After deferring a decision on this junction in June, the Environment and Transport Committee turned down any changes at their October meeting, at least for this year. Lobbying councillors, writing many letters of support, a personal meeting with the Chairman of the committee, and one of the worst cycle accident records in the county all failed to persuade councillors to replace the dual mini-roundabouts with traffic lights.
Ostensibly, the reason for their decision was the possibility of extending the core traffic scheme (see Bridge Street) to Silver Street, as well as proposed Sustrans cycle route from the City to Addenbrooke’s. However, I don’t believe it. I think this was a political decision and that the facts could not have changed Conservative councillors’ minds. As you know, the County Council changed hands in May. Cambridge has no Conservative County Councillors and I think the Committee was putting a political ‘stake in the ground’ to show they are not the same as their predecessors, and at the same time looking to their rural roots, even though Cambridge is where most of the problems are
The problem will not go away, however. The scoring system (which takes into account casualties, as well as factors like environmental impact of any changes, level of service, and so on) put this junction at number four last year (see Spot Treatment). One of the higher ones is ruled out, and number one was the all-encompassing ‘speed cameras’. However, I understand that, sadly, the casualty count this year may push Lensfield Road – Trumpington Street back to the top. Interestingly the Mill Road (Brookfields) and Perne Road junction, which was the top site last year, is very similar: a mini-roundabout with high cycle use, mostly across the main traffic flow. Yet this has been approved for changes with barely a murmur, which only strengthens my opinion.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the committee meeting was a comment by one councillor that one way of solving the problem would be for cyclists not to use the junction. It would be putting it charitably to say that this councillor did not understand the issue before the committee.