Cycles to be forced off Grange Road

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 28.

It looks as though City Council officers are pressing ahead with their plans to force hundreds of cyclists off Grange Road and onto the pavement, despite our objections.

‘Southbound cyclists will get a very much worse deal’

The council’s proposals were described in Newsletter 26, and we continue to be very worried about them. At about a dozen places along the length of Grange Road, wide buildouts will be installed to reduce traffic to a single lane, with give-way lines to show who has priority.

Northbound cyclists will benefit from a cycle lane, and the buildouts on the northbound side will have a gap on the left to allow cyclists to get past easily.

Southbound cyclists will get a very much worse deal. According to council officers, the provision of a northbound cycle lane makes the remaining carriageway too narrow for southbound motor vehicles to overtake cycles safely. However, rather than rethink the scheme, council officers have decided that southbound cyclists should ride on the pavement instead, and refused to provide any gaps to allow southbound cyclists to avoid the buildouts.

Minor improvements are planned for the existing shared-use pavement on the southbound side. However, there are no plans to widen the path, which is less than 2 m wide in places. This will be totally inadequate for carrying all southbound cyclists, some northbound cyclists, and pedestrians as well, especially given that this part of Cambridge has some of the highest levels of cycle traffic in the country.

We have written to the City Council objecting to their proposal to make the carriageway so unpleasant for southbound cyclists. We said that we would rather lose the northbound cycle lane than see southbound cyclists forced onto the pavement. We have been careful to say that although we welcome the improvements to the shared-use pavement, we believe that it will be totally inadequate for the volume of traffic that the council expects to use it.

City and County Councillors will be considering this scheme at a joint committee meeting, probably in April. We will be writing to councillors ahead of this meeting, expressing our concern at one of the most cycle-unfriendly traffic schemes seen in Cambridge for many years.

Nigel Deakin