Consultation guide: GCP Cycling Plus – Hills Road

Cover of the Cycling Plus Hills Road consultation bookletName of consultation: GCP Cycling Plus: Hills Road
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/CyclingPlusHillsRoad)

From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)

Format: Online survey OR email consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk OR send your views by post to Greater Cambridge Partnership, PO Box 1493, Mandela House, 4 Regent Street, Cambridge CB1 0YR. You can also share thoughts on social media using the hashtag #CyclingPlusHillsRoad.

If you require help with the survey or a version of the brochure or survey in print, large print, Braille, as an audio tape or in another language, email consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk or call 01223 699906.

Deadline: Midday on Monday 24 July.

Cycling Plus is part of the GCP’s City Access project to increase walking, cycling and public transport into and within Cambridge. The GCP identified 13 corridors that could help join up the city’s cycling network and selected two for investment following a public consultation in 2021. Hills Road is the first of these schemes to come to consultation and the proposals present two options for development.

View a summary of the plans in the consultation booklet and find more information on the consultation website.

Summary of Camcycle’s views

We welcome the consultation, but are disappointed that the GCP has not listened to feedback provided by Camcycle and other stakeholders in meetings leading up to the publication of designs. Option B clearly provides the most transformative solution for people walking and cycling and community engagement should be focused on co-creating the best possible designs for that scheme, rather than wasting public time and money asking consulting on a substandard proposal that maintains the status quo. In option B we still have concerns about the proposals for the Brooklands Avenue/Brookgate junction as it is essential that there is a safe right turn into the station area for those travelling northbound. The Catholic Church junction also needs a full redesign to prioritise and protect the most vulnerable road users.

Consultation guide

Note that all questions are optional, apart from Q1, which asks if you are responding as an individual, a group or business, or an elected representative. We encourage you to answer as many questions as you have time for and to give supplementary information based on your own personal opinion as well as our suggestions in the text boxes for questions 13, 26 and 27. If you are short of time, click here for our 3-minute pdf response guide.

Option A

View the maps showing Option A (part 1 and part 2).

Q2. Having reviewed the overall scheme design, how far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements along Hills Road shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’ because the Option A is a substandard proposal that does little more than retain the status quo.

 

Q3. Please look at the Hills Road / Lensfield Road / Regent Street / Gonville Place junction on the map for Option A. Proposed improvements include the extension of the inbound cycle lane from the bus lane starting at Bateman Street towards the Lensfield Road junction and the addition of cycle lanes on the Regent Street approach to the junction.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option A?

Option A proposals for the Catholic Church junction on Hills Road

 

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

The proposals are extremely light-touch at this junction and, whilst they provide a slight improvement, we believe it is time to look at an alternative arrangement. Even if the GCP is unwilling to reconsider this junction, we still believe improvements to widen the footpath on the corner of Lensfield Rd and Regent Street are possible. We are also concerned at what looks to be a  narrow cycle lane on both sides of Hills Road. We would like to see the option of single-stage crossings for pedestrians on both Gonville Place and Lensfield Road, which could free up enough space to create a cycle lane on the approach as well as the inclusion of left-turn cycle bypasses.

 

Option A design for the Station Road junction.Q4. Please look at the Hills Road / Station Road junction for Option A. Proposed improvements include extension of the outbound cycle lane on the Hills Road approach to the junction, improved pedestrian crossings and additional Station Road footway space.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option A?

 

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

The cycle lane which allows people to turn left into Station Road ends at a seemingly random location, halfway through the turn, close to the middle of the junction. This requires cyclists to re-join the carriageway within the junction itself, which could be extremely dangerous.

 

Q5. Please look at the Hills Road / Brooklands Avenue junction for Option A. Proposed improvements include extension of the outbound cycle lane on the Hills Road approach to the junction, dropped kerb access to the Brooklands Avenue advanced stop line for cyclists and an all-movement exit for cyclists from Brookgate opposite Brooklands Avenue (the current situation only permits a left-turn manoeuvre).

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option A?

Option A proposal for the Brooklands Avenue/Brookgate junction on Hills Road

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

The proposed arrangement is not suitable for people of all ages and abilities to cycle safely. It involves cyclists having to navigate in between cars across an extended area and provides no safe right-turn option onto Brookgate.

