The ban on cars stopping in one of the busiest areas of Newcastle city center will be made permanent, in a bid to end the chaos of congestion around The Gate.
Transport bosses have struggled with problems on Newgate Street for years, where illegal taxi ranks next to bars and “indiscriminate parking” are said to have caused major problems for buses on a key public transport corridor.
After failing with an experiment to ban taxis completely from the street in 2018, Newcastle City Council last year launched an 18-month trial to turn it into a ‘red road’ – on which vehicles are only not allowed to stop.
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This change is now on the verge of becoming a permanent feature, after a “relatively small” number of drivers were caught breaking the rule.
A total of 79 fines were imposed on Newgate Street for people parking at bus stops or on double red lines between July 2020 and November, with council saying the restrictions “are serving their primary purpose of keeping the network moving. “.
The need to stop congestion on Newgate Street may become even greater in the years to come.
Council bosses plan to pedestrianize Blackett Street and divert services to a new bus loop around the city center, which could dramatically increase the number of vehicles having to pass past The Gate and back to Eldon Square.
Civic Center report says bus operators have regularly lodged complaints since The Gate complex opened about illegal taxi ranks, “unpredictable maneuvers” and pedestrian hazards in a busy area with bars , restaurants, a casino and a cinema.
Only two objections have been made to the red route since it went into effect, saying there was “no evidence to support that there was a problem” and that the 18-month trial should be considered invalid due to the impact of the pandemic on the downtown area.
The council responded that there was a “long history of conflict between licensed taxis and the private rental business and bus services on Newgate Street” and that, while Covid has left the city center closed for a long time part of the past 18 months, The Gate has been open steadily since July “and traffic ticket reports have declined significantly since that date.”
The report adds: “The red route at this location is to discourage the illegal filing of taxis at bus stops and in live traffic lanes along Newgate Street. This classification was considered to cause delays in bus services and is dangerous for pedestrians and other road users.
“The red route aims to improve the flow of traffic, the reliability of the bus service, road safety and the urban environment by prohibiting stopping for all vehicles except buses at bus stops. marked. “
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