I have been spending a lot of time over the last couple of months discussing the Hills Road and Huntingdon Road traffic schemes.
I have attended the city area committee meetings, our own monthly meeting and stakeholder meetings, where county council officers have presented the plans. I’ve attended a number of internal Campaign discussions, as well as contributing to the online discussions.
We have had a lot of lively discussion on issues such as whether 2.1m lanes are wide enough for overtaking, how to make right-hand turns from a fully segregated lane, how to highlight priority at side roads. It is clear that there is room for improvement in the detail, and the Campaign has spent a lot of time debating these issues.
That should not detract from the principles of the schemes. Dedicated space for cycling, separate from motor traffic and pedestrians, is the goal. The significance of the schemes is in wide acceptance of the need for protected space, to start to build a network that is suitable for everyone to cycle, from 5 to 95. While the final design is key to the success of implementation, there will be further iterations of design, if demand for the principle is clear.
There has also been discussion outside the Campaign, particularly focusing on the island bus stops. This has been a little surprising to those of us who spend a lot of time looking at cycle infrastructure abroad, where such bus stops are a common, decades-old solution to the problem of bicycle and bus interaction. To many people they appear a new idea, but I am sure that once it no longer looks like a novel experiment they will become an important feature. There is no reason that something that works in Denmark and the Netherlands and Brighton and London should not work in Cambridge as well. This will also be a welcome solution to the problem of the existing bus stops on Hills Road which have passengers leaving the bus directly into a cycle lane.
In the past couple of years we have been campaigning more strongly for more ambitious cycling infrastructure. Priority over side roads, island bus stops and dedicated space for cycling are signs that the county are upping their game on cycling projects
The consultations close on 7 April, so if you have not done so already, please do respond.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAi6SGG37v4 County council video of proposals
See also the next article.