Madingley Road consultation 2020: our thoughts

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has opened its public consultation about a possible redesign of Madingley Road, with two options for improving walking, cycling and general landscaping. The deadline is 2 March.

Read our official response to the Madingley Road consultation.

cargo cycle on Madingley Road pathway
A woman pedals her child in a cargo cycle along one of Madingley Road’s decrepit shared-use pathways.

Overall, we find that Option 2 is the best choice for providing protected cycleways, (mostly) dedicated footways, more landscaping opportunities and a much more ambitious improvement to the environment. The main problem in their proposal is the completely unnecessary fallback to shared-use pavements at junctions and crossings.

 

bidirectional cycleway example
A section of bidirectional cycleway proposed by Option 2. The carriageway is dark-grey, the cycleways are light red, the footways are medium-grey, and the shared-use areas are grey with black lines.

Thankfully, we know this can be easily fixed with simple changes to the design to ensure fully-segregated cycleways and dedicated footways through junctions.

Storey's Way (option 2) design
There is a lot of bidirectional cycle and pedestrian traffic between Storey’s Way and the nearby Toucan Crossing that needs to be safely (and separately) accommodated (shown: the Option 2 design).

Option 2 proposes a bidirectional cycleway on the north side of the road. We asked for this to be given consideration because people currently cycle in both directions on the north side of the road.

However, if a safe and convenient westbound cycleway is to be provided on the south side of the road, and if more space was needed for walking or better junction design, then we would be willing to see the plans changed so that much of the north-side cycleway is one-way. In that case, there would still be a need for some short sections of bidirectional cycleway in order to make connections; for example at the Storey’s Way Toucan Crossing.

 

 

 

Madingley Road option 1:

Pros:

  • Somewhat simpler to build.

Cons:

  • Unprotected cycle lanes and junctions.
  • Won’t fix the existing unbalanced roadway cross-section.
  • Worse for landscaping and tree planting.
  • Excessive usage of staggered crossings.
option 1 staggered crossings and unprotected cycle lanes
Example of difficult-to-use and unattractive staggered crossings and unprotected cycle lanes in Option 1, at Eddington Avenue.

Madingley Road option 2:

Pros:

  • Protected cycleways, mostly dedicated footways.
  • Fixes the unbalanced roadway cross-section.
  • Opens up new landscaping opportunities for an avenue of trees.
  • Simpler, easier-to-use crossings.
  • Ambitious junction design with intriguing solutions for the current problems at Eddington Avenue and JJ Thomson Avenue.
avenue of trees in option 2
Example of the avenue of trees enabled by the Option 2 design improvements, in this case near Lady Margaret Road.

Cons:

  • Falls back unnecessarily into shared-use at most junctions (except, notably, Landsdowne Road, which is the only one done well). This can and should be fixed, in order to provide dedicated footways.
unnecessary fallback to shared-use pavements
At Clerk Maxwell Road and Observatory Drive, two examples of where Option 2 falls back unnecessarily into shared-use pavements instead of using a properly segregated treatment with separate spaces for walking and cycling.
Landsdowne Road junction from Option 2 with fully segregated pathways
The Landsdowne Road junction design from Option 2 shows how it should be done: fully segregated pathways through the junction.

Conclusion

We strongly support Option 2 on condition that it is revised to give it fully-segregated cycleways and dedicated footways. We strongly support all the suggested Toucan crossings and would add another one in the vicinity of Bulstrode Gardens or Wilberforce Road to help people cross to the eastbound cycleway.

Both options propose a vastly improved Lady Margaret Road junction for pedestrians, with all crossings provided near the junction. Unfortunately however, neither option fixes much east of Lady Margaret Road. Furthermore, the Queen’s Road roundabout remains as dangerous as ever. We understand that limitations on this scheme prevent further improvements being made here, but it is still a problem that needs to be tackled eventually.

Lady Margaret Road junction
The Lady Margaret Road junction from Option 2, with pedestrian crossings on all three sides.

The questionnaire

Please go to the consultation website and check it out for yourself. We recommend supporting Option 2 in Question 5, and in Question 6 please write that the sections of shared-use pavements should be eliminated in favour of segregated, protected cycleways alongside dedicated footways.

There are quite a few items to look through on Questions 2 and 4, which correspond to details about Options 1 and 2 respectively. This is too much to cover completely here, but here are a few key points:

  • In Question 2, item 5, which concerns the Eddington Avenue junction redesign found in Option 1: we oppose this, because the Option 1 design for this junction is essentially the rather rubbish status quo (see the fourth image from the top of this blog, the High Cross Junction).
  • Whereas in Question 4, item 5, which concerns the Eddington Avenue junction redesign found in Option 2: we strongly support this much more ambitious design with protected crossings for cycling. We also support the redesign of the JJ Thomson Avenue junction (Question 4, item 13) in Option 2.
High Cross junction option 2
The much improved design for the Eddington Avenue (High Cross) junction contained within Option 2, although it does need a few tweaks to eliminate the shared-use areas in favour of separate walking and cycling provision throughout.
  • In general, we strongly support new Toucan crossings, raised priority crossings, floating bus stops (when done right), and removing the right turn lanes where suggested.
  • We support the item confusingly named ‘Pedestrian crossing near Lady Margaret Road removed’ in both options, because that pedestrian crossing is in fact being relocated closer to the junction.