End of the Cambridgeshire Guided Bus Inquiry

This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 58.

Towards the end of the public inquiry, Cambridge Cycling Campaign had the opportunity to present a case to the Inspector, and to be cross examined by the County Council.

We based our case on the article in the last Newsletter, but it is probably worth quoting part of our introduction here. Our principal interest is in the promised cycle routes along the maintenance track alongside the concrete trough for the guided bus.

First we’d like to give a little background.

  • According to the Council’s Traffic Monitoring Report some 3000 cyclists enter Cambridge each week day from the surrounding villages, and even out of University term some 21 000 cycle trips cross the River Cam each day.
  • For the Southern Fringe of Cambridge we already have nearly 1000 cycle trips into the city each weekday, and that is before the construction of some 3000 new houses. All this area will be within 2.5 miles of the main station and the many secondary and further education establishments in that area for cyclists using the proposed new route.
  • In the Northern Fringe we have the Science Park, Cambridge Regional College with 3000 full-time students and 14 000 part-time ones, as well as other large proposed commercial developments including a new railway station. Within 5 miles of these along the proposed new routes we will have 10 000 new houses at Northstowe.
  • By the time proposed expansion around Cambridge is complete, we think the Councils should be aiming for over a million trips by bike each year [on the guided bus service road alone]. (1000 in and 1000 out for both northern and southern sections, 5 days per week 50 weeks per year). With a route that is properly surfaced and lit that should be easily achievable.
  • We should also like to point out that in the Cambridgeshire Local Plan (2004 – 2011) there is over £4 million for ‘Improved Pedestrian and Cycle Access to Rapid Transit’ [meaning the guided bus] over four years. That compares with a total of £6 million for cycle schemes on all the other main corridors into Cambridge over seven years
  • The proposed maintenance track provides the opportunity to provide routes for cyclists that are direct, continuous, segregated from normal motor traffic, and bypass barriers to cycling caused by major roads such as the A14. It is an opportunity that must not be squandered.

We then presented the case for a sealed surface and better lighting as detailed in Newsletter 57. We were able to demonstrate an LED road stud of the type that could be used to light remote sections where street lighting may be considered inappropriate.

The Inspector asked us to provide, by email, a list of locations he could visit to see different surfaces and levels of lighting. In addition, Nigel Brigham of Sustrans was able to provide for us further details on types of surface, and this has been accepted as evidence to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry has now closed and we have some breathing space until the result is announced, probably some time in the spring.

Jim Chisholm