This article was published in 2013, in Newsletter 107.
It is generally agreed that the gyratory system at Mitcham’s Corner is a blot on the landscape of Cambridge, involving a long journey around the one-way system to get from one major road to another, especially if you want to go three-quarters of the way around the system. Traffic approaching from Victoria Road, Milton Road, Chesterton Road and Victoria Avenue feeds into a one-way system around a row of terraced houses and a commercial site, a system of many traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, where cyclists can share (some) pavements with pedestrians to take short cuts across the central area.
If the city council can come up with a plan for the Eastern Gate (remodelling of the junction of Newmarket Road, East Road and Elizabeth Way) we feel they could do the same for Mitcham’s Corner. As long ago as 2003 the council produced a 71-page planning brief showing modelling of three or four road layouts. (It can be found on www.cambridge.gov.uk under Planning applications/Further planning advice.)
With a large planning application submitted for the Staples site and the prospect of Section 106 monies, now surely is the right time to look seriously at the issue. Others think so too. In the autumn, at one of its monthly meetings, the Campaign heard a presentation by one of its members with some back-of-the envelope ideas. These included closing Victoria Avenue to traffic from the south and opening up Chesterton Road to two-way traffic with changes to the road layout around Springfield Road. The ideas were energetically discussed by those present.
Then in December Cambridge University’s Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment programme organised some workshops for planning students, architects and professionals, who also came up with two proposals. These can be seen at www.camcycle.org.uk/blog/2013/02/11/
Both options require some terraced houses to be demolished. This would then provide a road through from Victoria Avenue to Milton Road. Chesterton Road would become two-way. If Barclays Bank were demolished, a new pedestrian/cycle bridge across the river to Jesus Green could be built. Lots more trees and greenery could be provided on both sides of Chesterton Road (between Victoria Avenue and Croft Home Lane). Radical ideas. Although we can argue over the detail, the main thing now is to get the concept accepted and create the political to bring it about.