RMS EIS BS

I’m all in favour of great works of fiction (I quite like Tolkien and Dickens), but I’m not so keen to see great works of fiction appearing in the planning documents for a major road project. As I look at the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), I see a lot of, shall we say, Bewildering Statements (BS).

When you look at the project and summarise the impact on cyclists, it is very clear that there is an overall degradation in cyclist and pedestrian facilities.

New pedestrian and cycleway bridge over Newcastle Road
Jesmond shared path removed and replaced with three sets of traffic crossings.
New shared path along Lookout Rd from Blackbutt Reserve to Ridgeway Rd
On the bypass cyclists get to use the breakdown lane to cycle alongside cars and trucks travelling at 100km/h, and navigate past the on and off ramps with no special provision.

But how does the EIS present it? Here’s all the references to cycling up to section 3 of the EIS …

Page 6 of overview document
page xii Pedestrian and cycling facilities, including a shared path bridge over Newcastle Road
page xv The project would include additional connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists by providing both onroad cycleways and shared paths, including a shared path bridge over Newcastle Road.
page xvii Additional off-road provisions for pedestrians and cyclists including a shared path bridge over Newcastle Road at Jesmond Park
page xviii What are the main beneficial outcomes expected?
Additional connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists by providing both on-road cycleways and shared paths, including a shared path bridge over Newcastle Road.
page xviii How will the likely impacts be managed?
Additional connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and recreational users of the bushland area.
Page 1 Pedestrian and cycling facilities, including a shared path bridge over Newcastle Road
page 15 The project would also provide additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, improve safety through the provision of traffic light controlled pedestrian crossings, new pedestrian footpaths, shared path bridges, and shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
page 18 The project would also contribute towards creating a
connected network of off-road paths in Newcastle for use by pedestrians and cyclists.
page 19 The project would also support other directions in the plan by reducing congestion, improving road safety and providing additional pedestrian and cyclist facilities.
page 19 The project would facilitate cycling by providing additional pedestrian and cyclist facilities as outlined in Section 5.3.14.
Page 20 The project would include additional off-road facilities, the on-road route on the bypass, as well as cater for the potential
future routes in planned by Newcastle City Council (Section 5.3.14).
Page 20 The project also includes provision of on-road and off-road cyclist and pedestrian routes.
Page 20 The project would support the strategy by providing a safer and more efficient route for private, commercial and freight transport, and ensuring connectivity of cycle and pedestrian networks.

That last reference is particularly galling … they plan to sever the main east west cycleway and yet claim they are “ensuring connectivity of cycle and pedestrian networks”!

It doesn’t matter how many times you cut and paste the small bit of good news, it doesn’t cancel out the bad news, or alter the reality that this project as it currently stands is a bad outcome for cyclists and pedestrians.

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