City Deal

This article was published in 2014, in Newsletter 117.

Early in October it was announced that councillors are starting to discuss specific proposals for the use of the first £100 million of the City Deal.

The City Deal allows the greater Cambridge area to borrow money from central government, over 5 years initially, to fund infrastructure to support growth.

Proposals for the fund include:

A428 corridor (Cambourne)

A428 to M11 segregated bus links (est. £13 million)
A428 route Park & Ride (est. £11.5 million)
Madingley Road bus priority measures (est. £34.6 million)
Bourn Airfield/Cambourne busway link (est. £28.8 million)

A1307 corridor (Haverhill)

A1307 bus priority measures (est. £36 million)
Additional Park & Ride capacity (est. 7.2 million)

Pedestrian and cycle links – City

Chisholm Trail links – cycle links parallel to the railway line north of Cambridge station (est. £3 million)
City centre capacity improvements (est. £7.2 million)
Cross-city cycle improvements (est. 15.5 million)

Cambridge radial roads – Milton Road/Histon Road

Histon Road, Cambridge bus priority (est. £4.3 million)
Milton Road, Cambridge bus priority (est. £23 million)

Cambridge radial roads – Hills Road

Project Cambridge, Hills Road – Improvements to Hills Road and Station Road to improve bus, cycle and pedestrian access (est. £25.8 million)

Western Orbital route around Cambridge

Improve bus access (est. £23 million)

Pedestrian and cycle networks – inter-urban

Cambridge to Royston cycle link (est. £7.2 million)

We are very pleased to see a number of cycling projects proposed, included the long campaigned-for Chisholm Trail.

However, we are concerned that some of the proposals, such as bus priority on Madingley Road, Histon Road and Milton Road, might rule out the possibility of good cycling infrastructure on these routes in the future.

It’s hard to know without any detailed proposals, but we would be very concerned if this meant there was no space left for proper segregated cycle lanes, or if it left people on bikes to share with buses or pedestrians.

Sharing with buses puts off all but the most confident cyclists, and can push some of those that remain to illegal pavement cycling. Sharing with pedestrians leads to disjointed unattractive routes for people on bikes, and is disliked by pedestrians, especially vulnerable ones.

Indeed, those roads proposed for bus priority are the best, and most necessary, candidates for segregated cycleways.

It is notable that the proposed cycle projects are comparatively low cost. Cycle infrastructure offers excellent value for money: cycle routes do not need to be built to the standard required to support heavy vehicles, and take up less space for the number of people they can transport. They offer door-to-door convenience for users, and take pressure off the rest of the transport network. There are also knock-on benefits to health budgets from an active population, and lower urban air pollution.

Now is the time to address the council officers and councillors for what you think the money should be spent on.

Hester Wells