U-turn over Newmarket Road railway bridge

At their meeting on January 28, City and County Councillors overturned a previous decision to proceed with plans to construct a high-quality cycle scheme over the railway bridge at Newmarket Road.

The scheme would have seen the left lane of the dual carriageway removed, and replaced with a decent width cycle track, entirely separate from the existing narrow shared-use pavement, as well as retaining a cycle lane on the road.

Back to the drawing board: Councillors did a U-turn over removing this U-turn. Before councillors dropped the scheme, the left lane would have been divided up for use by cyclists and the right lane would have become the straight ahead traffic lane.

This would have allowed cyclists from Coldhams Common a much improved facility to reach Riverside along the same route as before. It would also have continued to Ditton Walk for cyclists wanting to turn right there without crossing Newmarket Road. Out-bound cyclists on Newmarket Road could have used either the new path or a reconstructed cycle lane.

You can read about the plans prior to this meeting in the relevant thread through our newsletters (starting with the most recent, you can follow the threads in the top right hand corner of this webpage where it says ‘Related’). Also, you can look at the original study of what was needed in the Newmarket Road corridor.

Thrown out

The scheme was thrown out after objections to the resulting removal of the right turn lane allowing U-turns back across the bridge. These objections were not raised (or not raised well enough) during the public consultation.

The objections arose because of a petition from a small number of residents in the Oyster Row area who felt they would be inconvenienced (both by not being able to U-turn, and by additional lorries using their streets seeking an alternative to the U-turn), and by a particularly vociferous resident alongside the bridge opposite the U-turn who claims her business would be undermined if drivers could no longer get to and from the in-bound side of the road.

It is not clear what will happen next. Councillors were certain that they wanted to throw out both previous options (we felt the other option was unsatisfactory anyway).

We fear, of course, that we will now be faced with yet another second-rate scheme. We especially fear that cyclists using the road will once more lose out, by losing the cycle lane. We do not think this should be allowed to happen and will try hard to prevent it.