Hills Road

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 20.

We said in Newsletter 19 that there were proposals for a bus priority scheme in Hills Road and Babraham Road in connection with the new Park and Ride site that is to be built beyond Addenbrooke’s. Since then we have compiled a detailed response for the County Council.

We told them that we were generally in favour of the principle of the scheme but had reservations about the detail. The main points we made were that:

Disintegrating red surfacing on Hills Road
Image as described adjacent
  • There are numerous Advanced Stop Lines proposed to help cyclists. Many of these do not include approach lanes, though. We felt this was not helpful. In line with our recent document on the subject, we asked for approach lanes.
  • Some new left-turn-only lanes were being proposed as part of the scheme. As we have highlighted, these pose particular difficulties for cyclists. In our opinion, they need to be re-thought, either to omit them, or to provide suitable protection for cyclists. One reason these are popular with planners is that they allow left turns and straight-on movements to be signalled independently.
  • We felt that the proposal for a shared-use path on the Homerton College section of Hills Road was a misdirection of funds. The accident problem on this section is with cars, especially those travelling south, turning left into the side roads across the path of cyclists. Providing a shared-use footway might take a few cyclists off the road, but conflict would remain at junctions, and the plans do nothing to improve their safety for the majority remaining on the road.
  • We thought the priority should be to reduce speeds on Hills Road and provide greater separation of the cycle lane from the traffic, by widening the cycle lanes and providing some ‘buffering’ in the form of a super-wide white line or lines or textured paving or some such. Further emphasis of the cycle lane is also required at junctions. Indeed, the existing red surfacing, some of the earliest done in the city, has decayed to the point where it has become almost invisible. Following comments from a number of regular users about its abysmal condition, we also said that the whole section of road needed re-surfacing.
  • We asked for additional cycle lanes southbound between Station Road and the railway bridge to complete the missing section. We discussed the problems posed by restricting the short cut to the station past Camtax.

You may recall that there are two options for Babraham Road: widening to form a bus lane, or taking the buses round via Worts’ Causeway to avoid the queues. We offered no particular preference for either of these, but said that the associated cycle facilities need to be constructed appropriately whichever is chosen.

Addenbrooke’s Roundabout
Image as described adjacent

However, we did make a definite choice in favour of taking the road across the Addenbrooke’s roundabout, rather than adapting the existing traffic flow with new signals and lanes. We felt that this offered better opportunities for providing properly both for cyclists travelling across the route into Addenbrooke’s and for those heading to and from town and the Park and Ride site.

If anyone would like a copy of our full report, it is available on the web in PDF format, or we can let you have a paper copy. Councillors will consider comments at the Area Committee meeting on 5 October, but we expect that we will be discussing the details of what we are saying with Council officers well beyond that.

David Earl