As you may be aware, the route from Hardwick to Cambridge is on the council’s list of proposed cycle schemes, and money has been allocated to allow construction to begin next spring. Although the Hardwick Cycling Campaign (HCC) saw the council’s preliminary proposals nearly two years ago when we voiced our concern with several aspects of the scheme, very little has changed now that more detailed plans are available.
Officially, the scheme is a Hardwick-Coton cycle path, but it doesn’t actually reach Coton so cyclists will have to use the road to reach the Coton-Cambridge cycle path. Then it will link up with one of Cambridge’s worst, least-used cycle paths along the north side of Madingley Road into Cambridge.
Briefly, the proposal is to build a shared use cycle path on the south side of the road starting as you exit Hardwick along St. Neots Road. This then crosses Long Road and uses a short section of disused carriageway to bypass the roundabout at Madingley. It continues on the south side of the road and here it is intended to leave a 1 m separation from the carriageway where possible. However, on the steepest part of the route, down the hill near Madingley, there will be no separation from the road and cyclists will also have to brake sharply at the bottom to give way to traffic on the Coton road. The details of the junction at Coton are still subject to further investigation, and no indication is given in the plans of how cyclists are supposed to cross. Once across this road, the cycle path continues for around 100 m before cyclists have to dismount, wait for a gap in the 60 mph traffic to cross the carriageway to a central island, then wait for another gap in the traffic to cross the other carriageway before they can continue their journey on the existing path.
In addition to two busy roads, 14 further access points are marked on the route, many of them requiring cyclists to stop. The council believes that this scheme is the best way to encourage more people to cycle to Cambridge from villages in the west. Ultimately, it will form a major part of a cycle route from Cambourne to Cambridge.
Comments about the scheme should be sent to Box ET, Shire Hall, Cambridge by Wednesday 28 November.
Paul McMahon, HCC co-ordinator