Council News

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 16.

In progress – Gwydir Street

As you may have seen in the press, there was some fuss over the introduction of the traffic lights at Gwydir Street on Mill Road. Because of minor queues, the County Council changed the phasing of the lights so that the independent phases for the two directions on Mill Road became one and the right filter was removed.

In some compensation, a right turn area for cyclists was marked to try to give some protection. Unfortunately this didn’t wear well, and had almost vanished by Christmas, but was reinstated. Let’s hope this one lasts a bit longer.

There is still some red surfacing to be done, and this will happen sometime this year when contractors are available.

Next up – Barton Road

Construction of the Barton Road cycle track will start in early March, with the wider sections we pushed for. Construction will be restricted to 100 m sections at a time to avoid too much disruption, and a temporary surface will be laid on the grass to by-pass the works – though cyclists will need to walk or use the road.

After discussions with Camsight, representing blind and partially sighted people, the cycle track will be separated by a raised white strip (except near junctions), high enough to act as a deterrent to crossing, but with bevelled edges so that if you have to you shouldn’t come to any harm. Personally I think this is better all round than the flat white stripe originally proposed.

Work will also begin on the traffic lights at the Newnham Road corner around the same time.

Coming soon – Fulbourn Road

The reaction to the South Cambridgeshire schemes for Fulbourn Road, Comberton to Barton and within Milton village, which we discussed in Newsletter 14, is to be reported to the South Cambridgeshire-County Council joint area committee this month. It is likely that the Fulbourn Road scheme will be given priority for the coming year.

This scheme would create a cycle track between Yarrow Road (the Cherry Hinton bypass) and Fulbourn. As a result of the representations we and others made, it will be recommended that the track continue over the hill into the village. We also made many detailed comments, and requested consideration of cycle lanes on the south side of Fulbourn Road from Yarrow Road to the Robin Hood at Cherry Hinton (where you will remember the forward stop lines for cyclists were constructed without approach lanes). That proposal raises a political problem, though, because it straddles the City boundary, where South Cambridgeshire’s funding stops. Also, South Cambridgeshire councillors are totally wedded to the idea of shared-use being a cyclists’ panacea.

foxgloves.jpg (14k)
Pavements like this one in the Foxgloves Estate, Cherry Hinton, are for walking, not cycling

In the meantime, I have to report that improvements to the long-standing alternative route alongside the railway are as stalled as ever. The problem is the presence of old, unmarked graves on the hospital land through which it would also have to pass.

I should also mention that Cycling Liaison Group members (including ourselves) were generally horrified at the idea from Fulbourn councillor and Labour transport spokesman David Kelleway that the narrow pavements in the Foxgloves housing estate should be designated dual use. That tired old formula that if you put up blue signs you can say you’ve satisfied cyclists. Probably a non-starter, thank goodness.

Into the future – Newmarket Rd and Hills Road

The next areas for consideration are going to be the Newmarket Road and Hills Road ‘corridors’. By this we mean not just the named roads themselves but, potentially, routes in neighbouring streets (for example, improving provision along the river for Newmarket Road). On the way out to Addenbrooke’s, there is considerable scope to form a southbound Sustrans route and there are possible routes across what is now the Government Offices site off Brooklands Avenue because the land is to be redeveloped. Combining this with Vicars Brook, maybe a quality off-road route could be formed right into the City Centre.

We need to get our act together on this to start preparing our suggestions. To this end, a new Cycling Campaign subgroup is being formed (maybe one for each, but we’ll start with just one). We will be meeting on Thursday 5 February at 8.00 pm at Mark Irving’s house, which is 74 Pierce Lane, Fulbourn. Let us know if you need directions; there is a bus in case you prefer not to cycle.

Distant dreams – A14 bridge

We’ve mentioned before that cycle bridges over the A14(T) at Milton and Histon would be two really positive developments for cycling in the north of the City. Well maybe, just maybe, we might get a bridge at Milton sometime in the future.

The County Council has considered this in the past, but the Department of Transport turned down the request for funds. Now, however, the scheme apparently lives again, with a willingness from many of the key players to take it forward. But it will be an expensive job, and getting the funding will be a hard slog. So it would be many years before it could be built.

Dave Earl

Photo of A14 Junction (8k)

Few cyclists brave the 50 mph roundabout