 

Q6. Please look at the Hills Road / Cherry Hinton Road junction for Option A. Proposed improvements include the removal of the Hills Road inbound bus lane to provide in- and outbound cycle lanes with Cambridge kerb, a pedestrian crossing and footway widening at Homerton Street.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option A?

Option A proposal for Cherry Hinton Road.

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

As with the previous junction, this design does not enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle safely.

 

Q7. Railway bridge layout: Under Option A, the existing railway bridge layout would be retained, with the cycle lanes adjacent to the footway upgraded to provide a higher level of segregation with the addition of Cambridge kerb.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed cycleway improvements as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Oppose’.

Protected cycle lanes are essential for creating safe cycle infrastructure where there are high levels of traffic. Cambridge kerbs (as used further south on Hills Road) are an excellent way to segregate cycle lanes, particularly for retrofitting, as they work well when there’s a requirement for vehicular cross-overs to properties. However, they only offer partial protection and as there are no vehicular accesses on this bridge, we would expect to see fully-protected cycle infrastructure here.

 

Q8. Cycleways: Option A retains the existing inbound bus lane between Bateman Street and Union Road, which results in cyclists sharing the space with buses and taxis in this section. Throughout the rest of the scheme the cycleways are upgraded to include Cambridge kerb segregation with proposed widths ranging between 1.5m and 2.3m, depending on existing carriageway space.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed cycleway improvements as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

Coherent and consistent cycle infrastructure is vital for creating a network that works for everyone. The proposals to introduce improvements across the rest of the scheme will be undermined by the continued use of a shared bus lane. In LTN 1/20, the government’s guidelines for cycle infrastructure design, para 6.6.2 states that bus lanes should not be regarded as inclusive.

 

Q9. Floating bus stops: A floating bus stop involves the pedestrian footway and cycle lane routing behind the bus stop. The benefit of this arrangement is that people cycling do not have to negotiate around parked buses, improving safety for all users. Option A includes floating bus stops only in areas where there is currently sufficient carriageway width to accommodate them.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed floating bus stop design and locations as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Support’.

Floating bus stops create safe cycle routes, avoiding a well-documented conflict point between cyclists and buses.

 

Q10. Under Option A, we propose continuous footways and cycleways across the side roads. These would provide clear visual priority to pedestrians and cyclists, improving safety for people walking and cycling. This is achieved through the use of ramps, coloured surface materials and tight junction corners to ensure vehicles slow down.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed continuous footway improvements as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

Continuous footways transform the quality, safety and experience of people walking. Not all continuous footways are created equal, and we would expect to see further details around kerbing and crossing distances before we can strongly support.

 

Q11. Loading bays: Under Option A, loading bays would be installed on Harvey Street, St Paul’s Road, Glisson Road and Norwich Street. Waiting and loading would continue to be permitted from the bus lane outside of peak times. However, it is proposed to ban all other waiting and loading along Hills Road.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed loading bays as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Oppose’.

We agree with the proposal to ban all waiting and loading on Hills Road and are pleased that many loading bays have been proposed on side roads. We still have some concerns with the proposal to allow off-peak loading within the bus lane, which would create a safety concern for cyclists who would need to use the main carriageway if a vehicle were unloading.

 

Q12. On-street cycle parking: Under Option A, on-street cycle parking would be installed on Russell Street, Glisson Road and Norwich Street to provide cycle parking for people visiting the local shops.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed on-street cycle parking as shown in Option A?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Support’.

Further on-street cycle parking is much welcomed.

 

Q13. Option A Overall: Do you have any further comments about Option A features or Option A as a whole?

We believe option A represents an extremely compromised scheme and does not warrant further consideration. It has not been designed in accordance with the user hierarchy (which prioritises the needs of pedestrians and cyclists above other road users) and its inclusion is a continuation of an existing, unsustainable transport corridor. The scheme represents poor value for money and fails to meet design standards. It is so similar to the existing situation that it is more of a maintenance intervention that barely justifies a consultation.

 

Option B

Q14. Having reviewed the overall scheme design, how far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements along Hills Road shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

Option B is a significant step in the right direction; however, there is much work to be done to develop the principles set out in option B into a high-quality walking, cycling and public transport scheme.

