Consultation guide: GCP Newmarket Road improvements

Eastern Access 2023 consultation brochure

Name of consultation: GCP Newmarket Road improvements 2023
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/NewmarketRoad23)

From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)
Time to complete:
15-20 minutes (plus time to read the associated information)
Format: Online survey OR email comments to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk You can call 01223 699906 for a hard copy of the consultation booklet. There are two in-person consultation events and one online webinar.

Deadline: midday on Monday 20 March

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently consulting on improvements to Newmarket Road and the relocation of the Park & Ride site.

The scheme would include separate cycleways all the way from Elizabeth Way to the existing Park & Ride site, which are described as “generally 2.2m wide ‘Cambridge kerb’ segregated cycleways” (the type seen on Histon Road, Huntingdon Road and Hills Road). Footways are promised to be a minimum of 2m wide with ‘continuous footway’ treatments across lightly-trafficked side roads (as installed on the Canterbury Street junction on Histon Road). Cyclops junctions (as used at the junction of Histon, Warwick and Gilbert Roads) are proposed for the Elizabeth Way and Barnwell Road roundabouts, providing a protected and signalised route for people walking and cycling.

The Park & Ride is proposed to be relocated to an area to the south-east of the Airport Way roundabout. Two options with different access points are being consulted on. Both options could accommodate approximately 1,750 car parking spaces, bus stops, cycle parking and cycle lockers and a Park & Ride operations building.

Following this consultation, the detailed scheme is due to be finalised later in the year, with construction taking place from 2024-2026.

 

Summary of Camcycle’s view:

Overall, we support the proposals for Newmarket Road. We strongly support the removal of the dingy and inconvenient underpass at Elizabeth Way in favour of a safer, more inclusive junction. We note that all Toucan crossings must be fully accessible for disabled cyclists, which does not appear to be the case in these designs. Active travel provision should also be provided from any new Park & Ride for people who might want to cycle or walk into the centre of Cambridge. We’ve given a more detailed list of points on the scheme below.

 

Camcycle’s answers to the consultation questions

Newmarket Road proposals

Q3. Having reviewed the scheme design, how far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements to Newmarket Road?

Overall, we support the proposals for Newmarket Road.

Junction improvements

Q4. Elizabeth Way Junction: How far do you support or oppose the proposals to replace the roundabout with a signal-controlled crossroads which will provide segregated and controlled crossings for pedestrians and cyclists?

We support the proposals for the Elizabeth Way roundabout.

Q5. Barnwell Road Junction: How far do you support or oppose the proposals to replace the roundabout with a signal-controlled crossroads which will provide segregated and controlled crossings for pedestrians and cyclists?

We support the proposals for the Barnwell Road junction.

Q6. Signal Controlled Junctions (Coldhams Lane / River Lane, Retail Park, Cheddars Lane, Stanley Road, Ditton Lane, Marshall Way, Marleigh Avenue, Park and Ride): How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements to the existing signal-controlled junctions along Newmarket Road?

We support all of the proposed signal-controlled junction improvements.

Q7. Side Roads (Godesdone Road, Garlic Row, Swanns Road, Ditton Walk, Ditton Fields, Quinton Close, Malden Close, Meadowlands Road) A continuous footway is where the footway continues across the mouth of the junction, giving visual priority to pedestrians. How far do you support or oppose the continuous footway proposals across the priority-controlled side roads?

We support all of the proposed continuous footway junction improvements

Q8 Do you have any other comments on the junction proposals along Newmarket Road?

