Colourful cubes painted by four local artists have appeared on Lime Street in Ouseburn to help slow traffic and encourage a lively café and street culture as part of community redesign work led by the charity Sustrans in collaboration with Ouseburn Valley volunteers and Newcastle City Council. The new-look bollards feature dragonflies, bees, balloons and desert storms.

Local artists Hannah Scully, Luke Sellers, Danny McConway and Ernie Paxton came up with design ideas which were selected by local people.  They have transformed the grey bollards into colourful features that create a sense of place, provide a visual traffic calming measure, and also act as useful seating at the foot of steep Stepney Bank.

The painting is the final stage of a three-year Ouseburn DIY streets project which included widening of the pavements at Tanners Arms pub and Ernest independent café to create areas for sitting including planters and trees, as well as a speed table to slow traffic.

Sustrans worked with local community volunteers to try out solutions and designs in the Ouseburn area which encourage people to walk and cycle, with the aim of creating a healthy, ‘liveable’ street.

Sustrans Project Coordinator Tim Pheby said: “Ouseburn has undergone major regeneration in recent years and the roads which were once designed for goods vehicles are increasingly places where people want to walk and cycle.

“New uses for industrial buildings and areas include an urban farm, art gallery, pubs and bars, Seven Stories national centre for children’s books, a bike shop and a microbrewery. We worked with the local community to help redesign the roads to reflect these new changes and create a more people-centred area conducive for walking and cycling.”

Cath Scaife, a volunteer involved in the Project Team said: “There has been lots of really positive local input into the scheme, and the finished product has some real high spots: The colourful, sociable spaces outside the Tanners Arms and Ernest that used to just be big expanses of tarmac and a simple change in priority on Stepney Bank which means you don’t have to stop halfway up the steep hill if you’re on a bike. There are wider, safer footpaths coming down from the bus-stops on New Bridge Street, and of course our new brazen bollards!”

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, Cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, said: “This project shows how small changes in local areas can make a big difference for the people who live and work there.

“The main aim has been about creating safe and healthy streets, where people feel able to walk, cycle and enjoy their local neighbourhood.

“This is a great example of how, by working together with local people, we can achieve that aim and improve local areas for the wider community.

“Hopefully the success of this project will continue with our Streets for People programme, in which we are working with residents in other parts of the city to develop similar improvements in their neighbourhoods.”

Ouseburn DIY streets Project is part of Sustrans Creating Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. It has been a collaboration between local residents, businesses and voluntary organisations, and was delivered in conjunction with Newcastle City Council, using funding from the Cycle City Ambition Fund.

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