What is proposed?
The county council has proposed to put an experimental modal filter on Station Road in Histon just north of the Baptist Church driveway, near the war memorial. This would maintain motor vehicle access to all properties while deterring motorised ratrunning traffic from using Station Road. This would effectively protect the street from drivers who divert from the B1049 at busy times and race through the smaller street to try and beat the queues at the traffic signals.
Our thoughts and position
We believe the experimental modal filter would reduce overall traffic congestion and open up the road to much safer conditions for people walking and cycling there. The downside is that some car journeys may take a minute longer, although this should be balanced by the fact that local car journeys are much less likely to caught in congestion and many local residents will feel much safer about leaving their car at home and taking their family on foot or cycle.
One significant issue that will require substantial local consultation is to figure out what to do with the Citi 8 bus stop that has to be moved under the current proposal.
At a glance, the issues with the Citi 8 bus stop are:
- There is a bus stop in front of the Baptist Church but as the scheme is proposed the bus cannot pass through this type of modal filter and therefore must be re-routed.
- The existing Citi 8 bus route is extremely inefficient and in fact doubles back on itself between Station Road and Bridge Road. However, the reason why the route is so twisty and turvy is so the same bus can serve both the Baptist Church and the Impington Village College.
Some options to deal with the bus route issue are:
- Simply drop the stop in front of the Baptist Church.
- Pros: the Citi 8 bus route becomes more efficient and no longer doubles back on itself.
- Cons: the Chivers Way bus stop becomes the closest stop to the church and is at least a few minutes walk away, which may be difficult for some bus users. There is also a care home close to the church that may be a significant user of these bus stops.
- Make the modal filter into a bus gate, instead.
- Pros: the bus route can remain exactly in place and will benefit from less congestion.
- Cons: bus gates are more expensive than simple modal filters and have an ongoing cost of maintaining the ANPR cameras.
- Move the modal filter proposal to a different part of Station Road, such as the section further north where there is no bus route. The bus route will not be affected, and the road is much narrower here as well, which means the modal filter will be directly protecting a narrow section of roadway where people on foot or cycle are often squeezed by passing cars.
More good discussion can be found at this blog post.
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?
We are very supportive of the experiment but expect that the consultation will need to flesh out ideas for resolving the issue with the bus route. There are significant benefits for the area, such as reducing traffic and pollution, and we believe that a trial of the experimental modal filter in some form is very worthwhile.