As we reported previously, Cambridgeshire County Council last year became a partner in an EU cycling project known as Two Seas which is to make some improvements for cycling in countries on both sides of the North Sea and share information about the process, outcomes and best practice. (OK, Cambridgeshire is not exactly coastal, but who’s quibbling: apparently it still counts if you’re one county inland, which seems pretty inclusive). At a bit under £400,000 for our county and £2.8 million in all, the funding is not to be sniffed at. The project runs until 2014.
A progress meeting was held in Cambridge in late November, which I attended. Being in Cambridge the event was naturally Cambridge-focussed and was designed to be quite ‘hands on’ rather than just an update.
Delegates represented the partners from:
- Southend (Essex)
- Middelburg (south-west Netherlands) and Zeeland (ditto)
- Kortrijk-Mobiel (a social enterprise running cycle hire/repair/cycle parks in Belgium)
- Boulogne sur Mer (France)
- Communauté d’agglomération du Boulonnais (France)
- Mairie de Neufchâtel-Hardelot (France)
- Cambridge (City and County)
The two main foci of the meeting were improving the route to Madingley and addressing some of the large junctions on the ring road (we looked at Brooks Road/Coldhams Lane and Perne Road/Radegund Road). Riding out to those places also gave the team an opportunity to show off some of Cambridge’s infrastructure on a gorgeous spring-like day.
Madingley is important not just because of the village and the University departments there, but also because it is the only viable link at the moment to Bar Hill. The problem is the speed and volume of traffic along the road behind the American Cemetery and especially the junction at Madingley Road. It might perhaps be possible to close the road to through traffic, as it is only marginally further by car to use the main road. Or perhaps make it one-way and release half the space for a cycleway. Hopefully, whatever happens, the cycleway on the north side of Madingley Road can be extended beyond where construction stopped at Madingley Rise last year!
The roundabouts on the ring road are long-standing barriers to cycle movements. The traffic is moving fast (usually) and the bulk of the motor traffic is across the cycle flow. Coleridge School is just round the corner from the Radegund Road junction.
Personally, I would replace these junctions with straightforward traffic lights rather than try to find intricate and fiddly solutions involving cyclists going round separate paths on the roundabouts – though maybe by Sainsbury’s there is scope to use the centre of the roundabout along with more and much better placed signal-controlled crossings. It will be interesting to see what other delegates propose.