 

Q15. Please look at the Hills Road / Lensfield Road / Regent Street / Gonville Place junction on the map for Option B. Proposed improvements include the addition of a cycle lane on both the Regent Street and Hills Road approaches to the junction, resulting in a reduction in general traffic lanes.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option B?

Option B proposals for the Catholic Church junction on Hills Road

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Oppose’.

The junction proposals are almost identical to option A apart from wider cycle lanes on the approach from Hills Road (2B). We still believe improvements to widen the footpath on the corner of Lensfield Rd and Regent Street are possible. We would like to see the option of single-stage crossings for pedestrians, which could free up enough space to create a cycle lane on the approach on both Gonville Place and Lensfield Road as well as the inclusion of left-turn cycle bypasses.

 

Option B proposal for Station RoadQ16. Please look at the Hills Road/Station Road junction for Option B. This option proposes remodelling the junction to provide a partial CYCLOPS arrangement*. This would provide additional footway space on Station Road and improved pedestrian and cycle crossings, with segregated cycle lanes and signal-controlled for inbound cyclists turning right into Station Road. Traffic lanes are reduced on all approaches.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

Whilst we appreciate that the number of cyclists turning right from Hills Road into Station Road is low, we would still expect infrastructure to be provided unless there is a substantive reason not to. In this case, cyclists turning right would have to join the carriageway. We believe an option to allow cyclists to join the cycle track should be explored and would require minimal work.

 

Q17. Please look at the Hills Road / Brooklands Avenue junction for Option B. Proposed improvements include a continuous outbound Hills Road cycle lane, feeder cycle lane on Brooklands Avenue, all-movement exit for cyclists from Brookgate and ‘Hold the Left Turn’ cycle facility on Hills Road inbound.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option B?

Option B proposal for Brooklands Avenue junction

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Oppose’.

We believe that the Brookgate junction needs to be reconsidered from first principles. It should be redesigned to ensure the junction correctly prioritises those walking, cycling, wheeling and taking public transport.

 

Q18. Please look at the Hills Road / Cherry Hinton Road junction for Option B. This option proposes to remodel this junction to a CYCLOPS arrangement with segregated cycle and pedestrian crossing facilities across all junction arms. The Cherry Hinton Road approach to the junction is reduced to a single traffic lane.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed improvements at this junction as shown in Option B?

Option B proposal for the Cherry Hinton Road junction

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

The proposals for the Cherry Hinton Road junction are welcome; however, care must be taken to ensure that active travel is correctly prioritised when designing signalised junctions. If this is not done, the active travel facilities will not be used by many cyclists, who may put themselves at unnecessary risk due to this failure to prioritise. We have therefore asked that the GCP provide initial phasing plans for this junction and others. Depending on the phasing, it may be necessary to include a straight-on cycle lane through the junction for cyclists on Hills Road. It may also be beneficial to ban right turns into Homerton Street from Hills Road alongside a separate ‘hold the left’ signal for traffic turning left into Cherry Hinton Road from Hills Road. But it is vital that car traffic is not allowed to continue south on Hills Road while cycles wishing to do the same are held at a red light.

 

Q19. Under Option B, the cycle lane layout on the bridge is remodelled to provide segregated cycle lanes (with the addition of Cambridge kerb) on each side of the road, replacing the central cycle lanes on approach to Brooklands Avenue and Cherry Hinton Road.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed railway bridge layout as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Oppose’.

Protected cycle lanes are essential for creating safe cycle infrastructure where there are high levels of traffic. Cambridge kerbs are an excellent way to segregate cycle lanes, particularly for retrofitting, as they work well when there’s a requirement for vehicular cross overs to properties. However, they only offer partial protection and as there are no vehicular accesses on this bridge, we would expect to see fully protected cycle infrastructure.

 

Q20. Cycleways: Under Option B, the proposals would provide wider, segregated cycle lanes (using Cambridge kerb) for the majority of Hills Road with the average width being closer to 2.1m. This is achieved by moving kerb lines and removing the inbound bus lane.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed cycleway improvements as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

Owing to the number of cyclists who already use Hills Road and those who will use it if a successful scheme is implemented, there is a strong need for wide, high-quality cycle infrastructure, but this must be considered alongside the space for people walking as well. For example, if a footpath is too cluttered or narrow, there will be more instances of people stepping into the cycle track, leading to potential conflict. Therefore, we strongly support the proposed cycleway improvements but they must be made alongside improvements for people walking, such as widening the footway, decluttering the existing space and providing continuous pavements.

