Chair’s comment

This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 123.

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The City Deal is in full swing with many people, myself included, complaining about consultation fatigue. When most of the early consultations could have significant benefits for people on bicycles, each and every one of these consultations is important.

At this stage, most of the consultations are around the principles of the ideas and not the details. However, in preparation for future consultations, this newsletter includes a number of articles that go into the details which will become important next year. The City Deal is all about enabling growth, building more houses, creating more jobs, and moving more people around. It is virtually impossible to place every one of these new residents into their own private motor-vehicle and expect that congestion will not get worse. However, you may be surprised by how few cars have to be removed from the roads for congestion to be significantly reduced. We also need to start considering how cycleways are constructed. One-way cycleways on both sides of the road, or a bi-directional cycleway on just one side. Or a combination of both.

Of course, the details can become ever more obscure. Those who have cycled down Huntingdon Road or Hills Road recently will probably have noticed the new kerbs used to separate the bicycle traffic from the motor traffic. These Cambridge Kerbs are very special, very bicycle-friendly, and should solve a number of issues we have on Cambridge’s narrow roads.

Some solutions to the problems of Cambridge are probably easier than rebuilding whole roads like Milton Road. Using Romsey as an example, perhaps we should aim to reduce through rat-running traffic, rationalise parking, and reconstruct the roads to reduce the hazards to those of us on two wheels.

It is also winter. Gloves and coats are now becoming necessary items of bicycle attire, as are lights. Of course, we will soon face the prospect of cycling in the dark in the city. Street lights on most residential roads will be turned off, yet ironically the main roads will have them kept on. It is almost as if the cars don’t have headlights that work in the dark. The problem to my mind is that the people who have determined the routes where the lights will be kept on have only considered the main car traffic routes and have mostly ignored the main cycle routes throughout the city.

Part of the fun of being a member of the Campaign is that you get to go places and talk to other people about the issues we all face. A good example is the Milton Country Park Autumn Festival. However, such events can’t happen unless we have volunteers who are willing to help for an hour or two a year. If you think you can help out, even if it is just for 15 minutes, then please contact us and we can work out how you could help make Cambridge a better and safer place to ride a bicycle.

Robin Heydon