This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 23.
For donkey’s years, people have cycled from Chesterton to the City along the river. It’s pleasant, direct and away from traffic. Cambridge City Council was persuaded to allocate £10,000 to small improvements for cycling this year, in addition to its main cycling budget which essentially only pays for part of one big scheme annually.
Following our welcome for the cattle grids installed elsewhere a few years back, most of this budget has been spent this year on more cattle grids at three sites on the river corridor. Cyclists have been continually frustrated by gates and ‘pram arms’ or ‘pinch stiles’, especially when carrying children or when using bikes with a large basket. In some places, these are installed only to bring cyclists to a near-halt (for example in Romsey between Coleridge Road and Marmora Road), but on the commons, there really are animals that need to be kept in. Does anyone remember the animals escaping from the commons through the pinch stiles because they were ‘too thin’?
The cattle grids cost around £2,000 each. They have been installed under the Victoria Avenue bridge, at the Stourbridge Common end of Riverside and at the Green Dragon bridge at Stourbridge Common.
However, the Green Dragon bridge grid has not been without controversy, and there have been suggestions that barriers might be re-installed. The cattle grid, and the removal of the gate at the Water Lane end of the bridge, means that cyclists are arguably more likely to cycle right over the bridge, and therefore possibly inconvenience pedestrians. Of course, many cyclists have been cycling over here for years anyway, and the bridge, though not ideal, is significantly wider than most of the shared facilities that the Council is so keen to promote.