From the archive: Local campaign unlocks hidden need for cycling improvements

This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 148.

Image as described adjacent
Image as described adjacent

A10 Corridor Cycling: campaigning works

An abridged version of the article from Newsletter 115 (August – September 2014)

The A10 corridor between Cambridge and Royston has seen a phenomenal level of activity around cycling improvements since a campaign was established in January 2013. Up until then, upon exiting Cambridge southward on a bicycle, one entered a world set back in cycling time: nothing at all had been done to the A10 for more years than anyone could remember, and even how to initiate discussion on ideas such as cycle space in village high streets, or safe links between rural villages on 60mph stretches of road, was a mystery. The odd Minor Highways Improvement Grant bid led nowhere.

Through rail campaigning, a recurring theme emerged around helping cyclists to access rail, and linking up sustainable transport options. Meanwhile, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign provided a foundation of experience and advice. With the support of Patrick Joyce, Jim Chisholm and Rohan Wilson, an invitation to test the waters for improvements to cycling on the A10 between Cambridge and Royston drew a packed house one mid-winter evening. Cyclists came to the meeting in Meldreth from Royston, Grantchester, Harston, Heydon, Melbourn, Shepreth, Barrington, and elsewhere, the most forceful voices belonging to those who were commuting between Royston and the villages for work, out of economic necessity: ‘I have to cycle and I want to stay alive’.

The new A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign discovered instantly the meaning of ‘suppressed demand’. By its first anniversary a 1km long, 2.5m-wide stretch of off-road cycle path had been created between Shepreth and Foxton – thanks to a county Cycling Ambition Grant bid for ‘Cycle Links to Foxton Station,’ which fulfilled the requirement of joined-up sustainable transport links.

The A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign recognises that the most effective way to attract funding is to look at the corridor as a whole and then at achievable sub-sections within it. The focus currently is on a safe cycle link between Melbourn and Royston: a one-mile stretch between Melbourn and the A505 roundabout, linking Royston Industrial centre, Melbourn Science Park and many other business areas on both ends. This will require an off- road cycle path within Cambridgeshire, and a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A505 in Hertfordshire, and so an integral component of the campaign has been to forge a relationship with Hertfordshire County Council and the Sustrans Hertfordshire area team. By our next meeting on 15 October we hope to have a fairly detailed idea of how the pieces of the puzzle may fit together.

We would be delighted to have new members join our campaign – membership is free, so please get in touch by email at contacta10cycle@gmail.com and ask to join the mailing list. We meet quarterly – details on our website, A10corridorcycle.com

Susan van de Ven

  • Watch the video of our monthly meeting in August 2020 to hear Susan speaking about the campaign’s successes and latest news at camcycle.org.uk/videos