Hills Road – cycleways approved

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 29.

On 24 January, councillors at the Cambridge Environment and Transport Area Joint Committee voted to approve plans to build cycle tracks in Hills Road and Babraham Road:

  • A dual use footway/cycleway along the west side of Hills Road between Worts Causeway and the Addenbrooke’s roundabout, subject to negotiations with Addenbrooke’s.
  • A segregated dual use footway/cycleway along the west side of Hills Road between Purbeck Road and Long Road

In addition, councillors voted:

  • To consult with frontagers on the provision of a dual use footway/cycleway along the west side of Hills Road between the Addenbrooke’s roundabout and Long Road.
  • To recommend to the South Cambridgeshire Area Joint Committee the provision of an unsegregated dual use cycleway between the Park and Ride site entrance and Hinton Way, Great Shelford.

More continuous

There is already a unsegregated dual use footway/cycleway on the east side of Babraham Road between Hinton Way and Worts Causeway. The combined effect of these schemes will therefore be to provide a continuous off-road cycle route between Hinton Way (about a mile south of Addenbrooke’s) and Purbeck Road (just north of Homerton College).

One of the first signs of spring – a row of identical hire bikes outside a foreign language school on Regent Terrace. We hope to publish an article by Maree Richards (see below) about their safety on our roads, next Newsletter.

However, cyclists will have to cross the road twice: at the Park and Ride site (using a new crossing) and at Worts Causeway (using the existing pelican). Cyclists will also have to cross the Addenbrooke’s entrance (no help is proposed here) and Long Road (using the existing pedestrian signals).

Cyclists using the cycleway may have to endure some long waits: we have been told that because of the signal phasing at the Long Road junction, cyclists using the cycleway will have to wait longer to cross Long Road than they would if they had stayed on the road.

An improvement

Overall, this scheme is a considerable improvement on the council’s original proposals. These would have provided a number of isolated sections of cycleway, and we criticised them as being a poor use of funds. The more continuous route now approved will be popular with many cyclists. However we believe that the quality is still inadequate, with too many awkward road crossings, and it will be significantly less convenient and slower than the road. Let us be clear: cyclists are entitled to far better cycle provision than this.

Hills Road already has cycle lanes on both sides between the Addenbrooke’s roundabout and Cherry Hinton Road. County Council officers have reassured us that the council has no plans to remove them, and they accept that many cyclists will continue to find the road faster and more convenient.

We have reminded the council that these cycle lanes have a very worn and uneven surface, especially southbound. However, the cycleways budget cannot be spent on cycleway maintenance, and since the council’s maintenance budget is so small, we may have to wait a long time for any improvement.

Nigel Deakin