Cambridgeshire County Council is currently consulting on two sets of proposals to improve bus journey times on Milton Road. Here, we give a brief summary of the proposals, point out issues for cyclists and pedestrians, and highlight areas that are not addressed by the Council’s publicity material.
In particular, the bus lane plan would cause severe problems for inbound cyclists on the other side of the road from the new bus lane stretch, just as out-bound cyclists currently suffer from intimidation north-bound on Milton Road by the existing bus lane.
There will be public exhibitions on the proposals at:
|Thursday 6th and Friday 7th February||The Q-ton Centre, Cambridge Science Park||11:30 – 6pm|
|Saturday 8th, Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th February||Cowley Road Park & Ride site||Unstaffed|
|Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th February||St George’s Church, Chesterfield Road (off Fraser Road)||12:30 – 7pm|
The deadline for comments is Monday 10 March 2003.
For more information, contact Alistair Frost (Assistant Projects Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council):
- (01223) 717585
- firstname.lastname@example.org (until 10 March 2003)
General questions for the County Council
Q. When will the consultation documents be available on the web (and why are they not there yet)?
Update: 12 February 2003: The consultation documents are now available on the County Council web site at:
Fraser Road to Kings Hedges Road
The County Council’s consultation leaflet says:
“It is proposed to provide a 325m long northbound bus lane from 50m south of Woodhead Drive to the approach to Kings Hedges Road signals and to reduce the length of southbound bus lane by approximately 70m, so that it commences immediately south of Frazer (sic) Road. This will fit within the existing road width so that the trees are not affected but will mean removing the existing cycle lanes.”
The effects on cyclists
- A bus lane would be installed, from just south of Woodhead Drive to just south of the Kings Hedges Road junction.
- The existing pavement between Woodhead Drive and Kings Hedges Road would be widened to provide a “segregated duel (sic) pedestrian/cycle footway throughout”. A raised table would be provided at Ramsden Square, but not at Woodhead Drive (where the junction will be narrowed, to reduce vehicle speeds).
- The island would be removed from the pedestrian crossing just north of Kendal Way. This crossing is very well used by many cyclists and pedestrians. The central island allows people to cross in two stages, very often not needing to press the button and wait, stopping traffic. Without the island, people crossing would have to wait for a simultaneous gap in all three traffic lanes – resulting in longer waits for those crossing, and more delays to traffic because of increased use of the signals.
- The existing mandatory cycle lane will be removed.
- More than 300 on-road cyclists a day would be the big losers. They would find themselves sharing a narrow lane with all other traffic, and would suffer the same intimidation from drivers wanting to overtake as outbound cyclists already suffer, further south on Milton Road.
- The pavement would be widened, and a segregated “duel (sic) pedestrian / cycle footway” would be provided from the junction with Green End Road/Kings Hedges Road to just south of Fraser Road. Raised table crossing points would be provided at Cook Close, Kendal Way and Fraser Road.
- The island would be removed from the pedestrian crossing just north of Kendal Way. See the comments above.
Questions to ask
Q. How wide will the cycle and pedestrian sections of the new segregated off-road facilities be?
We have been told so far that no information is yet available on these widths. The width of such facilities is a critical safety factor for both cyclists and pedestrians.
Q. Will there be room for two cyclists to pass on the pavement facility?
It is not legal for a cyclist to cross over to the pedestrian side on a segregated facility, although pedestrians can use both sides.
Q. How wide will the inbound carriageway be (on the opposite side of the road to the proposed bus lane)?
Will it be wide enough for a car to overtake a bike when there’s queuing traffic on the other side of the road?
Q. What measurements of bus journey times have been done to justify the proposal?
The leaflet on this half of the scheme gives no measurements on bus delays, or the expected benefits of the scheme. There is no indication of how much of each day, and how often, buses are delayed, and for how long on average, on this stretch of road.
If measurements are provided, do they cover the length of the proposed bus lane only? (We have to ask this because the Council’s recent figures on Hills Road misleadingly included a stretch of Hills Road beyond the end of the bus lane proposed there, greatly over-emphasising the extent of the problem and the extent of any benefits).
Q. What research has been done into the volumes of traffic leaving the Science Park and Cowley Road?
Are queues on this stretch of Milton Road caused by the number of vehicles which leave the Science Park and the many businesses on Cowley Road? Do these vehicles have much shorter waiting times than vehicles already on Milton Road?
Our initial count and observations suggest that the Science Park has a significant advantage over Milton Road, causing tailbacks to the Golden Hind junction, with considerably less queuing on the Science Park than Milton Road. Changing the timings on these signals would be a much cheaper way of improving bus times.
Q. What counts have you done of cycle and pedestrian levels in this area?
Q. Would the proposed new lane at the junction with the A14 reduce congestion so much as to avoid the need for a bus lane?
Science Park to A14 Milton Interchange
There are two proposals here:
- Inbound: 2nd right-turn lane to enter the Science Park
- Outbound: A new dedicated left-turn lane at the A14 interchange
The effects on cyclists
The consultation document states:
“An alternative route will have been created with the construction of the cycle bridge over the A14 due for completion late autumn 2003. this (sic) will provide a direct route from Cowley Road to Milton Village bypassing the Milton Interchange.”
This new bridge is extremely welcome, and will be very useful for cyclists heading for Milton and Waterbeach.
However, for those heading from the Milton Road area to Impington, a journey via the new bridge would represent a considerable detour, and would require negotiating the bridge across the A10 to Butt Lane – which is physically impassable by bikes with child trailers, shopping trailers, tandems, etc.
Those cyclists who would currently cycle round the roundabout to get to Butt Lane or the A10 will find that the dedicated left turn lane provides a serious hazard to their journey.
Questions to ask
Q. What data has been obtained on the delays to buses here?
The consultation document refers to bus journey times that ‘can take up to 11 minutes to travel from Kings Hedges Road to Cowley Road and a total of 15 minutes to reach the A14 interchange in the evening peak’.
Statements of maximum journey times give no indication of the extent or frequency of the problem.
Q. Again, what research has been done into the volumes of traffic leaving the Science Park and Cowley Road?
Are queues on this stretch of Milton Road caused by the number of vehicles which leave the Science Park and the many businesses on Cowley Road? Do these vehicles have sufficiently shorter waiting times than vehicles already on Milton Road?
Our initial count suggests that the Science Park has a significant advantage over Milton Road, causing tailbacks to the Golden Hind junction. Changing the timings on these signals to give buses on Milton Road would be a much cheaper way of improving bus times.
Q. What guarantees are there that no construction would start on the proposed left-turn lane until the new cycle bridge over the A14 is open?
Q. What about cyclists heading for Impington?
Q. What improvements would be made to the bridge over the A10 to Butt Lane, to make it properly accessible for bikes?
Despite the new traffic lights at this junction, it is not possible for cyclists to cross the A10 from Milton to Butt Lane even if they wanted to: the route has been closed off.