Chair’s comment

This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 119.

It sure is an interesting time in the world of cycling in Cambridge. Consider the recent decision by the City Deal Board to not fund any bicycle routes that would allow people to cycle more than two miles. Two-thirds of the people cycling in South Cambridgeshire do more than this every day. Thousands of people are proving the board wrong. We argue that these routes are economically important for everybody.

We look at the problems caused by building terrible bicycle infrastructure. A good case in point is the ‘other busway’ between Luton and Dunstable. Built by the same people, it even has a maintenance track. But simple design choices have made it less than useful. It doesn’t provide a viable alternative to sitting in traffic jams.

We also have lots of discussion about buses. This may appear strange for an organisation that cares about people cycling. This is because the City Deal Board has prioritised bus transport along major routes. I fear this may mean removing bicycle lanes and replacing them with bus lanes, as well as removing trees. This is despite buses being less space-efficient than bicycles, and most of the delays occurring at junctions and at bus stops. We also consider that the best way to solve the bus priority problem is to stop congestion happening at those junctions and stops in the first place.

Of course, it is not all bad news. Work has finally started on the new Cycle Point at the old station. I’m hoping that my prediction of its 3,000 spaces filling up won’t be reached too quickly. I did an entirely unscientific count of bicycles parked at the station the other week and counted over 1,000 at about lunch time. Admittedly, some of those were hanging from a forklift truck moving them around the building site. Once the Cycle Point is open, I’m sure we’ll all be happy. But until then we have that excellent game of ‘find my bicycle parking’ to play.

Work on the new station is going to be delayed. These delays are mostly self-imposed. The station has moved from being a county council project to being a Network Rail project. This means at least a four-month delay so that Network Rail can reapply for planning permission. But it also means that there is a significant opportunity to educate the railway infrastructure company about safe cycle routes to the new station, and not just ignore those who cycle to a station.

Campaigning for cycling is not getting any easier, but with your help we can at least make sure that everybody knows the facts, and the ideas we have for solving Cambridge’s traffic problems.

Robin Heydon