Approved – for now
Plans to hold a year-long experiment to allow contraflow northbound cycling along Trinity and St John’s Streets between 10am and 4pm, Mondays to Saturdays, have been approved by councillors on the Cambridge AJC, the joint City Council and County Council committee that normally decides transport schemes (see article). The Liberal Democrats used their majority on this committee to approve the experiment. This decision follows a County Council consultation which showed that 75% of respondents were in support of the change. County Council officers recommended rejection of the proposals, claiming the road was too narrow and that there was a risk of legal action against the council in the event of a collision. Officers remain so strongly opposed to the scheme, however, that they will be taking the rare step of asking the County Council’s Cabinet to overturn the scheme. This means that the final decision will be taken by the Conservatives who control the County Council.
Councillors have voted unanimously to reject a recommendation by council officers to introduce traffic signals at the Trumpington Street-Lensfield Road and Fen Causeway-Trumpington Road junctions, replacing the existing mini-roundabouts. This double junction is the third-worst junction in Cambridge for injury accidents. Since the start of 2001 there have been 22 injury accidents here, 16 of them involving cyclists, and council officers stated that introducing signals would be the most effective way of reducing these accidents. They would, however, create ‘significant additional delays’ and councillors decided that the convenience of motorists and bus users was more important here than reducing accidents. Councillors asked that alternative ways of reducing collisions be explored, such as trying to encourage cyclists to use alternative routes, but council officers were sceptical that such alternatives would be effective.
Consultation is underway on a major scheme to reduce traffic in Regent Street in order to speed up buses. The proposals involve closing the eastern end of Downing Street to motor traffic during the evening peak and diverting cars leaving Lion Yard car park down Tennis Court Road instead. This would mean making Downing Street two-way for the short length between the car park exit and Tennis Court Road, with potential conflict where drivers cross the flow of cyclists using the contraflow lane. The one-way flow of motor traffic at the south end of Tennis Court Road would be reversed.
In addition it is proposed to make Emmanuel Street one-way except for cyclists. The possible installation of a taxi rank or disabled parking on the north side of the street could cause difficulties for contraflow cyclists.
Changes are also proposed to the Regent Street-Lensfield Road junction by the Catholic Church. No details are given but they are likely to be intended to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
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A new cycleway and traffic calming scheme has been completed in King’s Hedges Road following a long delay. For cyclists heading towards Milton Road, a cycle lane has been introduced between King’s Hedges Drive and Milton Road. This is a clear improvement, mainly because the parked cars have been moved to the other side of the road. For cyclists heading away from Milton Road the route is essentially on the pavement but every time the pavement cycleway meets a side road, instead of cyclists having to stop and give way to traffic on the side road, the cycleway rejoins the road as a cycle lane, runs past the end of the side road, and then rejoins the pavement. Whilst it’s good to see an innovative attempt at mitigating one of the major disadvantages of pavement cycleways, the result is still unsatisfactory. The pavement sections are narrow, of poor surface quality and shared with pedestrians, whilst the diversions onto the road at each side-road mean cyclists have to weave in and out continually. A number of central islands have also been introduced, causing pinch points for cyclists. (See article.)