This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 59.
New bridge at Newnham
The narrow Sheep’s Green footbridge over the River Cam is to be completely replaced so that cyclists can ride across it. At present cyclists using the path between Newnham and Brooklands Avenue have to dismount and carry their bikes up and down steps. We’ve welcomed the proposal warmly and told the council that this would be a huge improvement to a cycle route that already carries over 700 cyclists a day. We’ve requested that the bridge be made wide enough and asked to be involved in the detailed design. We said that, of recent constructions, only the bridge at the station has been wide enough (2.54m cycle, 1.63m pedestrian) to eliminate conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. The new bridge is proposed by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of a series of measures for cyclists in south Cambridge. See the article elsewhere in this newsletter.
A number of small changes to Milton Cycle Bridge will be made in the next few weeks. The County Council continues to be concerned that cyclists coming down from the bridge on the Milton side may fail to stop to give way to traffic at the bottom. As an experiment, ‘ripple print’ is to be installed in an attempt to slow cyclists down. This is a wavy painted surface that is, apparently, only comfortable to cycle on at low speed. It will be removed if it proves unsuccessful. We welcome the fact that the council is experimenting with alternatives to obstructive chicanes and hope the experiment is successful.
On the south side of the bridge we have long complained about the obstruction of the path by three bollards. The Highways Agency has now agreed to remove one of them.
In Newsletter 57 we reported on proposals for a new section of pavement cycleway along the eastern side of Cowley Road as part of a major new road scheme in this area. We condemned the proposed 1.5m width for a busy two-way cycle track as being hopelessly inadequate. It is now proposed to increase this to 2m, making it merely inadequate. Given that almost all cyclists from the Milton Cycle Bridge will be forced to use this path we believe that a 3m width is essential.
We’ve been lobbying for some time for changes to the shared-use cycle paths that run between Newmarket Road and Riverside along each side of Tesco. These routes have several flaws but the main one was a series of narrow chicanes. The path down to Riverside is owned by the developer of the adjacent flats and the City Council has been in negotiation to improve it.
Both sets of chicanes on their land have now been removed and the pedestrian and cycle sides swapped to avoid the need to change sides part-way down the path from Tesco. The path has been realigned at the bottom end and bollards will be installed one third and two thirds down the hill with ‘hazard strips’ before and after to reduce cyclists’ speeds.
Thank you to Clare Rankin, Cycling and Walking Promotion Officer at Cambridge City Council, for negotiating these improvements. Unfortunately the chicane on Tesco land at the top of the slope remains, as do those at each of the southern ends.
It’s likely that the cycle route through the nearby Beehive Centre from Coldham’s Lane to York Street will be improved with money from the City Council. The Council is continuing to discuss this with the site owners. In the meantime, the owners have confirmed that the route from the Beehive Centre to Sleaford Street will stay open; a new gate had given rise to the suspicion that it would be closed.
The cycle bridge over the railway by the station is to be refurbished later this year, with both the flooring and transparent sides being replaced. The work will require the bridge to be closed, either full-time or part-time, for several weeks. This long-overdue work was delayed because of the need to divert funds to pay for the emergency replacement of the Cutter Ferry footbridge following the discovery that it was structurally unsafe.