Mill Road – our vision for a healthy, thriving street

Imagine a street built around its community with round-the-clock access for businesses and residents, but without the pollution of through-traffic. Imagine a place that is a destination for shopping, eating and community activities; a space to linger or pass through at a leisurely pace. Imagine the unique and diverse nature of this street on show for all to see; not just during the Mill Road Winter Fair but all year round as visitors from across the city and beyond come to experience its unique culture. Together, let’s make this vision for Mill Road happen.

Mill Road, outside the coop, with people walking, sitting, parking a bike, pushing a child in a pushchair

Mill Road 2021

At the end of last year, we launched a new campaign on 5 December, the day which would usually have seen thousands flock to the road for the Mill Road Winter Fair celebrations. We asked people to share positive visions for Mill Road in 2021 and called on Cambridgeshire County Council to extend the bus gate scheme trial.

The decision on the scheme is due to be taken by the county council’s Highways and Transport Committee in July 2021. This blogpost explains what happens when. Please continue to share your views with Camcycle and help us shape our vision of a thriving and sustainable street for the future.

Read our letter to members of the Highways & Transport Committee

Read our statement to be read on Tuesday 27 July

How can I get involved with the campaign for a better Mill Road?

Email your local county councillor (find them here) and the Chair (Peter McDonald) and Vice-Chair (Gerri Bird) of the county council Highways and Transport Committee to share your experiences of the trial and your ideas for improvements. A decision is due to be made at the meeting held on Tuesday 27 July.

Complete the survey on the Cambridge Labour website – the responses received will inform many of the councillors involved in making the decision on whether to extend the trial and what improvements are needed. The survey only takes around 5 minutes to complete but could make a big difference to the future of the street.

Contribute to Camcycle’s discussion on Mill Road in our members’ forum on Cyclescape or share your views with us by email or on any of our social media channels.

Share your views with other organisationsMill Road – A Street for People is a new community organisation working to seek consensus on the changes needed to create a street that works for everyone. The Cambridge Independent are also running a poll on their website about the bus gate scheme where you can show your support for the extension of the trial.

Cycle, walk and shop on Mill Road – show the community your support and talk to local people and traders about your experiences.

Mill Road 2020

Experimental bus gate and pavement widening on Mill Road bridge

As part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s set of emergency measures to provide temporary space for safe cycling and walking during the Covid-19 pandemic, changes were implemented along the road from Wednesday 24 June, 2020 with a bus gate installed on the bridge.

Camcycle welcomes these measures to keep people safe and support the local economy as the city emerges from lockdown, but we believe additional improvements should be made to improve safety, air quality and access for those who need to drive. You can read a full list of frequently asked questions around our views on the scheme on our blog.

It’s also important that those that support the improvements tell the county council so that the experiment can be effectively measured and popular changes made permanent. We await the insights from the Mill Road consultation survey (which closed on 24 December), however, you can continue to send your comments to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk and email your local Mill Road councillors.

You can also read our official response to the consultation.

Mill Road Summer 2019

Romsey Parklet on Mill Road

In 2019, Mill Road bridge was closed to allow for the construction of a new railway line. We called upon Network Rail and Govia Thameslink to enhance rather than divide the community during the bridge works. Here’s what we argued for in the lead-up to this period:

  1. Pedestrian access to be maintained throughout the project, except during the short periods of time when it would be unsafe to provide this. Access to be wide enough to accommodate pushchairs, wheelchairs and people walking with bicycles.
  2. Network Rail to fund investment in Mill Road during the works so that, although the bridge was closed, the street would remain fully open with thriving businesses and a united community. Camcycle wanted to see funding for a new Mill Road coordinator as well as investment in the streetscape and exciting events.
  3. A positive legacy from the project with the street left better than it was before. The proposed closure offered a rare opportunity to improve the road which is consistently named among the places Cambridge residents avoid or find most dangerous when walking and cycling. Camcycle would like to see the street become a popular destination for shopping, eating and community activities with access prioritised for those on foot, cycle or public transport and more area given to public space and planting.

The Mill Road Summer initiative, which we contributed to, aimed to encourage people to visit Mill Road while the bridge was closed to motor traffic, despite the difficulties faced over the summer (gas works along the street, the H Gee fire and regular truck movements to the Mill Road depot site). Over 50 events were organised, posters and leafleting took place to promote the street, and the Romsey Parklet was created, bringing people into the area and fostering a greater sense of community. Read more about why we supported Mill Road Summer on our blog.

Other ways to take action

Cyclist in Romsey

Email in support of the changes to Mill Road

Do you find it safer and more pleasant to get around Mill Road since the bus gate was installed? Have you noticed that the air is cleaner and it’s easier to keep a safe distance from others when walking along the street or visiting shops? If you have positive comments about the experimental scheme, please send them to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. You should also email your local councillors – tell them what you think and share your ideas for the future.

Example of a parklet

Contact us about our Mill Road campaign

If you’d like to know more about our Mill Road vision, can help as a volunteer, are a member of an organisation which would like to work in collaboration with us or are from a publication which would like a statement or press release about our vision, please get in touch.

Camcycle members can also contribute to the discussion and volunteer on Cyclescape, our online members’ forum.

Camcycle social ride

Join Camcycle

Become a member and help us campaign for a nicer Mill Road and other cycling issues you care about.

Cyclist on Mill Road bridge

Donate to the Mill Road campaign

We’re a charity and promotion and materials are part of our campaigning costs. With your help, we can spread the word about the Mill Road vision project, pay venue hire costs for our public workshops, create surveys to gauge the views of local residents and produce other materials to further the project’s aims.