Walking and cycling


Following the Covid-19 outbreak government guidelines have been introduced requiring people to maintain social distancing.

Recently there has been a significant increase in cycling and people out walking in the borough.

All local authorities have been asked by government to make quick changes to ensure social distancing can be observed and people can walk or cycle safely.

As a result we are proposing to introduce the first of a number of quick and flexible changes to roads and paths to:

  • enable social distancing to be observed in areas of high footfall
  • support the recovery of the borough and safe reopening of businesses
  • support safe walking and cycling journeys as an alternative while public transport capacity is reduced

What are the measures?

The first stage of changes are:

  • Making the southbound section of the road along the coast between Whitley Bay and Tynemouth a two-way cycle route to allow the promenade and footpaths to be used solely by pedestrians. See this map for further details.

  • Creating more space for pedestrians along busy town centre streets to support local businesses and observe social distancing. 

  • Identifying ‘pop-up’ cycle routes to link the coastal strip plans to nearby town and district centres and to provide direct access to employment areas where public transport capacity is reduced.

See the Related Documents below for more information about how space will be reallocated in different areas.


When is this happening?

The first phase of schemes has been put in place from Wednesday 1 July and include:

  • Coastal strip cycle lane
  • Fish Quay pedestrian zone
  • Park View, Whitley Bay, pedestrian zone (Saturday only)
  • Tynemouth Front Street footpath widening

How we've kept residents and businesses informed

We have engaged directly with the following statutory consultees, including public transport providers and emergency services, as well as key stakeholders:

  • All three bus operators and Nexus
  • Police, fire and ambulance
  • RNLI and coastguard
  • All local Chambers of Trade - Whitley Bay, Wallsend, Tynemouth and North Shields. All Chambers have then circulated the information to their members.
  • Operators of local shopping centres
  • Hackney Carriage Association
  • Ward councillors for areas where schemes are being introduced
  • Port of Tyne
  • In response to anyone who has directly engaged with the council 
  • Sent letters to around 750 residents and businesses directly affected by the measures


Related Documents

See the documents below which show how the space will be reallocated in different areas.

Related documents

Image gallery


The first phase involves making the southbound carriageway of the road along the coast between Whitley Bay and Tynemouth (see map) a two-way cycle lane and providing space for social distancing outside shops and increased cycling and walking in town and district centres. Following this we will also be looking to install pop-up cycle lanes along routes where public transport demand was high but capacity is now lower
To support the recovery of the borough and help enable businesses to reopen safely and enable people to move around the borough on foot or by bike safely. We have identified areas in the borough where there is high footfall and space may be limited so we need to enable social distancing to be maintained. Creating larger outdoor spaces for people will help create confidence for them to return to our Town Centres and Coastal Strip and support the local economic recovery.
Government guidance requires that the changes need to happen within weeks of receipt of funding and be ready for when shops can reopen. The first phase of changes will be in place from Wednesday 1 July.
As these measures are flexible and temporary in nature and require rapid deployment, we will be using materials like cones, planters and barriers to reallocate the space in the short term. These materials will be upgraded in time to high quality appropriate temporary materials such as bolt-down islands and bollards, and along the Coastal Strip we will be segregating traffic from cyclists with wand orca’s like those already installed on Rake Lane.
Government has indicatively allocated our region £2.3 million for the first tranche of temporary schemes from the Emergency Active Travel Fund. This is expected to be followed up by a further allocation in tranche 2 for permanent schemes. Our initial proposals are estimated to cost around £500,000.
See the Related Documents section for maps showing where the space will be reallocated.
We have further plans to reallocate space in the borough and will communicate these when the time is right and engage fully with the public to develop these options.
Several bus routes will be locally diverted around the proposed pedestrian zones and along sections of the Coastal Strip. Travel advice will be provided in advance of these diversions taking place and Nexus will be updating information at stops and online
Each of the pedestrian zones will retain servicing access at all times, however some of these will be limited to a single direction of travel to limit the space required for loading and to maximise the additional space for shoppers. Businesses are being asked to direct deliveries to rear lanes/servicing areas where practicable to minimise vehicle movements in the pedestrian zones.
A short section of the Coastal Strip (Promontory Terrace) will require onstreet residential parking provision to be temporarily reallocated nearby. Within each of the pedestrian zones all on-street parking will be suspended as access will no longer be permissible. Where practicable, additional temporary parking provisions will be made to minimise the loss of spaces in a Town Centre. Further details around access to existing and additional parking areas will be provided for each Town Centre.
You can leave feedback about the coastal strip cycle lane via Sustran’s interactive Space to Move tool. You can also make comments or objections in writing within six months from the date the order under which the proposals are being made comes into force (Tuesday 30 June) by emailing traffic@northtyneside.gov.uk . These will be considered before any final decisions are made.
The cycle lane is temporary and will remain as long as it is required to achieve social-distancing, in line with Government guidelines. The upgraded equipment (bollards, islands and orcas) can be easily and quickly removed and used elsewhere if needed. The barriers which were in place before the upgraded equipment will be used for other projects around the borough.

Fish Quay Pedestrian Zone

How the Fish Quay Pedestrian Zone works and who is allowed to enter:

  • Pedestrians and cyclists have priority over ALL motor vehicles within the Pedestrian Zone.
  • Vehicles which are permitted to enter the Pedestrian Zone should do so at very slow speeds (5mph), well below the 20mph speed limit.
  • Blue Badge holders can enter the Pedestrian Zone to park adjacent the Fish Quay or within the designated disabled bays.
  • Taxis can only enter the Pedestrian Zone to pick-up/drop off a fare. A new Taxi Rank has been placed on Union Road for Hackney Carriages to use also.
  • The 333 Bus will continue to run through the Pedestrian Zone


Hear from Cllr Carl Johnson, Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, on why the measures are needed.