City Centre traffic schemes

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 32.

It is a year since the bollards went in on Emmanuel Road – apart from being bashed out again by motorists who are incapable of seeing the three sets of no-entry signs, flashing lights and red markings. The Council said that it would review the arrangements after a year, and it is doing so now.

We welcomed many of the changes when they were originally proposed, and some small changes were made in response to our comments at the time. Other criticisms remain, however, and much of our response this time will be re-iterating these.

Inevitably the changes have also shown some unexpected results. For example, the congestion and conflict in Clarendon Street caused by traffic that has to use it to escape when it is confronted by the barrier. The legal position of cycling between Clarendon Street and Fair Street has also been shown to be unclear.

Image as described adjacent
Work in Bridge Street still allows cyclists through – most of the time.

Some things that should have happened haven’t (yet). Signing to show how traffic should reach each part of the City Centre hasn’t been installed, though councillors have agreed it. And there is still a No Entry sign in the wrong place at the re-worked cycle gap at the end of King Street.

We said that Maid’s Causeway needed attention, and cyclists specifically needed protection from the build out at the Fair Street crossing. This hasn’t happened, but we can still see no reason why it shouldn’t.

We were also promised that protection at the sudden narrowing in Parker Street would be reviewed, even though it wasn’t included in the original changes.

A 20 mph speed limit is still needed, as it is in so many places. The recent emphasis on 20 mph areas in Government guidance reinforces the case here. Cambridge has only one so far, residential North Romsey.

We have also objected strongly to the introduction of a left-turn-only lane on Victoria Avenue, approaching the Four Lamps roundabout.

The biggest criticism, however, is perhaps that the impact the scheme has on cyclists on the inner ring road away from the specific measures. East Road could have the cycle lanes made continuous. Gonville Place is much busier than it used to be, and cyclists are squeezed at the islands.

The Hyde Park Corner junction (by the Catholic church) is a big pressure point. A commitment in the new Cycling Strategy to review all signals without cycle facilities should mean this gets another look, even if the core scheme continues to ignore it.

Further round, the Royal Cambridge Hotel junction has been inadvertently improved recently by the reduction from three to two lanes between the two roundabouts, so there’s less opportunity for sight lines to be obstructed. However, this junction is still a serious casualty threat to cyclists.

David Earl