In Newsletter 53 we outlined some of our concerns over the Cambridgeshire Guided Bus scheme (CGB) and we’ve published our letter of objection on our website. Now, just a couple of weeks before the public inquiry, we have received a letter from the County Council explaining the position on some of our objections.
First the good news. Our objection letter stated ‘We strongly object to the discontinuity in the cycleway caused by the failure to provide a maintenance track/cycleway under Hills Road bridge. The alternative route is much less safe, slower and less convenient.’
The County Council letter explains a revised plan for this area and states: ‘Therefore with the provision of an unguided section under Hills Road bridge the cycle track along the Southern Section will be provided along the full route providing direct route access to Cambridge Railway Station, passing beneath Hills Road bridge parallel with the CGB alignment. Therefore the new alignment ensures that there is no break in the maintenance track at Hills Road bridge, thus pedestrians and cyclists can continue along this route.’
Now the bad news. Cambridge University Press, which owns the land between Hills Road and Long Road required for the CGB, has objected to the compulsory purchase of the land for a maintenance track (read cycle path), as, they claim, there is no legal requirement for such a track adjacent to the guideway. Clearly without the section of cycle route over CUP land, a route under Hills Road bridge is useless.
We also objected to the proposed surface of the path where cycling is permitted. The County letter states: ‘A different surface could be introduced at a later date on the maintenance track should the use of the track warrant it.’ We will ask that a commitment be made to provide a better surface should cycle numbers exceed a certain threshold (perhaps 200 per day).
There are still outstanding issues, such as lighting, lack of crossing points, and provision of better facilities at points where cyclists are required to cross the guideway which remain unresolved. Following further discussions with the authorities the committee will need to decide which of its objections, if any, can be withdrawn.
There are also a number of issues regarding operation of buses, and facilities for them, on the public roads within Cambridge. They do not form part of the Transport Works Act procedures for the CGB, but we have not forgotten them, and will take these up at the appropriate time.