Four bridge options for Riverside

This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 45.

Thank you!

Public consultation is currently taking place on proposals for a new cycle and footbridge over the River Cam, adjacent to Riverside.

The County Council has proposed four options, and has asked cyclists and local residents for their views on which is the best. Local residents over a wide area will already have received a copy of the consultation leaflet and a questionnaire, and we have sent copies to all our members to ensure that all those who might use the new bridge have an opportunity to give their views.

You can also find the questionnaire online at
www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/sub/eandt/highways/cambridge/cycbridge .

Any of the four options would be of great benefit to cyclists. For the first time, we will actually have a cycle/pedestrian bridge over the river on which we are not expected to dismount and push our bikes across. We feel, however, that ‘Option 4’ stands out as clearly the best.

The four options, marked as coloured lines in the centre of the map

Where will cyclists want to go?

In comparing the options, you need to judge where cyclists using the new bridge will actually want to go.

We feel that a bridge in this area will largely be used by cyclists travelling between the City Centre and Chesterton or King’s Hedges. Many of them currently use the Cutter Ferry footbridge or Elizabeth Way and they will probably find the new bridge an attractive alternative.

Cyclists heading from Chesterton and King’s Hedges to East Barnwell will probably find all four options take them too far out of their way, and they will probably continue to use the Green Dragon footbridge.

It is also likely that some cyclists using the new bridge will want to use the new cycle route through Tesco. Although we criticised this route in Newsletter 44 as being poorly designed and obstructed by chicanes, it is nevertheless likely to grow in importance, offering, in the future, a route not only to the supermarket itself but also through the new retail developments on the opposite side of Newmarket Road to Coldham’s Lane and Romsey.

The Options – and our views

Option 1 is the most southerly of the four proposals. This leaves Logan’s Way on the north bank and curves east across the river landing on Riverside.

Our view: This option points the wrong way for cyclists heading to and from the City Centre, who we believe will form the large majority of the cyclists using this bridge.

Option 2 is located slightly further east. This is a square crossing of the river, the bridge splitting on the south side to both east and west along Riverside.

Our view: This is good for cyclists heading in both directions on Riverside, as well as providing a reasonably direct route into Tesco. However the link to St Andrew’s Road is less convenient, with cyclists having to make a diversion via Logan’s Way.

Option 3 crosses at the same place as Option 2, but spans both the Cam and Riverside at high level, landing part way up the ramp to Tesco. Cyclists who don’t want to go to Tesco will need to turn around and follow a cycleway back down to Riverside. It also suffers the same inconvenient access to St Andrew’s Road as Option 2.

Our view: This provides convenient access into Tesco at the expense of a much less convenient route for the majority of cyclists who will want to get onto Riverside towards the City Centre.

Option 4 comes off the bend on St Andrew’s Road between the two former Simoco buildings, past the pavilion and crosses the Cam opposite the Museum of Technology curving west to land on the northern side of Riverside.

Our view: This seems to offer the simplest and most direct route for cyclists heading from Chesterton and King’s Hedges towards the City Centre. It also offers a simple and direct route for cyclists heading towards Tesco. It is also the only option likely to be useful for some routes to and from East Barnwell. This is our preferred option.

Whichever option is chosen, the bridge would benefit from restrictions on motor vehicles on Riverside around the bridge landing ramp, especially if that ramp is one-way so some cyclists will need to do U-turns. There is no need for motorised through traffic along here, and the environment would be much nicer without it.

Give your views!

Whichever option you prefer, please do invest the time to tell the County Council your views on this and other aspects of the design of the bridge. Fill in their questionnaire and return it by 2 December 2002.