Busway path needs urgent widening to improve walking and cycling

This article was published in 2019, in Magazine 145.

Photoshop montage showing a way to widen the Busway path near Cambridge Assessment, to provide separate areas for cyclists and pedestrians. A suspended section for part of the pedestrian path would allow the route to continue past the Kaleidoscope development.
Image as described adjacent

A total of 678 cycles and 541 pedestrians in one hour on a 3m-wide path with a post in the middle of it next to a bus route so close that wing mirrors hang over the kerb. It sounds like a recipe for disaster. I’ve seen it and I’m amazed that serious incidents don’t happen on a daily basis. But let’s go back a bit. When the Busways were planned there was to be a gravelled road beside the guideways for service access. Thanks to Camcycle that road was tarmacked and cyclists and pedestrians were allowed to use it. It wasn’t realised at the time that both the route to St Ives and the route to Trumpington Park & Ride car park would become hugely popular cycle and pedestrian routes. And therein lies the difficulty. They weren’t designed for what they have become, and certainly not for the levels of traffic that parts of them handle. A cyclist has been killed and a pedestrian seriously injured and both are directly attributable to over-crowding. Something needs to be done.

Over the summer a group of us rode the route from Trumpington to Cambridge station and discussed some of the issues. Cyclescape has hosted further ideas-sharing and, in an unguarded moment at a later meeting, I heard myself say that I would collate ideas and co-ordinate action.

When the Busway was planned, it wasn’t realised that both the route to St Ives and the route to Trumpington Park & Ride would become hugely popular cycle and pedestrian routes

We now have a series of proposals for the improvement of the southern Busway. The main thing we are asking for is an additional 2m footpath, in addition to the present path (where possible), from the start of the Busway tracks south to the crossing with Drury Avenue. The present path would be turned over to cyclists. We also suggest remodelling the crossing with Hobson/ Lime Avenue, and ideas for upgrading the Addenbrooke’s spur junction.

But the main objective is increasing the capacity of the path and separating the (slower) pedestrians from the (faster) cyclists – just as we would like to see proper separation of (faster) cars and (slower) cyclists on the roads. It won’t be easy – particularly where it is needed most, just south of the Hills Road bridge where there is very little space – but it is urgent. It is only a matter of time before 678 cycles and 541 pedestrians in one hour on a 3m path means someone else gets hurt.

One of the reasons the path has become overloaded is because one large Cambridge employer has taken real steps to encourage its staff to make sustainable commuting choices. With the Greater Cambridge Partnership saying one in four car journeys need to be switched to active travel or public transport, we need to be ready for even more of this!

Alan Ackroyd

From Long Road bridge to the Addenbrooke’s junction, we would like to see 2m footway, a 500mm verge, a 3m cycleway and a 500mm separation adjacent to the Busway. At the busiest section near Cambridge Assessment, we’d like to see a 4m cycleway where space allows.
Image as described adjacent


  • Join the discussion and view our full list of proposals on Cyclescape thread 4239.
  • We’ve started meeting with local councillors and other stakeholders to get the project moving. If you use the Trumpington Busway path, please contact your councillor with your experiences and back our proposals.
  • Keep an eye on the weekly email – we might be calling out for some extra support soon!