Work has begun to reconstruct the junction by the Catholic Church at the city centre end of Hills Road. It will take several months. As we reported previously, this will improve matters for cyclists heading into town, who will have a cycle lane to reach an advanced stop line at the lights, and the left-turn slip will be removed.
We also understand that innovative advanced green signals to give cyclists a head start here have been approved by the Department for Transport. The Secretary of State for Transport said in Parliament on 26 June: ‘DfT officials are working closely with Transport for London on a project trialling a range of new measures, including low-level signals for cyclists. We are also working with Cambridgeshire County Council, who are trialling the use of cycle filter signals’. This should avoid a lot of the conflict arising from cars wanting to turn left across the path of straight-ahead cyclists and we hope will set a precedent for use elsewhere in Cambridge.
Nevertheless, we have been very critical of this scheme, especially as it is a very expensive change funded out of a cycle budget, when it will otherwise do so little for cyclists. The ring-road approaches do nothing for cyclists. While they will have advanced stop lines, there will be no way for cyclists to reach them. All the very narrow traffic lanes are being retained, as the county council cabinet made it clear that maintaining traffic capacity was their overriding objective in reconstructing the junction. Southbound out of Regent Street is being made more of a free-for-all than at present, without clear lane markings.
The roadworks have already caused some hold-ups – we think due to problems at other roadworks rather than at this junction. We expect people will find alternative routes as they get used to them and delays will be reduced, as happened at the Hills Road bridge reconstruction. That, of course, begs the question if you can do it for several months, why not permanently?