Madingley Road bus lane

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 39.

Councillors on the Cambridge Environment and Transport Area Joint Committee have approved the construction of a short length of bus and cycle lane on Madingley Road on the city-bound approach to the M11 junction. The aim of this lane is to allow buses to bypass the M11 signals and its queue of morning, peak-time traffic.

The start of the bus lane will be a very narrow 3 m before widening to a more acceptable 4.5 m. In this wider section, cyclists and buses will be sharing a segregated lane with a kerb on both sides, though a 1.5 m advisory cycle lane marking should help to reduce conflict.

Westbound cyclists will see no change other than a general narrowing of the carriageway and a possible pinch point at the M11 signals. The speed limit here is 60 mph. The existing pavement cycleway will also be widened and the vegetation that often obstructs it will be cut back.

Second bus lane deferred

A second section of bus and cycle lane is proposed for further along Madingley Road. This would start shortly before Conduit Head Road and continue until just past Madingley Rise. The road here is very wide (it was at one time a four-lane dual carriageway). Space for the lane will be created mainly by removing an existing area of hatching.

In the original version of this scheme the speed limit was to have been reduced to 30 mph. The speed limit along this section of Madingley Road is currently 40 mph, although a recent survey showed that 15% of drivers were exceeding the speed limit, and 1330 vehicles on one day were exceeding the speed limit by more than 25%.

Councillors decided to take a stand against the police’s objection to a 30 mph limit.

During the consultation period the reduced speed limit was welcomed by the Campaign and by local residents. The police, however, objected. They said that drivers would not respect a 30 mph limit, and that they would not be prepared to enforce it. As a result of this police objection, council officers withdrew the proposal.

At the Area Joint Committee it was clear that several councillors wanted to see a 30 mph limit, and were very unhappy with the position that the police had taken. They said that because it had been included in the original proposals, it was unfair to approve the scheme with a higher limit.

After an impassioned debate, councillors decided to take a stand and voted to defer this second bus lane until ‘more consultation’ with the police had taken place. The scheme will return to the committee for consideration at their next meeting in January.