City Deal Urban and Environmental Design Guidance fails to meet best practice

We've submitted a Freedom of Information request on the proposed City Deal Urban and Environmental Design Guidance.

In our view the proposed guidance is of poor quality and should be withdrawn from consideration.

We are keen to understand what process has gone wrong in its production.

For instance, the front cover depicts:

  • a cyclist using the pavement
  • a poor-quality shared use cycle path,
  • cars parked on the pavement,
  • a cycle lane next to a dooring zone,
  • bicycles parked informally blocking the pavement due to the absence of cycle parking,
  • ugly guard railing, and
  • in general a poor quality urban realm.

What kind of vision is this for the City Deal? Shared-use pavement, cars parked on pavements, guard-railing, poor public realm:
What kind of vision is this for the City Deal? Shared-use pavement, cars parked on pavements, guard-railing, poor public realm.

The table in section 3.1 shows for instance:

  • a cycle lane with a concrete block in the middle of it,
  • a cycle lane barely 1m wide (which is less than 50% of recommended government width),
  • proposes a minimum (but very narrow) 1.5m pavement width, and
  • a 3m shared-use pavement arrangement (a form of provision which should be the last resort, and 3m being the minimum recommended in government guidance, and which is totally inadequate for infrastructure in Cambridge).

City Deal has millions to invest in cycling, so surely we can do better than concrete blocks in a cycle path, or <1m of dashed paint?
Poor cycle lanes

In our view, any Design Guide should be visionary for the future of the Cambridge area, and should propose cycling and pedestrian environments meeting Dutch standards. Instead, what is proposed completely fails to raise aspirations.