Proposed design for the Elizabeth Way junction with Newmarket Road

  • The removal of the dingy and inconvenient underpass is strongly supported. This has been an eyesore in the city for five decades and is a relic of old-fashioned town planning. Replacement with a modern at-grade crossing, and the planting of new trees, will be far better. The current underpass is widely regarded as unsafe from the point of view of personal safety. (Engineering sheet 1)
  • While we support the introduction of a CYCLOPS at the Elizabeth Way/East Road junction, we would also draw attention to an alternative design for this junction proposed by one of our members and appended to this response. (Engineering sheet 1)
  • The junction with Whitehill Rd should have pedestrian priority like the other similar side road junctions on Newmarket Rd. (Engineering sheet 3)
  • The bus stop opposite the Abbey Stadium should follow LTN 1/20 principles and incorporate a bus-stop bypass, similar to the other bus-stop bypasses provided along the route. Extended bus dwell times once or twice a week should not be a reason to deliver an unsafe bus stop design and compromise the safety of cyclists for the remainder of the time. (Engineering sheet 3)
  • The cycle arms linking Abbey Rd and Occupation Rd to the Cyclops junction should have wider splays onto the CYCLOPS that comply with table 5-7 of LTN 1/20 (Engineering sheet 1)
  • The side road junctions on the shared path, to the Marshalls Skills Academy and other minor entrances, should have visible priority for cyclists and pedestrians. (Engineering sheets 6, 7)
  • All Toucan crossings should be fully accessible for disabled cyclists, which does not appear to be the case currently. The problem is that each one has only a narrow ramp up from the cycleway that is not accessible to disabled cyclists using tricycles or larger cycles. (All applicable sheets)

Crossing improvements

Q9. How far do you support or oppose the proposals to replace the Abbey Street Toucan crossing (can be used by pedestrians and cyclists) with new crossings at the Elizabeth Way junction to provide a more direct route to and from the Riverside?

We support the replacement of the Abbey Street Toucan Crossing.

Q10. How far do you support or oppose the proposals for new signal-controlled Toucan crossings (for pedestrians and cyclists) at Garlic Row (to improve access to Riverside) and Airport Way Roundabout?

We support the proposals for new Toucan crossings at Garlic Row and Airport Way.

Q11. Do you have any other comments on the crossing proposals along Newmarket Road?

  • Our members have mixed views on the Abbey Street Toucan crossing. However, if the historic route between Occupation Road and Abbey Road is restored and built to a high standard, we accept the existing Toucan crossing at Abbey Street crossing may no longer be necessary for cycling, but a crossing in the vicinity of Abbey Street is still needed for pedestrians.
  • The crossings should incorporate pedestrian and cycling detectors and longer green phases to encourage active travel journeys. They should also be responsive, almost immediate, so that pedestrians and cyclists do not have to wait for long periods of time.
  • Toucan crossings must be designed to be fully accessible to the cycle design vehicle of LTN 1/20 and for disabled cyclists using adapted cycles. We are concerned that there are only tiny, narrow and tight ramps up from the cycle lane to reach the crossings, in each case. Such an arrangement is not navigable by a person using a tricycle or a handcycle, and therefore such a design is not in compliance with the Equality Act nor LTN 1/20.

Cycling improvements

Q12. How far do you support or oppose the proposed segregated cycle lanes on both sides of Newmarket Road to replace existing sections of bus lane and shared use paths where cyclists share the space with buses, taxis and pedestrians respectively?

We support the introduction of segregated cycle lanes.

Q13. Do you have any other comments on the cycling infrastructure proposals along Newmarket Road?

