SPACE for Durham has developed from a previous campaign called Trust Pathways which was set up to commemorate the memory of Dr Graham Dietz (Durham University Business School). At that time our campaign focus was the creation of a fully integrated cycle path network across Durham City to encourage more people to cycle everyday journeys in safety. Graham’s academic speciality was the study of the role of trust in business and employer relationships. Just as trust is needed for enterprises to flourish, people need to be able to trust that the cycle network will be well-designed throughout and get them to their destination safely. Without this trust, cycling cannot flourish as a means of transport.

The biggest challenges to providing a cycle network are in the urban environment, and sadly the solutions adopted by many councils have put cyclists in conflict with pedestrians by creating “shared use” routes which are often too narrow for comfort. We thus came to realise that space for cycling cannot be achieved without also defending and improving space for walking. All of us are pedestrians, whether we walk, cycle, use public transport or drive. Taking the cue from similar groups in Newcastle, we have now reformed as SPACE for Durham, working for a Safe Pedestrian and Cycling Environment.

Trust Pathways successes

After initial meetings with council officers in the autumn of 2015, Trust Pathways members were invited to take part in the stakeholder consultation for the Durham City Sustainable Transport Strategy. In the December of that year we met with council and university officers to walk the route from Elvet Bridge to Howlands and identify how space for cycling could be achieved on this route. Although progress soon stalled, in 2020 the university opened a new off-road cycling and walking path parallel to South Road, and the rest of the route has been identified as a priority for investment in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastruture Plan, adopted by the County Council in October 2021.

Dr Graham Dietz

Picture of Dr Graham Dietz

Graham Dietz was a highly talented teacher and researcher at Durham University Business School. He died a few days before Christmas in 2014, following a heart attack. Only a month before he had been involved in a serious accident while riding his bike in Durham City. He and a friend from the Business School, Dr Karen Elliott, started talking about improving conditions for cycling in Durham. Following his death so soon afterwards Karen determined to launch a petition, calling on Durham County Council to collaborate in achieving the vision for safe cycling throughout the city and beyond. The petition achieved over 1400 signatures, and the Trust Pathways concept blossomed into a campaign.

Some of Graham’s work on trust in business and society: