Network Management Plan 2001

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 37.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Network Management Plan 2001 runs to some 150 pages but is available on the web. Although it covers many areas, here I highlight just a few.

Capital Programme

This year’s capital expenditure totals nearly £20 million. Of this, some £5 million is on Park and Ride and nearly £3 million on bridges. I feel strongly that bridge work should be funded almost entirely from taxes on Heavy Goods Vehicles, as most of this spending is to allow the unrestricted use of 40 tonne lorries.

Cycling schemes get less than one million, although some cycle improvements get carried on the back of other schemes. Appendix C of part II gives more details of individual projects and time scales for capital works, although there appear to be anomalies between this and the summary tables.

Maintenance Standards for Cycleways

I’ve written in a previous Newsletter about ‘flush kerbs’ and it is clear that supervision of maintenance contractors for cycle routes is still inadequate. I’ve recently reported two locations where ‘upstands’ at recently constructed oblique cycle crossings are much in excess of the stated maximum of 3 mm. (Part IV section 5, paragraph 5.7 actually gives 0.3 mm and has done so since 1998 but enquiries some time ago revealed that it should be 10 times larger!)

Other items are also worth a mention:

  • Pot holes with an area greater than 0.1 m² in shared-use paths or in cycle-paths which are greater than 25 mm in depth, or those greater than 20 mm in on-road cycle lanes should be repaired with 24 hours of being reported – phone (01223) 458260
  • Clearance beneath trees and signs should be at least 2.7 metres.
  • Road gully gratings in cycle-lanes shall be of the ‘flat’ type and laid within 10 mm of the road surface. ‘Ironwork’ will be reset when level difference exceeds 20 mm.
  • After hedge cutting beside cycle paths, up to two sweeps of the path will be funded by the highway authority. Those people who have on more than one occasion had punctures on the Sawston to Stapleford shared-use path after the thorn hedge has been flail cut please note.

20 mph limits

Previously, 20 mph limits have only been introduced ‘subject to DETR approval, in conjunction with traffic calming’. This year there are large changes. From now, no approval from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions is needed and they only need to be ‘self enforcing’ (i.e. 85% of traffic must be below 25 mph) after the introduction of the scheme. This means, I believe, that no speed humps or other ‘hard’ measures are required, greatly reducing the cost and time needed to implement such schemes. It could also make such schemes much more cycle friendly. It is suggested that such measures can form part of ‘Safe Routes to Schools’ or ‘Cycle routes.’ Perhaps now is the time to press for many 20 mph zones. Local roads that should not form part of through routes could then be safe enough for cyclists without the need for specific lanes or ‘shared-use’ paths. [See part IV, section 3.17]

My only question is then, ‘What should we do about cyclists who exceed the 20 mph (32 km/h) limit?’

Jim Chisholm