TAKE ACTION! Windsor Road / Warwick Road cycle route under threat

TAKE ACTION! Sign our petition to ensure that Windsor Road gets a scheme that improves accessibility for all types of cycles and mobility scooters.

Photoshop visual of the Windsor/Warwick Road cut-through blocked by a fence
This popular cycle route is scheduled to be blocked: our Photoshop visualisation shows what the new streetscape could look like.

We have been alerted to a plan by the county council that will cut off access to the popular Windsor Road / Warwick Road cycle route adjacent to the Mayfield Primary School. This route is currently very popular with parents and children going to the school as well as being part of the larger Cambridge cycle route network.

cycle route map
An excerpt of the county cycling map for Cambridge, with a red arrow showing the location of the junction on the county’s official cycle route network (outlined in blue).

The scheme will remove the dropped kerb that people currently use to access the passageway and instead replace it with some fenced off green space.

overview showing removal of dropped kerb
The existing dropped kerb will be removed. Thin blue lines along the edge of green space show new fencing to be installed. The thin brown line shows the existing fence at the end of the passageway.

The only accesses to the passageway that will remain are some narrow pedestrian crossings well off to the side of the junction, which will entail negotiating 90-degree sharp turns and narrow pavements shared with pedestrians.

overview of conflict points
At least three new extremely sharp turns, inaccessible to many people, and three new points of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists will be introduced by this proposed scheme.

This means that people who are using tricycles, tandem cycles, cargo cycles, disability-adapted cycles, or towing trailers of some sort will effectively be excluded from using the cycle route. Needless to say, the county has not used Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20 in the design of this scheme and the changes were not consulted with the vast majority of current users, many of whom use larger cycles or child-trailers.

Plans are moving fast and the intention is to build in the new year. Please politely email the local county councillor for the area, Catherine Rae (catherine.rae@cambridgeshire.gov.uk) to express how important it is that this route be made fully accessible to everyone, and that the county should always be using LTN 1/20 when designing cycle routes. We encourage you to include the reasons this route is important to you. Feel free to copy us on your email as well (contact@camcycle.org.uk).

Where has this proposal come from?

This project has been around in one form or another for ten years. It is part of streetscape improvements that are a mitigation of the Darwin Green development. The project officer e-mailed us over four years ago asking for some input about this junction. We responded with some ideas for improvement, such as widening the pavement, easing accessibility, improving visibility at the corner with the driveway, and prioritising walking and cycling movements across the junction. That single e-mail exchange, in 2017, was the only contact that the project officer made with us. Therefore, we were surprised to be told that we had been consulted on this final design that had only been produced this month (November 2021). Furthermore, we asked if any regular users of the cycle route have been consulted at all, and were told that it was possible but only if they lived nearby. Therefore it seems that the vast majority of people who use this route will not know of the impending plans to obstruct it.

The cycle route itself has been established for a very long time. For example, it is identified as route 57 in this Cambridge city cycling policy document from 2007.

Does it comply with local and national cycling policies?

The county’s Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambs (2014) policy 12 states:

‘The capacity, quality and safety of walking and cycling networks will be increased to enhance and promote healthy and active travel. The highest possible standard of cycling
and walking infrastructure appropriate to a location will be pursued in line with this strategy and the emerging cycle strategy.’

The county’s Long Term Transport Strategy (2015) also seeks to ‘increase walking and cycling levels in Cambridge by enhancing and adding to the current networks’.

Finally, the government’s Gear Change policy (2020) requires that:

‘Cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80 and beyond: it should be planned and designed for everyone.’

Cycle infrastructure should be designed for significant numbers of cyclists, and for non-standard cycles.

‘Access control measures, such as chicane barriers and dismount signs, should not be used.’

‘Cycle routes must flow, feeling direct and logical. Users should not feel as if they are having to double back on themselves, turn unnecessarily, or go the long way round. Often, cycling schemes – when crossing a main road, for instance – require cyclists to make a series of ninety-degree turns to carry out a movement that a motor vehicle at the same location could do without turning at all. Schemes should be based on a proper understanding of how people actually behave rather than how they might be expected to behave.’

We expect the county to comply with these policy requirements that apply to it, and we are happy to help provide guidance in how that may be achieved in this situation.