Public meeting asks ‘Are new bus lanes the only answer?’

This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 123.

*Please note, changes have been made to this article after print publication to correct budget estimates and consultation dates.

Over the consultation period for the Cambourne to Cambridge improvements there was increasing and widespread demand from City and South Cambs residents for solutions other than those presented for consideration by the City Deal.

Edward Leigh explains the ‘Better City Deal’.
Image as described adjacent

In response to this a public meeting was held on 12 November. Chaired by Jean Glasberg, a Cambridge Cycling Campaign member and local resident, the meeting provided the opportunity to hear about alternative proposals. These related not only to the Cambourne to Cambridge corridor but more generally to future traffic infrastructure developments arising from the City Deal.

More than 200 people from the city and nearby villages attended including Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge City MP, and City Deal chair Lewis Herbert. The meeting showed how interested and invested local residents are in Cambridge’s transport systems, evident both from the attendance numbers which left standing room only and from the many questions which followed the presentations, many of which were cycling related.

The speakers

Robin Pellew, of Cambridge Past, Present & Future, spoke first in response to the consultation, followed by Francis Burkitt of ‘Cambridge BOLD’, and finally Edward Leigh of ‘Better City Deal’. Though the focus was not on cycling per se, each of the speakers highlighted the critical importance of cycling in any plan to move people into and around the city, and as a fundamental part of the solution of getting people out of their cars.

Robin Pellew stressed the best practice of segregated cycle paths that meant that City Deal proposals of shared-use bus lanes were completely unacceptable.

Francis Burkitt highlighted the Chisholm Trail as a key part in Cambridge’s cycling future, saying that a several-mile journey to work was just the sort of thing that many people would relish, and would undertake if cycleways were improved.

Edward Leigh gave a detailed explanation of how high-quality pedestrian and cycle paths could be developed linking with Madingley Park and Ride, West and North West Cambridge sites, the Coton cycle path, and villages along the A428.

Next steps

The paper consultation questionnaire produced by the City Deal did not invite alternative proposals however there have been assurances from the City Deal Assembly and Board that these are welcomed and will be considered.

It is hoped that these more imaginative and forward-looking ideas will be given due weight when the results of the consultation are reviewed.

The next traffic infrastructure works on the City Deal’s list are those on Milton Road and Histon Road. An initial budget estimate of £23 million has been earmarked for Milton Road and £4.28 million for the Histon Road works and consultations on these two projects will run concurrently from mid-December until late February. The proposals outlined by the City Deal have raised real concerns over the safety of cycling provision.

There has been a suggestion that Campaign members could form a subcommittee to help inform the Campaign’s response to these consultations, to give best representation, fact finding and spreading the word that the consultation is underway. There have been offers of help, including from one Campaign member who is not only a local resident and cyclist but also a chartered civil engineer. If you are interested in becoming involved in this working group then please get in touch with Roxanne De Beaux via contact@camcycle.org.

More information of the draft proposals to be consulted on can be found at http://www.gccitydeal.co.uk/citydeal/download/downloads/id/15/draft_options_report.pdf.

Sarah Rodger