The cow pat route

Cattle grids prevent animals blocking the subway under the railway
A cattle grid makes access to the common much easier as well, instead of the gate…

Coldham’s Common has acquired cattle grids. These were installed in the last couple of months by the City Council around the dip under the railway bridge in the middle of the common, to try to stop the animals congregating under the bridge. Unsurprisingly, people were finding these intimidating. We were very pleased to see that cattle grids were installed, rather than swing gates which had been rumoured to be on the cards at one early stage.

Another cattle grid has been installed at the exit onto Coldham’s Lane, replacing the need to use the heavy and awkward swing gate there. Top marks to the Council for these two helpful measures.

At Coldham’s Lane…

The Coldham’s Common path, though somewhat narrow and bumpy, forms a well used link between Romsey and the Station in the south and Chesterton and Riverside in the north. It is also interesting therefore to see that both ends of the path have plans in the pipeline.

In the immediate future, the County Council has a budget to spend some money on the junction of Coldham’s Lane and Cromwell Road, just alongside the site of the new cattle grid. They propose to install traffic lights, in a pretty standard way (except for a slightly odd ‘U’ turn being included for traffic which would otherwise want to turn right out of tiny Coldham’s Road). Advanced stop lines with approach lanes are proposed.

Less satisfactory, though, is the lack of integration with the Coldham’s Common path. Firstly, the expectation is that you will turn into a wheeled pedestrian to use the junction, rather than the path being treated as one arm of a cross roads. If you followed the designer’s intention, you’d then ride round the corner of Cromwell Road on the pavement.

But the desire line is such that a lot of people simply wouldn’t do that, but rather try to cross at a suitable light change. Northbound it is less clear what you are intended to do, and cyclists turning right from the common onto Coldham’s Lane are not catered for at all: the assumption seems to be that all cyclists will go north-south or east-west.

…and at Newmarket Road

At the other side of the common, tentative plans are being developed to improve the link across Newmarket Road railway bridge giving cyclists access to the Riverside area and Green Dragon Bridge. The idea is to take some of the wide motor vehicle lanes across the bridge and down to the pelican crossing and replace with a much wider two-way cycle track, possibly independent of the footway. As it is hard to cross Newmarket Road further into town, this is a popular manoeuvre for all kinds of cyclist but the path is very narrow and has a strange dip in it.

This is part of other improvements planned along Newmarket Road further out of town. Here, we have been trying to look for a solution that will provide segregation without the disadvantages of continual Give Ways at side roads. We may yet be able to find an answer that will satisfy most people.

Also in the area, Sustrans and Marshall’s are looking for a way to provide a link between the Park and Ride site at Newmarket Road and Riverside, complementing Newmarket Road itself. If there were actually any bike racks at the Park and Ride site, this would then provide a pleasant, relatively car-free ride into the city.

David Earl