This article was published in 2018, in Newsletter 139.
S/1004/18/RM Wing Development
A detailed ‘reserved matters’ application for development of the released Green Belt land north of Newmarket Road Park & Ride and east of Ditton Lane. NCR 51 currently passes through this land, on a route known as the Jubilee Cycleway. We initially objected because the plans reduced the Cycleway to a pavement alongside a road. That has been fixed: it will remain a path through parkland.
However, problems remain with primary junctions within the site: a wide ‘shared space’ treatment is proposed for a junction of a major road, a minor road, and a bi-directional cycleway. We believe that such a layout would be hugely confusing to all users in a dangerous way: it looks like a straightforward raised table junction of two roads when in fact there is a bi-directional cycleway in parallel with the major road. Drivers will not have any indication that they should be looking out for people on foot or cycle there. If built as proposed then we expect that parents would not let their children cycle to school, and the vast and unprotected junctions would be a barrier to people with disabilities as well, much like the failed Exhibition Road scheme in London.
This is not suitable infrastructure for a ‘safe route to school’ and we have objected. The application is expected to be heard at the Joint Development Control Committee in August, and as of this writing we do not know whether the applicant will resubmit a design with protected junctions.
18/0481/OUT Land North of Cherry Hinton
This outline application has proposed a large new development on the northern edge of Cherry Hinton. Unfortunately, it has a main street planned to run through the middle of the site, with a primary school placed right next to it. This arrangement will bring pollution and traffic danger right to the heart of the settlement, next to where young children are going to school. We objected that this problem should be eliminated in the planning stages. Furthermore, the main walking and cycling paths are around the perimeter, making them less convenient than driving and more isolated. We also objected to the proposed three major junctions that connect to external roads around the site because of their very poor provision for walking and cycling: small shared-use pavements, staggered crossings and the usual lack of respect for walking and cycling movements.
Milton Road update
On 4 July the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board meeting approved the preferred option design as a basis for public consultation and further detailed design work. This is for a design that has segregated cycleways and footways for most of its length, with some grass verge protection and trees lining the street. There are also three carriageway lanes for most of the length of the road, with a bus lane leading into most major junctions. We remain concerned that the overuse of bus lanes, especially on the narrow section, has led to substandard sizes for footways, cycleways and verges. Furthermore, some promised crossings have been quietly dropped: at Downham’s Lane, near George Street and at Westbrook Drive. These and more issues will be featured in our response to the coming consultation.
We are particularly worried about the design of the proposed Elizabeth Way ‘signalised roundabout’ junction. Excessively wide carriageways here have led to extraordinary squeezing of people against the side of the highway. At two crucial points the design drops segregation and leaves only 2.9 metres of shared pavement for people walking and cycling, and it is highly likely that a Toucan-crossing signal post will have to fit in there as well. At yet another point, although segregated, both the footway and cycleway are squeezed down to 1.3m each, with a blind corner protruding into the footway. Last year a couple of volunteers measured hourly flows here of over 540 people cycling and nearly 200 walking, and both of those are expected to increase with the growth of Cambridge. It is clear that a better design must be put forward that provides more space for walking and cycling.
Histon Road update
The Histon Road preferred option design is further ahead than Milton Road and the consultation closed at the beginning of July. We have submitted our response and posted notes on our blog (see below). We touched on many areas of detailed design, including the unfortunate way the proposed bus lane squeezes the footway and cycleway, the lack of priority for the footway at side-road crossings, and the missed opportunity at the new Darwin Green junction to provide world-class protected and segregated cycling infrastructure.
Cambridgeshire Police started Operation ‘Velo’ last winter in response to the success of the Close Pass Initiative of the West Midlands Police. As we have reported in past newsletters, Operation Velo looks at close passing incidents as well as all other road user behaviours such as mobile phone usage and red light running. Near the end of June, they ran Operation Velo for the second time, staking out at Gonville Place and Queen’s Road, but did not detect any close passing of their police cyclist at all. We’ve suggested that roads like Mill Road, Cherry Hinton Road or Coldham’s Lane are more likely places to catch dangerous passing. The difficulty thus far is finding available space to pull over a car and set up the educational gear. We are working on finding suggestions for safe places to pull over on these and other roads.
Have your say
Barton and Haslingfield Greenways
As part of the Greenways project, the Greater Cambridge Partnership has launched a consultation on two new routes for walking and cycling in Barton and Haslingfield (see page 16). The consultation closes on 20 August and responses are encouraged. Visit tinyurl.com/BH-greenways
Northstowe is a newly-created town between Huntingdon and Cambridge; phase 3 of this is set to deliver around 5,000 homes to the new town. This has the potential to greatly increase traffic coming into Cambridge and current plans suggest that two crossings for non-motorised users will be under the control of County Highways without adequate crossings installed. The formal consultation has not yet been launched but you can have your say on the emerging plans here: tinyurl.com/NorthstowePhase3
Reducing air pollution in Cambridge
On 21 June, Clean Air Day, the city council launched a consultation on its Air Quality Action Plan for Cambridge with plans to reduce traffic emissions and improve public health. The draft plan, which has been developed jointly with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council, sets out priorities over the next five years for improving areas of poor air quality and maintaining areas of good air quality across the city. Proposals include promoting greener methods of goods delivery and encouraging more active travel. Find out more and have your say at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/air-quality-action-plan-consultation