Your streets this month

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 50.

Bad route to get worse

The tortuous new route between Tesco in Newmarket Road and Riverside.

The new cycle route between Tesco in Newmarket Road and Riverside, already notorious for its chicanes, is to become even more inconvenient to use. Cambridge City Council has approved plans to permanently divert the route as part of the landscaping of a residential development adjacent to the path. The new route will be almost unbelievably tortuous. Cyclists riding down to the river will find their way blocked by a new tree right in the middle of the path. Instead they will have to follow a diversion which first swings round to the left, then right, then sharp left again, round a tight hairpin bend and then left again to rejoin the original route. We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw the plans. The plans have been approved and it’s too late to make a formal objection, but complain nonetheless to Peter Studdert, Director of Environment and Planning at the City Council, in the hope of preventing this ridiculous scheme being constructed.

Councillors have also approved a large residential and office development on the south side of Newmarket Road between Coldham’s Lane and Abbey Street. The development will provide a 4 m strip of land along the Newmarket Road frontage which will be used to provide a bus lane. We haven’t seen the latest plans, but hope the new bus lane will therefore be 4 m wide, allowing the existing cycle lane to be retained within it. In addition, the pedestrian crossing at Abbey Street is to be made ‘more cycle friendly’ – whatever that means. We hope that means that the crossing – which forms part of a well-used cycle route from the York Street area to the river – will be converted to a toucan.

Useful new route

A useful new route for cyclists near Newmarket Road cemetery.

A new residential development near Newmarket Road cemetery in east Cambridge has created a useful new route for local cyclists. A short length of smooth new cycle path off Newmarket Road just east of the cemetery together with the quiet roads of the new estate now make it possible to cycle from the Meadowlands Road/Airport area to the Jubilee Cycle Route (NCN 51), avoiding the Newmarket Road-Ditton Lane junction and the narrow and busy Ditton Lane.

The new route connects with the existing pavement cycleway along the north side of Newmarket Road. The short stretch between Ditton Lane and Meadowlands Road is wide and smooth, but the end near the new development has seen a lot of abuse by parked vehicles – mainly by building contractors working on the new estate and car transporters delivering to Marshall’s. Now local residents have started obstructing it. It remains to be seen how bad this problem is and whether physical or enforcement measures will need to be taken to keep this useful pavement cycleway clear.

Useful route threatened

The City Council is proposing to convert Abbey Walk, a useful link within the route between the Grafton Centre and the Beehive Centre and used heavily by Petersfield residents, into a one-way street. No cycle exemption is planned, despite a successful experiment initiated by the Area Joint Committee two years ago to exempt cyclists from one-way streets and which should be ongoing.

We are unclear as to the reason for this change which would effectively criminalise cyclists who wish to cycle through what is a perfectly reasonable route. The only problem here appears to be at the blind corners, and this is generally due to the consistently high level of illegal parking. We would like to see action taken to enforce the parking rules rather than penalising the victims.

Much opposition is expected. Comments to Graham Lowe, by 6th October. stating the reason for the objection.

Silver Street

The part time closure of Silver Street to private through motor traffic is now in operation, with tidal, one-way flow through the closure point during the morning peak and in the evening. The result has been to make this extremely busy cycle route much more pleasant and less congested. See article.

Address for comments

Peter Studdert,
Director of Environment and Planning, Cambridge City Council,
The Guildhall, Cambridge CB2 3LQ
(Riverside development).

Graham Lowe,
Engineering Manager,
Cambridge City Council (address as above)
(Abbey Walk)