  • We strongly support segregated cycle lanes. This is essential provision for such a key route into town, and will encourage significant modal shift.
  • We note the extensive use of Cambridge-kerbed cycle lanes as opposed to fully protected cycle ways like those being installed on Milton Rd. There are limitations to this design, such as vehicles driving in, parking in and blocking them. They are more akin to a lightly segregated cycle way and we would appreciate it if sections of the cycleway could have sections of half-battered kerbs facing the roads and cycle-friendly kerbs facing the cycleway installed periodically along the route. These sections should be installed so that they do not reduce the width of the cycle lane. (All sheets)
  • The cycle lanes at bus-stop bypasses should be 2 metres wide at least to comply with the minimum desirable width for a one-way cycleway carrying up to 200 cyclists per hour. 1.5m wide kerbed cycle lanes are not suitable for adapted bikes and larger cargo bikes, as the kerbs would reduce the available width by about 0.2m each side (as per table 5-3 of LTN 1/20) and should therefore be made compliant with LTN 1/20 to accommodate all kinds of cycles. (All sheets)
  • On engineering sheet 1 on the advisory cycle lanes on Newmarket Rd and East Rd (southbound) light segregation, such as wands, should be used.
  • There is a sudden slight narrowing of the northbound cycle lane before Cheddars Lane junction. The cycle lane should not be narrowed. (Engineering sheet 2)
  • The mandatory cycle lane over the Cheddars Lane junction does not seem to be straight and narrows for unknown reasons. The width should meet the desirable minimum width at the very least and be consistent in width throughout. (Engineering sheet 2)
  • The Newmarket Rd cycleway after Ditton Walk junction on both sides is too narrow and will not comply with LTN 1/20. (Engineering sheet 3)
  • We are concerned about the potential conflict between left-turning traffic and cycles going straight on at Coldhams Lane, the various Retail Park entrances, Cheddars Lane, and Stanley Rd, all of which have separate left-turning lanes on the approach with the cycle facility on the inside of them. It is unclear in the plans what if anything will be done to prevent such conflict. There will need to be a new green cycle-only traffic signal phase, which gives priority to cyclists going through these junctions.

Bus improvements

Camcycle does not have any opinions on these questions aside from our comments above regarding bus-stop bypasses (the need for one opposite the Abbey Stadium) and the requirement for all bus-stop bypasses to be 2 metres wide). Please give your own views on other aspects of the bus improvements.

Landscape improvements

We recommend that you give your own views for questions 17 and 19.

Q18. Do you have any comments on the proposed landscape strategy?

  • Some of the tree locations appear very close to the edge of the cycle track and likely to result in root heave to the path
  • Replacement hedges next to the cycle track should not include spiny species such as hawthorn and blackthorn as these are sprayed over the path when the hedges are cut and cause punctures.

Park & Ride proposals

Q20. How far do you support or oppose the expansion and relocation of the Newmarket Road Park & Ride to enable more people to travel by sustainable modes into Cambridge?

We do not support the expansion and relocation of the Newmarket Road Park & Ride.

Q21. How far do you support or oppose the recommended preferred location for an expanded and relocated Park & Ride along Newmarket Road?

We do not have a view on the location of the Park & Ride.

Q24. Do you have any comments on the Park & Ride concept designs proposed for site P1?

  • There does not seem to be any active travel provision to enter either of the Park & Rides proposed. There should be good quality provision made for people who might want to cycle or walk all the way into town, in the same way that the current Park & Ride can be accessed by active travellers.

Camcycle member view: a different design for Elizabeth Way

This sketch for an alternative idea for the East Road/Newmarket Road roundabout arose from our member discussions and it may inform your views.

Sketch of a design for the Elizabeth Way/Newmarket Road roundabout with lots of trees

The member comments that it “illustrates some of the other benefits that a project here might enable, such as:

  • a calmer more legible set of active travel routes in more ‘street-like’ conditions than with the proposed crossroads design, with its wide, windswept expanses
  • a meaningful new green open space, positively framed by trees and buildings that would be a more pleasant place to be than the disparate fragments of green left over after the junction has been laid-out in the crossroads option
  • an efficient road layout that helps separate turning movements, and more closely relates to the predominant flow for motor vehicles, being between the Elizabeth Way bridge and Newmarket Road east (and vice versa) – also reflecting the proposed new road classification, which would see a reduction in the amount of traffic using the other two arms. This would allow pedestrian crossings and a two-way cycle track to run with the main traffic movement, minimising wait times for people to cross by foot or cycle as part of the overall traffic light phasing
  • an opportunity to restore the sense of the continuity of the Newmarket Road frontage by reinstating a block structure reflecting the historic alignment of East Road – helping heal the tear in the urban fabric that the 1970s highway infrastructure created – and bring more habitation and life to what is currently as a gap in the city – with associated issues of perceived personal safety etc.”

Complete the Newmarket Road improvements survey on the GCP’s consultation website by midday on Monday 20 March.