Following the consultation on the Catholic Church junction (see Newsletter 106), councillors made a rapid decision in early March to ignore all the critical responses and do exactly what they had originally intended.
Though half this scheme, costing £900,000, is intended to be funded from a national cycle budget, it was made absolutely clear at the meeting and the consultation response document that cycle improvements would only be acceptable where they had no impact on traffic and that the overriding factor in deciding what to do was maintaining motor traffic capacity.
In essence the only improvement for cyclists will be a northbound cycle lane on Hills Road past the church leading into a advanced stop box. This is very welcome as this has been a source of conflict for years, with cyclists leaping onto the pavement to avoid the lengthy queues and weaving through the traffic. There is a possibility of advanced green signals here, to give cyclists a head start, but that requires special Department for Transport approval. That would go some way to addressing the main flaw in this northbound arrangement: the conflict with left-turning traffic.
On Regent Street, nothing will be done to help bikes because it would delay buses, they say (no question of timing the lights to give buses more priority, because that would delay cars). On Lensfield Road and Gonville Place advanced stop lines are proposed. But these are utterly useless because the exceptionally narrow lanes (they won’t sacrifice lanes because they must keep up motor traffic capacity) and continuously queuing traffic will make them impossible to get to, at least in any safe way.
Many of us really do feel cheated that such a huge sum of money earmarked for cycling is to be spent on something that does so little for cyclists and for which the driving force is maintaining traffic capacity.
This nasty junction has failed cyclists for a generation. Now it looks set to continue to fail them for another generation to come. The layout won’t preclude further changes in the future, but having spent nearly a million pounds on it, I don’t see anyone being willing to spend more there for years to come.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s formal response can be seen at http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/letters/2013/C13001CatholicChurchJunction.pdf