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Question 31 - we asked:
A junction with the Busway at Hobson Avenue was recently created. Traffic lights have been installed that give priority to the very low-traffic Hobson Avenue over the Busway. The hundreds of people walking and cycling per hour along the Busway path are now expected to press a button and wait up to 30 seconds for a green man to cross a sideroad. This seems to us the wrong priority. Would you seek to rectify this situation, so that the priority is restored to walking, cycling and public transport on the Busway?
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We asked this question only in Trumpington.
4 of the 4 candidates (100%) who were asked this question responded as below.
Those candidate(s) which were elected are highlighted.
Reversing the lights would be the sensible thing to do at a junction with low traffic volumes.
I am in favour of the Guided Busway Cycle Path having much greater consideration as the priority route. This will undoubtedly be the busiest route throughout all parts of the day. However some consideration needs to be made for cyclists and pedestrians coming along Hobsons Ave as it is a route to 2 schools and has a fast bus route on it. If we are to reduce car usage, special consideration of School routes must me made.
On discussion with cyclists in Trumpington I found a great deal of concern about the crossing at Hobsons Ave in direction of the Railway Station and the Park and Ride. They offer two potential solutions for this problem.
The first and preferable option is to make the default for the lights to go green in the direction of the guided busway/cycle/pedestrian path. Button could still be pressed for crossing the guided busway and the number 25 bus would trigger the lights when it crosses the busway around every half hour.
However for this option to work for children and adults on bikes crossing the guided busway there needs to have very clear signage and yellow lines to warn people of the need to slow down and stop before crossing and wait for the lights to change.
A second possible solution posed by cyclists is to set up detectors in the cycle path so that the lights change in good time to allow cyclists to cross the side road.
Many cyclists and pedestrians cross both routes without checking carefully. This is especially true as most have got used to this junction before it was opened to motor traffic.
However the guided busway will always be the greatest risk to all users crossing it. It might be preferable to have a barrier similar to those at level crossings that shuts when a guided bus is passing. The barrier lights would control all users crossing the junction in the direction of the school and community centre and reduce the risk of very serious injury from being hit by a bus traveling at speed.
At the same time those on the cycle path will be able to see when the barriers have risen and know they need to slow down and if there were yellow ridged lines similar to those on car lanes long before they arrive at the junction to remind cyclists to slow down plus clear notices letting new users know that at times there will be traffic crossing cyclists will be forewarned to slow and stop for vehicles crossing. A priority for the main cycle path could be factored into the lights changes.
Many residents as well as cyclists feel it is also vital that the city council do not back down on stopping traffic from the Clay Farm development using the crossing as a rat run to reach Long Road. It should be for cyclists, pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles and disabled access only.
I understand that rising bollards were installed but because they were not maintained they stopped working prior to the road being opened. A barrier at the busway crossing might be a more long term solution that can only be triggered by a bus or an agreed user and the lights on the busway could be set to stop the guided bus in emergency of when emergency service vehicles need to cross. While a barrier is an expensive option this junction is so dangerous due to its proximity to the guided busway and it multiple use that the cost would be justified. As part of the congestion strategy posed by the county council to reduce pollution and congestion not car use needs to be safe.
I would seek to restore priority to the Busway users. At present, not only is there a long wait for the signal to change, it is too short for anyone but an able-bodied adult to cross in time, which is also something that could be improved.
I have worked with the Trumpington Councillors, and directly with Council staff, the property developer Countryside and Trumpington Community College about various safety problems with this crossing. Indeed, I was one of the first people to report the problem, because it is on the road I live on, and my daughter and wife cross it to school and work every day. Although my subjective interest is in the safety of those of us travelling along Hobson Ave, I have also reported and pushed for the safety of people travelling alongside the Busway, including the point about lights priority. The issue will next be discussed in the next South Area Committee meeting, this Monday, 23 April. LibDem City Councillor Zoe O'Connell has got the County Council & Countryside to agree to come to discuss/defend how they're fixing (or not) the Busway crossing.