 

Q21. Floating bus stops: A floating bus stop involves the pedestrian footway and cycle track routing behind the bus stop. The benefit of this arrangement is that people cycling do not have to negotiate out and around parked buses, improving safety for all users. Under this option, most of the existing bus stops are upgraded to the floating bus stop arrangement.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed floating bus stop design and locations as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Support’.

As previously discussed, floating bus stops create safe cycle routes, avoiding a well-documented conflict point between cyclists and buses.

 

Q22. Continuous footways: Under Option B, we propose continuous footways and cycleways across the side roads. These would provide clear visual priority to pedestrians and cyclists, improving safety for people walking and cycling. This is achieved by using ramps, coloured surface materials and tight junction corners to ensure vehicles slow down.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed continuous footway improvements as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

Continuous footways transform the quality, safety and experience of people walking. Not all continuous footways are created equal, and we would expect to see further details around kerbing and crossing distances before we can strongly support.

 

Q23. Toucan crossings: A Toucan crossing is a signalised crossing which enables both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the street together. In addition to the existing Toucan crossing on Hills Road bridge at location ref 41B, which is retained, two additional Toucan crossings are proposed in Option B. The first, at location ref 33B (104-112 Hills Road) is proposed by the developer to provide cycle access to their scheme. The second, at location ref 51B, would improve pedestrian and cycle access to Hills Road Sixth Form College via Purbeck Road. In addition, there would be a short section of two-way cycle lane to provide cycle access between Purbeck Road and the new Toucan crossing.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed Toucan crossings as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Oppose’.

Toucan crossings can be a part of a high-quality cycle network; however, where there is protected, separate cycle infrastructure, i.e. a signalised parallel crossing should be considered first. The deliverability of such crossings may not be possible due to space constraints but must be tested at each location to confirm this. We also believe that the crossings 22B and 29B must be relocated to facilitate movments between Bateman Street and Glisson Road.

 

Q24. Loading bays: Under Option B, loading bays would be installed on Harvey Road, St. Paul’s Road, Glisson Road and Norwich Street, along with a loading bay on Hills Road (location ref 16B) located within the inbound cycleway. The loading bay on Hills Road would only be permitted for use outside of peak times. With the addition of these loading bays, it is proposed to ban all other waiting and loading on Hills Road.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed loading bays as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Support’.

As previously discussed, we agree with the proposal to ban all waiting and loading on Hills Road and are happy to see that many loading bays have been proposed on side roads. We would like to see the GCP explore a loading bay bypass, which could perhaps be co-located alongside the floating bus stops.

 

Q25. On-street cycle parking: Under Option B, on-street cycle parking would be installed on Russell Street, Glisson Road and Norwich Street to provide parking for people visiting the local shops.

How far do you support or oppose the proposed on-street cycle parking as shown in Option B?

Camcycle recommends that you select ‘Strongly Support’.

Further on-street cycle parking is much welcomed.

 

Q26. Option B Overall: Do you have any further comments about Option B features or Option B as a whole?

Option B is a significant step in the right direction; however, there is much work to be done to turn the principles set out in option B into a high-quality walking, cycling and public transport scheme. Therefore, we call on the GCP to engage with and work with stakeholders in a more collaborative manner.

 

Q27. Overall comments on Options A and B

Option B clearly provides the most transformative solution for people walking, wheeling and cycling. This consultation, and future engagement, should be focused on co-creating the best possible designs for that scheme, rather than wasting public time and money consulting on a substandard proposal that is barely more than a maintenance scheme (option A) which continues with the status quo. In option B we still have significant concerns around a host of issues. For example, the proposals for the Brooklands Avenue/Brookgate junction must provide a safe right turn into Brookgate. We also believe that the Lensfield Road junction needs a full redesign starting from first principles to prioritise and protect the most vulnerable road users. Finally, all signalised junctions must be designed in a way that proritises active travel. Too often a lack of prioritisation leads to cyclists being unwilling to use safe cycle infrastructure and unnecessarily putting themselves in danger.

Complete the GCP Cycling Plus Hills Road consultation survey on the GCP’s consultation website by midday on Monday 24 July.