This article was published in 2019, in Magazine 144.
Three processes are starting or being consulted on right now that will have long-term implications for walking, cycling and urban design in Cambridge and beyond. If you want to see change for the better, now is a great time to get involved. See all the ways you can take action at camcycle.org.uk/cyclingforall
Greater Cambridge Local Plan
Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council
The Local Plan is the mechanism that allows the council to guide development and do important things such as ensuring a supply of housing, protecting parkland and the green belt, requiring cycle parking and getting developers to build walking and cycling routes. Local Plans need to be reviewed every five years, and the latest review process is beginning this year. We will be developing our approach towards the upcoming consultations in conjunction with our members. Items to be considered include:
Inclusive, high-quality cycle parking
- Design and quantities needed for parking which suits all abilities and types of cycle including cargo bikes and adapted cycles.
- Management of inclusive cycle parking, e.g. a blue badge scheme?
- Reducing over-use of two-tier cycle parking.
- The need for guidance on integrating cycle parking into conservation zones so that the planning process is smooth (unlike in the example, right) and modal shift can be accelerated in light of the climate emergency.
Safe and accessible walking and cycling routes
- Protecting cycle routes on private land from being afflicted with dangerous barriers or humps.
- Strengthening personal security and junction visibility requirements for the design of cycle routes.
- Better protections of priority and fully accessible design for pedestrian routes.
- New streets should always have planted verges adjacent to carriageways, for protection and enhancement.
Local Transport Plan
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
A consultation has been quietly ticking away in the background for the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s first-ever Local Transport Plan. Although this level of government seems to be so high up that it is disconnected from ordinary life, they do have resources to put together real change for our transport system. The plan has lots of glossy and positive words about cycling, but their specific proposals are very road-heavy. Therefore, it would be worthwhile for everyone to take a few moments to respond to the consultation, which ends on 27 September.
City Deal Tranche 2 (2020-2024)
Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)
The GCP is looking to prove that it has delivered results and so gain access to the next tranche of government funding, worth £400 million. Should they do that, then the question arises of how to spend it. There are many very expensive projects that could suck up that money, such as busways. That could leave little room for high-benefit but lower profile cycling projects. This autumn we’re calling for a commitment to investment in the following three areas:
1) Continuing the network
– Greenways I
The Greenways team, delivering the GCP’s most popular project, is developing conceptual plans for a set of radial routes, with options of varying cost and quality. Should all of the most high-quality options be supported, then tens of millions of pounds could usefully be spent outfitting Cambridgeshire with some of the country’s best multi-use pathways. This could lead to a very strong increase in cycling to Cambridge from places that may currently feel somewhat cut off by dangerous roads and barriers, as well as providing world-class routes for walking and horse-riding in the countryside.
– Greenways II
Greenways II could then step up and offer what might be the most-requested item in Greenways consultations so far: circumferential routes that loop around Cambridge and connect up the necklace villages with each other, creating a true network and weaving together more of Cambridgeshire.
– Cross City Cycling II
Following on from the implementation of five schemes to improve routes to employment centres and schools, Cross City Cycling II should join up the missing links. Areas to prioritise include the south end of Arbury Road, and Nuffield Road between the new lanes on Green End Road and the Busway cycleway to Cambridge North station.
– Primary network
There are plenty of major roads in Cambridge that lack safe cycling facilities, such as Chesterton Road, East Road and Newmarket Road. Following the Milton Road and Histon Road schemes, each of those needs a fresh look too.
2) Tackling dangerous junctions
A cycle network is only as good as its weakest link and 75% of collisions involving a cycle occur at junctions. The GCP should focus on the county’s ‘crash blackspot’ list and start projects to redesign and fix each one, in order to save lives and enable more people to cycle. The current blackspots list includes the ‘McDonalds roundabout’ at Barnwell Road, the Lensfield Road double-roundabout junction, Cherry Hinton Road roundabout on the ring road and Queen’s Road roundabout at Madingley Road. Notice the theme? All of these are poorly-designed roundabouts from the 20th century that prioritise car speed over people’s safety.
3) Enabling better journeys
A bold plan is needed to reduce the number of cars coming into Cambridge and address the air pollution caused by motor traffic. The GCP has recently consulted on whether people would be interested in measures such as a congestion charge, a pollution charge, or a workplace parking levy, each of which we support. The next step is to start implementing one or more of these ideas with an aim to use the revenue generated to enable cycling for more people and provide high-quality public transport. Decisive action is needed now to ensure demand management benefits are achieved.