Transport and Highways Group

In the group we look at a wide range of transport issues as they affect older people. We continually look at issues such as the cost of concessionary travel, the quality of bus services and travel safety.

We work closely with Nexus, the City Council, the Universities and with the local bus operators such as Stagecoach.

In addition, we are consulted on transport initiatives, both National and Regional. We also nominate representatives to the Tyne and Wear Older Peoples' Transport Forum.

We meet monthly and any member of The Elders Council is welcome to join the Group.

To find out more email [email protected] call 208 2701.


September/October 2015 Update

Pedestrian Crossings are a source of concern to many of our members and at the last meeting of the Transport Group two Traffic Signals Engineers from Newcastle City Council joined us and explained about the sort of pedestrian crossings we have in Newcastle.

There are six types of crossing in operation at the moment:

Junction:  a junction is a location where vehicles on conflicting approaches are controlled by traffic signals.

Detectors at the junction help the signals respond to the changing flow of traffic throughout the day.

Pelican:  The name pelican is made up of the beginning letters from 'Pedestrian Light Controlled', with the 'o' changed to an 'a' so it has the same spelling as the bird. The use of animal symbols began in 1951 with the introduction of 'zebra' crossings. The pelican is the old fashioned pedestrian crossing facility which includes the flashing amber and flashing green man and these are likely to be phased out in the future.

At the pelican crossing the traffic lights instruct the traffic when to stop and pedestrians when to cross.

Puffin (Pedestrian User-Friendly Intelligent Crossing):  The puffin pedestrian crossing facility is gradually replacing pelican crossings. This type of crossing is designed to be 'user friendly' and safer than the old pelican by eliminating the 'flashing amber' period thereby removing the ambiguity from drivers and pedestrians by varying the length of crossing time to suit high or low volumes of pedestrians or slow moving pedestrians.

To drivers, the puffin appears similar to normal traffic signals; it changes from green to amber then to red and eventually to red/amber and finally back to green. For pedestrians, the green man appears for a few seconds but as pedestrians step onto the road, overhead infra red or video imaging cameras control the length of time available to pedestrians.

An additional overhead detector monitors waiting pedestrians, if a pedestrian decides not to cross and walks away, the demand will automatically be cancelled. This makes the puffin more efficient for traffic and for pedestrians.

Toucan (Two-Can Cross):  A toucan crossing caters for cyclists as well as pedestrians.

The only obvious difference between this type of crossing and a puffin is the width of the crossing.

The crossing is wide to cater for cycles and has an additional green cycle optic on the signals next to the green man.

Pegasus:  A pegasus is a pedestrian and horse crossing facility which has taller poles and extra push button boxes mounted high on the pole for horse riders.

Wig-Wag:  A wig-wag is a vehicle or railway crossing control system. Identified by the single amber and two flashing red lights they can be found at level crossings and outside fire or ambulance stations.

As part of the Older Person Friendly City Working Group update on the City Centre, Bill Ions has conducted a review of some of the important pedestrian crossings in Newcastle. The results of the survey were presented to the meeting and identified two crossings which allow less than the minimum Government recommended walking time for pedestrians to cross.

Gallowgate - St Andrew’s Church to Barclays Bank

St Mary’s Place - St Thomas Church to Lloyds Bank

The engineers undertook to investigate these and, as a result, in the case of the former (Gallowgate), the pedestrian crossing time has been extended.

In the case of the latter, (St Mary’s Place) this will be changed during the current road improvement work.


Future Homes Project

Would you like to be part of an exciting project to design housing for people of all ages that will stand the test of time? We are looking for lively minded people aged 50+ to participate in workshops where you will work alongside architects and other experts to help design brand new demonstration housing. The plan is to locate the new housing next to Science Central.

This is a really ambitious project and the final designs will incorporate new ways of thinking about housing design; energy systems and technology.

The workshops will be informal. You don’t need to be a specialist! You DO need to have an enquiring mind and to be willing to talk and listen share your ideas.

Elders Council of Newcastle is privileged to be a partner in this ground breaking project. Future Homes Newcastle is a partnership of organisations who are leaders in their field. We have come together to test out new ideas which we believe will influence housing design worldwide.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join us on this unique and exciting journey. Places are limited and preference will be given to people who are able to attend the following workshop:

• Monday 25 September 2.00–4.30pm

The workshop will be held in a city centre venue. Transport can be provided if required.

To apply, please complete the attached application form (click here).

For further information contact [email protected] or call 0191 208 2701.

Awards for All - Creative Community Conversations on Ageing

Making our city a great place to grow old in

Over the last few years, the Elders Council has been working to create opportunities for older people to meet others and take part in interesting and sometimes challenging activities. The reason we have made this an important part of our work is because evidence shows that people who have strong networks of friends and family, and who take part in social activities, enjoy a happier and healthier older age.

Through our small grants programme, Staying Connected, we have supported over 40 groups to try out a new activity. We have held events where the groups that received the funding have come together to share what they have done. We have now published a report on our Staying Connected programme which tells the story of what we did and what we have learned along the way. The report is available - click here.

Reflecting on what we have learned from Bridging the Gaps, Staying Connected and the small research project we did on ‘Growing older in my home and neighbourhood’, we wanted to continue this work by having conversations with older people in different parts of the city. We applied to Awards for All (Big Lottery Fund) and were successful in receiving funding to enable us to host community conversations in five areas of the city.

It wasn't easy trying to decide which areas of the city to work in, but after weighing up a number of different factors, we selected the following areas: Cowgate, Kenton Bar, Montagu, Dinnington and Chapel House. We engaged with older people living in these areas in planning how and when we held the conversations.

To hear more about the conversations and our findings, please refer to the reports below:

Community Conversations in Newcastle

Community Conversations in Dinnington

We also commissioned an evaluation of this work, which was conducted by Moyra Riseborough, Consultant. Please refer to the report below:

Evaluating Creative Community Conversations

Everyone's Tomorrow, Today!

The Elders Council radio programme broadcast on 102.5fm
on the first Friday of every month from 2 to 4pm.

Our programme on Friday 3 February had as its theme the benefits of music for older people, both as participants and as listeners. First, talking together about participation are Ann Ridley and Ann Graham. Click here to hear what was said,

Next, Neville Harris came into the studio to read his poem Cause and effect.  Then Ann Ridley read her short story Play “Misty” for me.

Annette Hames, the manager of the Byker respite centre, came into the studio to talk with Ann Ridley about the benefits of music for those living with dementia.

Active Voices

The Elders Council, together with WEA, recently organised a six-week course about civic engagement called Active Voices and an Elders Council trustee was asked to take part. She reflects on her experience:

“I must admit that I didn't really have a clue as to what I was signing up for, but I am really glad I did. This was an amazing course which covered just about everything I needed to know in my role as a volunteer at various organisations (although I hadn't even realised it!).

“The sessions covered power (who has it, how to use it, etc.) and how to do research or complete a project – both subjects chosen by us, covered from planning to completion. There was even a session covering the press and media, very useful as in these days of austerity you never know when you might need to call on them with help to raise funds or advertise your event.

“The hope is that this course will roll out across the city (I know that there are already plans to hold one in Byker). So if you get the chance to go on one, please grab the opportunity – I can promise that you won't regret it.”

Note:  The Elders Council is planning to deliver more Active Voices courses in the next few months.  If you are interested in participating please email [email protected] .