Your streets this month

This article was published in 2004, in Newsletter 57.

Royal Cambridge Hotel junction

Illegal parking for cars or a safer route for cyclists: which is the better use of road space in Panton Street?
Image as described adjacent

In Newsletter 55 we reported that councillors had rejected officer proposals to introduce traffic signals at the Trumpington Street-Lensfield Road and Fen Causeway-Trumpington Road junction, replacing the existing mini-roundabouts, despite this being the third-worst junction in the city for injury accidents. Officers are now looking at alternative measures, though they have already said that they are unlikely to lead to much improvement in safety.

The main changes being discussed are reducing the number of lanes on the Trumpington Road and Trumpington Street approaches from three to two and the introduction of new central cycle lanes between the existing traffic lanes. Whilst reducing the number of lanes is undoubtedly a good thing, we’ve got mixed feelings about the introduction of central cycle lanes since they might encourage right-turning cyclists to adopt an inappropriate road position, leading drivers to overtake them as they approach the junction.

A proposal to provide a cycle contraflow along Panton Street between Lensfield Road and Pemberton Street, to allow some cyclists to avoid the mini-roundabouts altogether, has been rejected by councillors despite this section of Panton Street being two lanes wide with double-yellow lines along most of its length.

New hoggin

One of the most beautiful cycle routes in the Cambridge area is the path along the River Cam between Chesterton (by the Pike and Eel pub) and the Clayhithe bridge near Waterbeach. This path (on which the River Cam Conservators have granted permissive cycling rights) has long been a useful daylight route to Milton and Waterbeach and will eventually form part of National Cycle Network Route 11 to Upware and Ely. However, for many the beauty of this four-mile path has been offset by a very bumpy and uncomfortable surface. It is now proposed to resurface and widen the path to achieve a two metre width throughout. The surface will be a ‘hoggin’ (gravel) surface finished in light coloured gravels similar in hue to the existing path. Work is likely to start in January and be completed by March 2005.

Longer term

Part of the area between Shelford Road and Addenbrooke’s Hospital will have housing with a ‘link road on an alignment yet to be decided.’
Image as described adjacent

Consultation is nearing completion on a proposal to build a completely new road between Hauxton Road (near the M11 junction) and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. This is described as an access route to Addenbrooke’s though it will also pass through a major development area and it is unclear whether through traffic will be prevented from using it. The new road is described as to be ‘a fully lit single carriageway with a segregated pedestrian and cycleway adjacent’. Three alternative routes are proposed and a decision is expected in January. See box for consultation details.

Work will start before the end of this year at the junction between Milton Road and Cambridge Science Park to create an extra right-turn lane for vehicles turning right into the Science Park. However this doesn’t appear to be enough to cater for increased motor traffic in this developing area, and council officers have recently announced proposals to modify this junction yet again to give it an extra arm to allow traffic to turn right from Milton Road into Cowley Road (and the reverse). The existing pavement cycleway between the Milton Road railway underpass and the Milton Cycle bridge will be adjusted so that cyclists cross Cowley Road further south than they do at present, close to the new junction. Unfortunately the new sections of path will be an absurdly narrow 1.5 m, making it impossible to avoid oncoming cyclists without breaking the law and riding on the pedestrian part. The existing cycle crossing across Milton Road to the Science Park entrance will remain, though cyclists will have to cross this in three separate stages (rather than two at present) to minimise delays to motorists. Construction is unlikely to start before late 2005.

And finally

We complained in our last issue that the new cycleway along the A1301 between Sawston and Hinxton had signs at every road crossing demanding ‘cyclists dismount’. Cyclists are, of course, perfectly capable of stopping and giving way to other traffic without the need to actually get off their cycles. We understand that these pointless signs were the result of an over-enthusiastic safety audit and are now being removed.

Address for comments

Details of the Addenbrooke’s access road can be found on the County Council’s website at Complete the on-line questionnaire or post your comments to ET1017, B311, Castle Court, Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge CB3 0AP. The closing date for comments is 6 December 2004.