This article was published in 1997, in Newsletter 15.
Newmarket Road – Elizabeth Way roundabout
I read with interest Nigel Deakin’s article on the Newmarket Rd -Elizabeth Way roundabout in the October CCC newsletter. I would agree with his comment that pressure to force cyclists through the pedestrian subways should be resisted.
In this respect, I’d like to point out what causes me particular annoyance, and danger, when I cycle through that junction from East Road to Elizabeth Way every morning. The problem is the bollard which ends the cycle lane just after the St Matthew’s Street traffic lights. While it would be fine if I wanted to go up on the pavement and use the subway, it gives me the choice of trying to fight my way back into the traffic, or not to use the section of cycle lane after the lights. I chose the latter option, and continue the remaining 70m to the roundabout in the middle lane, because I then go straight on. However, as a result, I am often subjected to abuse from motorists, sometimes aggressive and dangerous overtaking.
I would like to see the offending bollard removed, so that I could go straight on from the cycle lane into the inside lane approaching the roundabout, and then move out to the middle lane much later. At the time I go past, traffic coming out of the Grafton Centre car park along the inside lane is not a concern, but it should be possible to control that problem with an additional light, out of phase with the St Matthew’s Street junction.
The bad lane discipline at the roundabout is another issue, and I hope that the new scheme will succeed in improving things.
In response to David Clarke’s query about how to deal with bus aggro, you might like to know that I wrote to Stagecoach Cambus in July to complain about a Park and Ride bus driver cutting into the little cycle lane in the middle of Jesus Lane that allows cyclists to turn right into Malcolm Street. This driver almost knocked me off my bike. I actually got a very positive response from Chris Moderate, the Operations Manager. To quote:
‘As a Company, we set high standards with our employees, any feedback from the public or customers is taken most seriously. Following your letter, the driver has been seen over this incident and reminded of the need to be extra vigilant. In addition, I will have this driver monitored by one of my Inspectors. Please accept my apologies, on behalf of the Company, for the distress caused and may I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.’
I can’t tell how much this was genuine or whether it was just a good bit of PR, but it seems worth following up each individual incident with a letter, especially if a driver gives verbal abuse as well as driving dangerously. Chris Moderate can be written to at Stagecoach Cambus, 100 Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 4DN.
I am returning [the Bridge Street postcards] as I certainly do not support the Bridge Street closure scheme and was surprised to see David Earl writing to the Cambridge Evening News in support of it.
The only road to benefit is Bridge Street and this seems to me a thoroughly selfish attitude. All other roads report increased volumes of traffic. Silver Street, in particular, which has always been a dangerous narrow road for cyclists, has noticed a huge increase.
Apart from added risks to cyclists in these further overcrowded roads due to the Bridge Street closure, there is the added pollution caused by cars having to take longer journeys than when it was open – and yes, sometimes I do need to use my car!
As you can see, I think it is a ludicrous proposal.