New bridge for Riverside?

This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 42.

The County Council recently held an initial consultation meeting to present ideas for the location and design of a planned new cycle-and-pedestrian bridge across the river from Chesterton to Riverside.

The bridge, to be paid for mostly by contributions from developers, would lie somewhere between the existing Elizabeth Way and Green Dragon bridges. We were pleased to discover that Council officers stressed that this was an early consultation, and nothing was yet cast in stone.

The location preferred by many at the meeting was along a line that would be especially convenient for those coming south along Arbury Road and Union Lane.

Image as described adjacent
The new bridge would be somewhere between the Elizabeth Way and Green Dragon bridges.

The design of the ramps down to Riverside will be a challenge, because Riverside is so narrow, and the gradient down the ramps must not be too steep. There was much discussion about whether Riverside itself, or the new Tesco development (and thereby a route through to Cheddar’s Lane and Newmarket Road) was the more important direction. Views were quite polarised, depending on people’s personal experience.

Many people I have spoken to since the exhibition have said ‘the City Centre itself is by far the most important destination for Cambridge cycle trips, and so the ramp(s) should allow for relatively direct travel to the City Centre.’

It will be difficult to design ramps that satisfy both local residents’ desire to get to Tesco (which is quite a significant height above Riverside) and the desire to get cyclists down on to Riverside to get in to town. If a decision needs to be made about which is the priority, I hope it would be backed up by substantial surveys of potential users, however hard that might be to do.

There was, however, real consensus on the need to make the bridge wide enough. The general view was that the design of the cycle and pedestrian bridge near the station worked well, and that the new bridge should be at least as wide, with a similar separation of pedestrians and bikes.

Clare Macrae