Core Scheme Stage 3 – Silver Street and Regent Street

This article will appear in the Cycling Campaign’s next newsletter in June, but that will miss the County Council’s public exhibitions. So we thought you should see it now. We are very keen that as many Cycling Campaign members as possible make comments on the schemes.

The printed newsletter will include the County Council’s 8-page leaflet about the scheme, together with a map and comment form.

The timetable for the County Council’s series of exhibitions about the proposals is listed at the end of the article.

See also:

  • Newsletter 41 for earlier background information from the Cycling Campaign.
  • Our original comments to the County Council.
  • The County officers’ full report which went to the Cambridge Area Committee on January 28.

We reported in April about the County Council’s proposals. We knew then what was on offer for Silver Street, but less about Regent Street.

If the now amalgamated changes in Regent Street go ahead, there should be benefit to both cyclists and buses. Most private traffic would be prevented from entering Regent Street at the Catholic Church. As we speculated, Park Terrace would be reversed (so access to Regent Street is maintained for people who need it), but cycles allowed both ways (which they aren’t at present).

Image as described adjacent
Downing Street: without clever engineering, traffic leaving Lion Yard car park might end up turning left across what is currently the contraflow lane, but the Regent Street end would be much quieter.

But is the cost worth it? The much narrower Tennis Court Road would take most of the traffic leaving Lion Yard car park, and a section of the contraflow lane on Downing Street would be lost. In doing that, without some clever engineering, a serious conflict might be introduced between cyclists heading towards Pembroke Street and car park traffic turning left across their path into Tennis Court Road.

On Regent Street, car parking and aggressive bus driving are the main two problems we perceive at present. Might closing Regent Street increase bus speeds and actually make buses a bigger problem? And it could turn into a parking nightmare if it is no longer regarded as a through road.



Please comment

Comments can be emailed directly to the Cambridge Projects Team [cambridge.projects@cambridgeshire.gov.uk] or sent via the County Council’s web site from May 20th until the middle of June.

The proposal is supposed to be mainly to benefit cyclists and pedestrians. As a Campaign, we aren’t expressing a preference for either suggested option in Silver Street, or whether reduced traffic on Regent Street is worth the cost in making Tennis Court Road an extremely busy road.

Your opinions are, of course, your own. But we recommend that you tell the Council that:

  • The aims of this scheme – to help cyclists and pedestrians – won’t be properly achieved by either of the preferred options, because they don’t address the peak times when help is most needed.
  • A complete closure of Silver Street to motor vehicles is needed.
  • Whatever option is chosen, there should be a restriction on large vehicles using Silver Street.
  • Options A or B do not remove peak traffic from Trumpington Street, so crossing or turning at Pembroke Street and Mill Lane and into King’s Parade will still be very difficult on a bike. Options A or B are only acceptable if traffic lights are provided at these junctions.
  • Widening and increasing capacity with extra lanes along the inner ring road would adversely affect cyclists, especially if long-established and well-used facilities to help them are to be removed.
  • If the Regent Street part of the scheme were to go ahead, allowing traffic to turn left from Downing Street into Tennis Court Road is only acceptable if conflicts with straight-on cyclists are completely avoided in the design.
  • On-street car parking needs to be removed from Regent Street for any restriction to have a useful effect.

And Silver Street? Both ‘preferred options’ offer closure during the middle of the day, and the option B also makes the street one-way inbound for cars in the mornings and outbound only in the evenings. But there is little relief for cyclists at the times when it is busiest and therefore most needed. There is minimal room to widen the pavement where pedestrians desperately need more space.

By not making complete closure a preferred option, the possibilities of arranging the street to better suit pedestrians and cycles is very limited. The plans do not currently propose traffic lights at Pembroke Street-Trumpington Street-King’s Parade junctions where getting out on a bike is terribly hard. This is apparently a ‘detail’, which could be considered, but for us it is an essential aspect of living with any scheme.

It is possible that the part-time closure options may lead to a complete closure in the distant future.

On the other hand, traffic lights are definitely proposed at the Lensfield Road-Trumpington Street mini-roundabouts. While, like motorists, confident cyclists may regard this as an inconvenience, the poor casualty record here is a compelling reason to change.

There are many other details that could swing the balance, making the scheme one to support. But if we don’t sound entirely enthusiastic, that’s because we aren’t. We are not convinced that there is much strong enthusiasm in the Environment and Transport Department either. We aren’t opposed to the scheme, but view it more neutrally – ‘swings and roundabouts.’ The benefits for cyclists are mostly at times when they are least needed.

Image as described adjacent
Park Terrace proposal: one-way reversed for cars but two-way for cyclists.

Only the tidal flow option adds peak time benefits for cyclists, and then in the wrong direction – but displaced extra traffic on the ring road would adversely affect cyclists there. This option would also be hard to do – lots of signs and barriers or lights or some such would be needed.

(In the last newsletter, we had overlooked the simplest option for cyclists in tidal flow, though: simply don’t mark out the carriageway at all, leaving it like a one way street where cyclists are allowed in both directions. The unusual feature is just that the direction reverses).

Exhibitions

The County Council is holding a series of exhibitions in three weeks starting May 20th, as follows:

Monday May 20th 12noon-8pm Emmanuel United Reform Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
Tuesday May 21st
& Wednesday May 22nd
12noon-8pm Garden House Hotel, Mill Lane, Cambridge
Thursday May 23rd 12noon-8pm Holiday Inn, Histon (next to A14-B1049 interchange)
Friday May 24th 12noon-7pm Central Library Lion Yard Cambridge
Saturday May 25th 10am-4pm
Monday May 27th 12noon-8pm Trumpington Road Park & Ride Site (Hauxton Road or M11 junction 11)
Wednesday May 29th 12noon-8pm Diamond Room, Selwyn College (by Grange Road- Cranmer Road junction)
Thursday May 30th 12noon-8pm Madingley Road Park & Ride Site on the A1303 from M11/Junctuon 13
Friday May 31st 12noon-8pm Babraham Road Park & Ride Site on A1307 to Haverhill
Friday June 7th 12noon-8pm Moat House Hotel, bar Hill (off the main Bar Hill Roundabout)