Catholic Church junction changes do not go nearly far enough

Cambridgeshire County Council has recently consulted on changes to the Catholic Church junction to renew the signals at the junction of Lensfield Road and Hills Road. As part of the changes, traffic engineers have endeavoured to make some (limited) improvements to the junction for those walking and cycling.

On Tuesday, Cambridgeshire’s Cabinet approved the scheme unchanged. This is the first traffic scheme to be determined in this way, following the scrapping of the Area Joint Committee, whose Councillors were all from wards within Cambridge.

The changes are an improvement but do not go nearly far enough – it will remain a hazardous, traffic-dominated, blackspot putting people off cycling. A ‘cycling city’ surely deserves better. People cycling will remain merely squeezed between hostile traffic, despite the very large numbers of people cycling through the junction and its very high collision rate.

Our consultation response proposed seven changes to the design. Only one has been taken forward, namely the suggestion that the County Council join with Transport for London in applying for a trial of ‘advance green lights’ at this junction to enable cyclists to move off slightly earlier than other traffic.

The main cycle flow at the junction is on the Hills Road arm, where a cycle lane will be installed as a result of simply moving the central island. This is a welcome improvement. But the other lanes will see cyclists squeezed in amongst traffic.

Chair of Cambridge Cycling Campaign, Martin Lucas-Smith, said:

“This scheme is a classic test of whether the County Council really cares about cycle safety and convenience. At present, stuffing ever-more traffic through this accident-prone junction clearly remains the priority. We think this is totally inappropriate for a ‘cycling city’, and against its own policy to favour cycling and walking. The scheme is better than the current junction design, but it would be hard to make it otherwise. It will slightly improve things for those cycling towards the junction from Hills Road.”

The scheme is being part-funded by the Department for Transport as a cycle safety scheme. However, this remains fundamentally a scheme to renew the signals while making minor improvements for cycling only where these can be squeezed in.

David Earl, Committee member, added:

“We urge the Council to instruct its engineers to design a second stage of changes for the junction which implement the principle of proper cycle priority lanes on all approaches. Our vision for this and other junctions in Cambridge is one where people actively see cycling as the best way to get about, thus reducing traffic.”


  1. Collision data for the junction can be viewed at By drawing out the area of the junction, a full collision report can be created, as follows:
  2. Our original consultation response gives full details of our position on this scheme.
  3. We have obtained a copy of the missing document: "Summary of Public Consultation Responses"