Seafront Sustainable Route

What's happening

Construction work has started to create a permanent, segregated, two-way, safe space along the seafront between the North Shields Fish Quay and St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay for people using sustainable and active forms of travel. 

The scheme

Following the temporary pop-up scheme along the seafront implemented in 2020 as part of social distancing measures, which proved very popular while also presenting some challenges, we committed to seek future funding to deliver a revised, permanent scheme providing separate space for cyclists and other users of sustainable travel, while maintaining a two-way route along the seafront. 

The new proposals, backed by the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund (ATF), involve creating a permanent, segregated, unbroken two-way, safe space along the seafront. 

The proposals include improving safety along the road by introducing a 20mph limit and various traffic safety measures. Two-way traffic flow between Whitley Bay and Longsands Beach access ramp will be maintained. One way traffic northbound from Front Street, Tynemouth to Longsands beach access ramp will be in place permanently from early 2024. 

The council has worked closely with coastal emergency services to address and resolve some of the design elements that created challenges for search and rescue operations with the previous temporary scheme.

Funding will also come from the council and walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

What are the benefits?

It will be a major step forward for the Elected Mayor and Cabinet’s pledge to create a cleaner, greener borough as part of its declaration of a climate emergency.

Creating separate space for people of all ages to enjoy safely on forms of sustainable and active transport, such as bikes, skateboards and scooters, along North Tyneside’s beautiful coastline will further increase its appeal to visitors, supporting the local economy. 

The scheme seeks to address conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists on the shared footpath and between on-road cyclists and drivers along the seafront by creating a segregated safe space for all.

The proposals support the council’s commitment to encourage more people to take up active travel and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The scheme will make it easier for people to safely access popular attractions like St Mary’s Lighthouse, Spanish City and Tynemouth Priory as well as the award-winning beaches and open spaces and support local businesses as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Links to other parts of the borough

The new route will enhance the existing coastal section of the National Cycle Route 1 and will improve access from other parts of the borough.

It will serve local schools and places of work as well as linking into the new transport interchange planned for North Shields and pedestrianised parts of the town centre as part of the council’s ambitious regeneration plans.

Consultation

A six-week consultation took place between 13 September 2021 and 24 October 2021, the results of the consultation are posted below. 

 

 

Frequently asked questions

Yes. A two-way traffic route will be retained between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay to retain access to residential premises, visitor car parks and servicing for businesses.
It is an 8km route that will run along the seafront between St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, connecting to the existing segregated route at the Brierdene pub, and Front Street in Tynemouth, before connecting to North Shields Fish Quay and Northumberland Square, via a new route along Tynemouth Road and Tanners Bank.
Subject to funding, Phase 1 will begin in autumn 2023 and complete in early 2024, and all works are planned to be complete by Summer 2024.
Having now incorporated comments received during the consultation, we have increased the use of more sustainable surfacing materials and an expanded the scope of the scheme to include all coastal footpaths along the route. The total scheme cost is approximately £10m. This has included substantial inflationary cost increases to construction materials since the scheme was initially priced in 2021.
The scheme aims to make the seafront a more pleasant place to walk and cycle while retaining access for people visiting by car. The scheme improves access to the coast by all modes of sustainable travel by upgrading the crossing provision along the length of the coast. The scheme seeks to address conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists on the shared footpath and also conflicts between on-road cyclists and drivers along the seafront by creating segregated safe space for all. As well as cyclists, skateboards and scooters are welcome to use the new provision.
The proposals include many new locations for high-quality cycle storage in areas adjacent to local retail and popular visitor attractions, including Spanish City, Tynemouth Front Street and Longsands beach.
The current shared use path along the seafront will revert to a dedicated pedestrian footpath. Pedestrians will retain priority over all other route users when crossing to/from the Sea Front footpath. Additional benches and zebra crossings will further improve facilities for pedestrian users of the route.
Yes. In addition to traffic calming measures introduced in 2019 on the A193 The Links at Whitley Bay, a 20mph limit is also proposed for the whole stretch between Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, supported by traffic safety measures.
Where seafront residents do not have off-street parking available to them, the proposals include retaining on-street parking as existing.
Two-way vehicle movements will be retained along the road. The council has worked closely with coastal emergency services to address and resolve some of the design elements that created challenges for search and rescue operations with the previous pop-up scheme created in summer 2020. Statutory emergency services have been engaged and have not raised concerns. They will still be able to adequately gain access along the road. 
Yes. The new route will enhance the existing coastal section of the National Cycle Route 1 and will improve access from other parts of the borough. Links via South Parade, Whitley Bay, Beach Road, Tynemouth, and Tynemouth Road, North Shields, will improve access to the scheme from the west of the borough and link into previous and proposed cycling network improvements. The route will serve local schools and places of work as well as linking into the new transport interchange planned for North Shields and pedestrianised parts of the town centre as part of the council’s ambitious regeneration plans.
The proposals will allocate a section of the promenade adjacent to the highway, between Grant’s Clock at Central Lower Promenade and Spanish City, for cyclists. This will retain all of the existing high-quality surfacing previously installed. The route of the National Cycle Route (NCN1) past Spanish City will be modified to tie into the proposals to widen and segregate the existing path above the promenade to the north of the Spanish City.
The funding has been awarded from the Active Travel Fund which, as the name suggests, is ring-fenced to be spent on highway schemes that provide safe, segregated provision for walking and cycling. The scheme includes significant sections of highway resurfacing between Tynemouth and Longsands and incorporates upgraded surfacing to approximately 5km of coastal footpaths.
Around 2 million people visit our coast every year, which is far and away highest demand of any area in Borough. The coast is where the highest demand for active travel (walking and cycling) is. It will provide a continuous 8km route along the most visited part of the Borough. It will connect to schools, shops, attractions, and residential areas.
The new provision will be subject to the same road sweeping regime as the highway and footpaths along the coast.
Yes, Active Travel England have reviewed the outline designs and have responded positively to the quality and standard of provision and have acknowledged that the design meets the LTN 1/20 requirements throughout.
It is aimed predominantly at getting those currently unsure about cycling to start doing so, those lacking in confidence to increase the amount they cycle, and those already cycling on roads to use if more convenient. During the previous temporary cycle lane scheme 97% of cyclists used the new segregated provision, due to it retaining priority over all side roads, and removing conflicts with both vehicles and pedestrians through the provision of a separate segregated space. We anticipate the proposed permanent scheme would enjoy similar levels of use.
Once the outline designs have been approved by Active Travel England a detailed “designers' response” document will be published alongside the detailed consultation results, and finalised outline designs. This is anticipated to be in late spring this year.
Since the announcement of the funding, the wider economic situation has meant that all local authorities are facing significant increases in the cost of highway materials and construction. As the detailed design work for the scheme continues, the council is working with the grant funding provider to address these cost pressures.
All design, consultation and construction work is being funded from the Active Travel Fund award.

Photo gallery

How and when the works will be carried out?

The work will be carried out by the council’s strategic partner Capita.

The project will be split into two phases. Phase one is from Tynemouth Front Street to the Beach Road roundabout (next to the Tynemouth Castle Inn). It is due for completion in Spring 2024 and will involve:

  • a permanent safe two-way unbroken sustainable route for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • upgraded crossing points to improve pedestrian safety and access to the seafront;
  • a permanent northbound one-way system for motorists from Tynemouth Front Street to the Longsands beach access ramp opposite the Grand Hotel.

 

 

 

How you may be affected

From mid-November there will be a southbound road closure between Beach Road roundabout (next to the Tynemouth Castle Inn) and Tynemouth Front Street.

Due to the limited space available, cyclists will be required to dismount and walk on the footpath. Alternatively, cyclists can follow the diversion that will be in place for all road users via Beach Road – Broadway – A193 and vice versa.

Until early 2024, there will be a road closure on East Street, Tynemouth, from north of the junction with Middle Street (near The Gibraltar Rock pub) to just after the entrance to Percy Gardens. A diversion will be in place along the A193 - Percy Park Road. Access to Percy Gardens and The Gibraltar Rock will be maintained at all times - we will write to affected residents with further information.

Following this, a temporary northbound one-way system will be in place for road users from Tynemouth Front Street to the Beach Road roundabout until Spring 2024.

Please pay attention to the advance warning signs in the area for the exact start date of these works. Diversion routes will be clearly signposted.

More information

To receive regular project updates and advance notice of any works that may affect journeys, please sign up to our electronic bulletin service by filling out this form or telephone: (0191) 643 6500.

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