Safer routes to school

This article was published in 2018, in Newsletter 139.

Image as described adjacent

If it’s true that habits learned early last a lifetime and that changing travel habits requires an upheaval such as a new home, new job or new school, then we must surely campaign for schools to have excellent cycle access, to welcome would-be riders and set good habits.

Histon and Impington

To manage increasing demand, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge Primary Education Trust are currently expanding Histon and Impington Junior School to become an all-through primary school. In addition, they are developing proposals for a second primary school within the villages. The proposal is for 420 primary places, with an additional 52 early years places, located north of the villages adjacent to the B1049 on land belonging to Buxhall Farm.

We are responding to make sure that the school’s access for parking and drop-offs/pick-ups does not compromise the well-used Cottenham shared-use path. Our recommendation is for gentle curves leading to a set-back crossing for best sightlines between drivers and cyclists, with a continuous raised surface for the path to show its clear priority over the school access. This is consistent with crossings seen elsewhere on the path.

The developers recognise that a majority of pupils will need to arrive on foot or by cycle for the school to be successful. To this end we are also pushing for a number of infrastructure improvements to be delivered alongside the school: formal crossings of Glebe Way, improved road markings, and measures to reduce speeds.

Newmarket Road

Cambridgeshire County Council, in collaboration with Anglian Learning, are also conducting early consultation on a new primary school as part of the 1,300-home Wing development (see Current Campaigns). The proposed school site, adjacent to the Newmarket Road Park & Ride, will accommodate 420 pupils, with an additional 52-place early years nursery. Construction is due to commence in the first half of 2019 and to be completed alongside the Phase 1 delivery of 500 homes.

In this case the school is part of a new development, so walking and cycling access does not have to be retrofitted into existing infrastructure. There is potential for excellent provision to maximise the number of pupils able to arrive on foot or by cycle. We will recommend that the school be situated away from polluting and dangerous roads. Vehicular access should be via the periphery of the development with through routes blocked to motor vehicles. Cycle and pedestrian connectivity through the site would provide a safe environment for journeys to the school.

Nuffield Road

At the Shirley School, we have been working with parents to improve cycle access as part of the changes to the Green End Road area. Discussion had centred around any proposed cycling scheme delivering better commuter links to Cambridge North Station. Pressure has ensured equal emphasis is placed on enhancing the environment for children and parents walking and cycling to the school: it is clear that the current proposal for painted on-road cycle lanes, unfit for this purpose, is now unlikely to go ahead. In collaboration with parents we are promoting an alternative layout that provides a segregated bi-directional cycle path to enable active journeys to the school.

Tom McKeown