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Cycling: Tynemouth to Whitley Bay pop-up lane to be scrapped

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image captionWhile the cycle route proved popular, a turn in the weather has seen a low of 150 trips per day

A controversial pop-up cycle lane that turned a major coastal route into a one-way traffic system to allow for social distancing is to be scrapped.

The road between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay underwent changes over the summer due to coronavirus, to create more space for cyclists and walkers.

While the idea proved popular, it also created traffic congestion and "rat-runs" in nearby areas.

North Tyneside Council said it would reopen to traffic after half term.

Initially up to 1,500 daily cycling trips were recorded but as the weather has turned, this has reduced to 150 on some days

'A disgrace'

A group of local doctors and health professionals have written to the local authority calling for a rethink, citing the lane's ability to help tackle obesity, poor air quality and climate change, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Removing it would be a "disgrace", said Dr Sian Williams, a GP who lives in Whitley Bay.

"I live right by the cycleway and have seen for myself the increased numbers of all kinds of cyclists and the massive benefits for pedestrians too, with calmer traffic along the very popular stretch of sea front," she added.

The council said current weekend usage was down 64% on the opening weekend in July and average weekly use had dropped by 43%.

image captionA group of local doctors is calling for the cycle path to stay, saying it is helping to tackle obesity and air pollution

Carl Johnson, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "It has been a case of balancing the needs of everyone but ultimately the safety of our residents has been at the forefront of our thinking and our number one priority all along."

The council is seeking funding for a permanent coastal cycle lane, while maintaining a two-way route along the seafront.

Other temporary traffic measures brought in at the same time as the cycle lane across the borough will also be removed.

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Related Topics

  • BBC Monitoring
  • North Tyneside Council
  • Cycling
  • Whitley Bay
  • Tynemouth

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