WaterBEACHED! Urgent help needed to achieve a safe active travel route

The development of a new town at Waterbeach has opened up the opportunity for improved active travel journeys to Cambridge, but current proposals for an upgraded Mere Way and a new link to the A10 Cambridge Research Park (planning application here) would not provide the safe, accessible, year-round route that is needed.

Together with local groups including Milton Cycling Campaign, we need your help to rescue Waterbeach and surrounding villages from transport isolation.

Please get involved and join our campaign for a safe five-mile link between Cambridge Regional College, Landbeach, Waterbeach New Town and the Cambridge Research Park.

Waterbeach hazard map
We call for:

The proposed route near Cambridge Research Park is too narrow and runs alongside a deep drainage ditch

A safe route

Research shows that perceived lack of safety, including road safety and personal safety, is the single largest barrier to cycling.

  • The Mere Way crossing of Butt Lane (which links Milton with Histon & Impington) is unsafe and fails to meet LTN 1/20, the national design standards for cycle infrastructure. Butt Lane has around 4,000 vehicle trips per day, with a speed limit of 50mph at this crossing. The only change proposed here is to lower the speed limit to 40mph.
  • The proposed path to the Cambridge Research Park is too narrow to meet LTN 1/20 standards. In parts it runs right next to a deep drainage channel presenting a dangerous hazard to path users, particularly if the path is unlit.
  • There is no detail available about how the route will navigate road junctions in the village of Landbeach.


A visible route

Research shows that routes that are not well lit after dark present a major deterrent to cycling, particularly for people who don’t currently ride but would like to start.

  • No lighting or solar studs are planned to be installed for Mere Way, and yet this path is expected to be the primary cycle route for Waterbeach New Town, employees travelling to the Cambridge Research Park and existing Waterbeach residents and employees. An appropriate strategy would include solar studs as guidance, with consideration of further lighting, potentially activated by movement at appropriate locations to minimise the impact on wildlife. Lighting is extremely important on utility cycle routes to ensure that they are accessible to everyone, all year round.
  • No lighting or solar studs are proposed for the path to Cambridge Research Park. Solar studs would highlight the edge of the path for cyclists in the winter months and their absence will increase risk (particularly alongside the drainage channel) and reduce the likelihood of people cycling here.
  • Lack of lighting is also a concern at the Cambridge end of the route, around the A14 underpass and the junction with the Busway path.


A convenient route

National guidance states that cycle routes should be coherent, direct, safe, comfortable and attractive.

  • There is no connection between the Mere Way route being constructed by Waterbeach developer Urban and Civic and the proposed new path to Cambridge Research Park (CRP), which will result in both failing to meet their potential.
  • The proposed surface for the CRP path is not suitable for commuter cycling. Part of the route is formed by an existing hard-core track which is deeply rutted, uneven and known to pond in wet weather. This will not be resurfaced, even though it is uncyclable for the majority of bikes.
  • The route runs past existing CRP tenants, but no direct access is provided to these businesses. This will unnecessarily increase the length of cycle journeys, making them less convenient and therefore less attractive.

Work has already been started on the southern (Mere Way) section of this route by developer Urban and Civic and is expected to start on the northern Cambridge Research Park section later this year. At the moment, despite agreeing to use LTN 1/20 to guide safe cycle route design, Cambridgeshire County Council have presented no objections to the current proposals. A final legal agreement is imminent. We need to make sure this is paused and the design revisited to provide a safe, visible and convenient route for all.


TAKE ACTION!

RAISE THIS ISSUE WITH THE COUNTY COUNCIL TODAY
Please write as soon as possible to your local county councillor (find them here) AND members of the Highways & Transport Committee (click to open an email with all addresses included) to call for a safe route to and from Waterbeach and surrounding villages. You may wish to copy in Camcycle too.

If you already use any parts of this route, are put off by current options (including the A10) or would feel unsafe or uncomfortable cycling on any sections of the proposed new link, please add your personal views on these aspects to your comment.

WRITE TO CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH PARK EMPLOYERS
If you work at the Cambridge Research Park we urge you to also contact your employers and ask them to call on developers and the council to build the infrastructure needed to keep their employees safe.