The new Milton Road consultation is now out and the Greater Cambridge Partnership has published their latest proposals for the road. There are substantial improvements from the version originally published over two years ago. The design team has largely put into place an avenue of trees protecting cycleways that are segregated from footways. We thank them for engaging and listening on that point. However there are still significant problems with the current proposal that need to be addressed, and we intend to respond to those problems in the current consultation:
- The proposed Elizabeth Way junction has extremely narrow sections for walking and cycling, including points where people walking and cycling are squeezed into a path only 2.9m across, marked with arrows on the diagram below. To make matters worse, that section is likely to have a pole in the middle of it for a signalised crossing, and the section wraps around a sharp corner that blocks lines-of-sight. We strongly object to such miserly provision for walking and cycling, and we call for properly segregated and ample provision for walking and cycling at all points.
- The proposed design between Gilbert Road and Elizabeth Way has a bus lane that we believe is simply unnecessary and seriously compromises the remainder of the plan on this rather narrow section of Milton Road. We know that the current bus lane is rarely used by buses, and the data provided by GCP from the beginning of the scheme shows a long-term trend of falling car traffic counts on this section of road, because most car traffic heads towards Elizabeth Way. This section of road is quieter than the rest of Milton Road and it should become even more so after GCP implements their City Access study recommendations. Therefore, the bus lanes here will be wasted tarmac, while the space for trees, cycleways and footways are all badly squeezed. Ever since we helped publish the ‘Do-Optimum‘ proposal we have advocated for context-sensitive design and the context here calls for traffic reduction measures, not brute force bus lanes.
- We have always maintained the importance of supporting the numerous families who walk and cycle to the schools near Ascham Road, and enabling more families to join them. The officers have proposed making the outbound-side footway into a shared-use pavement for this purpose. We had instead called for a bi-directional cycleway segregated from the dedicated footway, but that idea was ultimately shot down because there wasn’t enough space at side-road junctions to make it work. However, the reason there isn’t enough space at side-road junctions is primarily because of the bus lane in the narrow section of Milton Road, mentioned above. This is yet another reason why the bus lane is inappropriate between Gilbert Road and Elizabeth Way.
- From past discussions, we had been under the impression that there would be crossings installed at Downham’s Lane and Fraser Road. However the consultation proposes that only one of these two would get a crossing. Milton Road is too much of a barrier currently and we believe that each of these locations should have a crossing
- It is disappointing that the cycleway is downgraded to an unprotected cycle lane between Westbrook Drive and Gilbert Road, outbound, but we are glad that the officers have put a crossing of Milton Road at Westbrook Drive back on the table.
We also have a few points to make in general:
We believe that segregation of walking and the main cycling route should be maintained throughout the scheme. At every point where a pedestrian crossing of a cycleway is needed, a simple Zebra crossing should be painted on the cycleway.
We strongly support the safe bus stop design proposed that has the protected cycleway segregated from both the footway and the passenger waiting area. This ensures that everyone has a comfortable and safe space, and that there is a defined crossing of the cycleway (a Zebra, as specified above) for people wishing to use the bus. The following diagram shows what a safe bus stop design would look like with a Zebra crossing of the cycleway: