Grand Arcade improvements

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 29.

We’ve reported before on proposals to rebuild a sizeable area in the City Centre, including Robert Sayle and the Lion Yard car park. We objected to the original proposals on the grounds that the proposed cycle parking provision was grossly inadequate, and opportunities to improve cycle access and safety in the area were being missed.

‘The biggest and most welcome addition is an underground cycle park’

The developers have recently submitted revised plans, and there have been some major changes. From a cycling perspective, the biggest and most welcome addition is an underground cycle park. This facility will include a small cycle shop, and space for several hundred bikes. The exact number of bike spaces isn’t clear. One letter says ‘space for up to 600 bikes’, the plans show 428 spaces, and we suspect there may not actually be room for even that many. However, it will be a significant addition, and a great benefit to cyclists needing long-term parking, such as staff working in the City Centre. There will be bicycle and pedestrian entrances from Corn Exchange Street.

The City Council hopes that this facility will be a flagship within the UK. The Cycling Campaign has been publicly credited with providing the impetus for the cycle park’s inclusion, and I think we should be proud of this success.

Image as described adjacent
The proposed contraflow cycle lane on Corn Exchange Street would join up with the car park exit lane

A contraflow cycle lane is now proposed on part of Corn Exchange Street. By joining up with the car park exit lanes, this will legalise cycling from the Market Square to Downing Street. We very much welcome this proposal, too. However, in our original objection, we also asked for two-way cycling to be allowed on Wheeler Street and Bene’t Street, and we will be repeating this request. Otherwise, the Corn Exchange contraflow lane will mainly be of use to City Council staff leaving the Guildhall, instead of opening up access from west and north Cambridge.

We will send in a response on this new consultation, welcoming the cycle park and the contraflow lane, but also commenting on access to and running of the cycle park, and the disappearance of proposals to improve short-term cycle parking, as well as the loss of roughly 75 cycle spaces currently available.

By the time you read this, the consultation on revised plans will be over, ready for the City Council’s Planning Committee to make a decision on the planning application in April.

Clare Macrae