What is proposed?
The county council has proposed to greatly improve safety and comfort on St Neots Road in Hardwick by installing an experimental bus gate modal filter just to the west of the Long Road junction. This would have the effect of maintaining motor vehicle access to all properties while deterring motorised through-journeys from using St Neots Road, and would direct them onto the A428 instead.
Our thoughts and position
Active travel and bus users would both benefit strongly from safer and less congested conditions on St Neots Road, as well as local residents, with the removal of rat-running traffic.
In addition to the bus gate, the county is proposing some fixes to the cycle lanes and the pavements in the area. Overall, we are strongly supportive of this safety scheme for Hardwick. The installation of a bus gate is eminently sensible and should have occurred when the A428 dual carriageway created a regional traffic bypass of the village, so that there would be safer and more pleasant conditions with less motor traffic on local roads.
Does the proposal meet DfT guidelines?
Yes, experimental modal filters are explicitly mentioned as road changes that would qualify for funding.
What would we like to see?
The scheme does not go far enough, in fact. It could be part of a coherent active travel route between Cambourne, Hardwick, Coton and Cambridge with just a few more small changes. Either a second bus gate, also installed on St Neots Road in the vicinity of the Broadway junction just outside of Cambourne, or widening and fixing of the pavements along the St Neots Road there, would create a safe active travel route between Cambourne and Hardwick. Improvements to the shared-use pavement along the A1303 down Madingley Hill to Coton would complete the route to the east.
Another advantage of the bus gate on St Neots Road is that it renders superfluous any proposal for an off-road busway through Hardwick, since St Neots Road would be completely uncongested at all times. That money could be used for active travel improvements in and between the villages, instead.
The benefits to the local community as well as surrounding towns and villages are potentially very high and therefore we believe that a trial of this scheme with the bus gate is a worthwhile proposal.