctiveness such as the coastal location and heritage of centres such as Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, and Wallsend.”
Dorothy Craw, a committee member of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, commented: "We want to see the next Mayor improve safety for walkers and cyclists by revitalising streets and town centres in North Tyneside and are urging the Mayoral Candidates to make a pledge to use their term of office for this purpose.
“The increase in house building in North Tyneside could create bottlenecks of motorised traffic unless better walking and cycle routes are created, giving North Tyneside residents access to safer, cheaper and healthier ways to travel to work and school.”