Councils’ Cobbles

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 16.

Photo of Burleigh Street Cobblestones (15k)

Before Christmas, we phoned the City Council to ask for the gaps between cobblestones at the Boat Race end of Burleigh Street to be filled in. In recent months, they’d become increasingly dangerous to cycle over, as it was impossible to avoid front wheels getting stuck in the gaps. As a result, the gaps have been filled in very effectively, I feel. Thanks to staff at the Mill Road Depot for arranging this.

(Actually, technically speaking, you can cycle out of Burleigh Street, into East Road, but you can’t cycle into Burleigh Street at the same junction, because there’s a no-entry sign, with no exception for bikes.)

Also, Dave Earl recently reported that a fallen tree was blocking the cycle track on the A10, near Foxton, and that was cleared by the next morning. We are assured that the Councils rely on reports from members of the public, for such problems to be recorded, and I was certainly pleased with these responses.

However, the Burleigh Street exercise has raised some interesting issues for me. I’d been wanting to report this problem for months, but have found that whenever I think of reporting something, I’m left wondering whether to call the County Council or the City Council. Members often report that the County tells them to contact the City, and then the City tells them to contact the County! Campaign member Richard Taylor has been trying to get a pothole report-card scheme going, but has been struggling to find a single address to which they could be sent. I’d like to see a single Cambridge phone number, and a single address, clearly publicised, to act as a clearing house for all such reports, to remove this discouragement.

And whilst I’m on the subject of cobblestones, I notice that the ones outside the NatWest bank on St Andrews Street are deteriorating already, after only a year or two. If cobblestones are to be used, for aesthetic reasons, perhaps we could have the ‘staggered’, and very close-set, arrangement we saw recently in Groningen. They were considerably easier to cycle over, and were used all over the City.

Staggeringly good Dutch cobblestones

Photo of Groningen Cobblestones (7k)

Clare Macrae