Several members have written in to let us know that a new sign was posted very recently on the Busway: between Histon, Impington and Cambridge there will be a shutdown of the Busway and cycleway beginning this weekend, from 22 June until 8 July. Furthermore, we have learned that there will be a longer shutdown from late July until mid September. Both of these are to allow works to widen the A14 overpass of the Busway. In essence, the Busway path will be inaccessible for most of the summer, utterly prioritising road building for motor traffic over the needs of those who want to walk or cycle.
We are appalled that such a busy and important route for walking and cycling is being shut down with very little notice, no communication, and no safe nor reasonable diversions put into place. At this moment, Highways England and the county council are demonstrating their complete disregard for the interests of people walking and cycling, and of sustainable transport in general. This section of the Busway in particular is used by many people going to work and many children going to school at places such as Impington Village College. Come next week many people will be shocked to learn that their safe route is blocked and they will have to figure out a way to go around via the dangerous B1049 overpass of the A14. (We have been told that the diversion will be signposted, but you can see our prediction for the likely route below).
Please take action by writing directly to your county councillors, your MP and Highways England . We have drafted a sample letter below but please personalise this, adding the ways you will be affected by the closure.
You can find and email your local representatives at writetothem.com
County Councillor for King’s Hedges: Elisa Meschini
County Councillor for Histon and Impington: David Jenkins
Highways England: A14 Project Team
MP for Cambridge: Daniel Zeichner
MP for South East Cambridgeshire (including Histon & Impington): Lucy Frazer
Dear [insert name]
I am writing to complain about the closure, by Highways England, of the Busway and access track (cycle and pedestrian path) between Orchard Park and Histon Junction, due to take place between 22 June and 8 July and the subsequent longer shutdown from late July to mid-September. I believe this closure has been badly mismanaged and perpetuates the idea that car traffic comes first.
As a cyclist and walker in Cambridge I am shocked at the length of the disruption and the choice of the date of the first closure which falls during school term time. The closure will affect many thousands of people who travel sustainably along this route, including children on their way to school and college. While I accept that the widening of the A14 is bound to cause disruption, I feel that the manner and communication of the disruption have been badly managed by the responsible authorities: both Highways England and Cambridgeshire County Council.
I have three key concerns about the way this closure has been managed.
- The extremely short notice given for this closure is completely unacceptable. The signs on the Busway cycleway have been put up less than a week in advance of the closure and buried in the roadworks section of the council’s website for less than two weeks. For closures which disrupt road traffic there is a much longer period of notice.
- Communication noting the closure is insufficient. The signs on the Busway cycleway are too small and, until recently, appeared at only one end. Online information is sparse, confusing and hard to find. The most useful information comes from Stagecoach East and therefore focuses on bus routes.
- There are no signs or information available for safe alternative routes for cyclists and pedestrians. This is one of Cambridge’s most popular cycle routes, used by many families and unaccompanied children. A diversion from the closed section will take around three times as long as the original route and should be well-signposted. The complete lack of planning and communication of diversions demonstrates a disregard for the interests of people walking and cycling, many of whom will simply switch to driving, adding more congestion to an already disrupted area.
Please could you raise this with the relevant authorities, ensuring that adequate signs and safe diversions are put in place immediately and communication about the later closure is better managed. If cycling and walking are to be encouraged, people who use these modes of travel must be respected as much as those who travel by car. It is important that the process for informing residents of disruption to cycleways and footways is equal to, if not better than, that for other roadworks.
We have been told a diversion will be signposted from the start of the closure: this shows the likely route. Longer, quieter detours may also be preferred, through Girton or Milton.
Please note that additional work will be carried out on the A14 junction at Histon which may result in some of the cycle and pedestrian crossings being closed in the coming weeks. We recommend following our Twitter account for the latest news and updates.