Cambridgeshire County Council has recently finished public consultation on a series of measures for cyclists in the Brooklands Avenue-Trumpington Road-Long Road area of south Cambridge, and as usual, the Campaign has submitted a lengthy response.
The most significant proposal is the complete replacement of the Sheep’s Green footbridge over the River Cam by one which will take cyclists. This will be a huge benefit to cyclists riding between Newnham and Brooklands Avenue, and will doubtless encourage many people to use it who had previously found the river crossing either inconvenient or impossible.
Most of the other measures proposed are relatively minor. The schemes are all off-road and there is not a single proposal to improve conditions for cyclists using the roads.
Eastwards from the bridge, a bumpy but pleasant path runs to Brooklands Avenue. We’ve asked for this to be widened to 2m and given a new surface, similar to that used on the upgraded path across Coe Fen. By the Stone Bridge at the junction with Brooklands Avenue, the council is proposing a short section of path to give more direct access to the pavement cycleway southwards to Trumpington. This would be an alternative to the existing cattle grid. We believe that this will be of little benefit to the majority of cyclists who use this route to travel between Newnham and Brooklands Avenue, rather than between Mill Lane and Trumpington. We’ve complained that the proposed layout fails to address congestion between the existing cattle grid and the toucan crossing on Trumpington Road.
We’ve also asked for two additional toucan signals: one where the pavement cycleway to Trumpington crosses the exit from Chaucer Road, making it easier for cyclists to tell when it is safe to cross, and another replacing the existing pedestrian crossing at the exit from Brooklands Avenue. This would make it legal for cyclists who use the existing toucan stages from Newnham and Coe Fen to join Trumpington Road southbound.
The County Council is also proposing a new cycle route between Brooklands Avenue and Long Road. The northern section of the route will start at a new toucan crossing half-way along Brooklands Avenue and run through the Government Offices site, currently being redeveloped for housing and now known as ‘Accordia’. The central section is much less definite but the current suggestion is that it would run through the University Press site, parallel to Hobson’s Conduit, before crossing the conduit by an existing road bridge. It would continue south for 270m along the footpath on the west side of the conduit. This footpath is environmentally sensitive and its use as a cycleway would be controversial. The final section to Long Road would run along the edge of an open field. Only the northern section is likely to be constructed in the near future, with the central and southern sections being seen as a long-term aim. In our response to the Council we have supported the aim for a cycle route from Accordia to Long Road but have urged the council to seek a route that avoids the existing footpath beside Hobson’s Conduit.
Improvements are proposed to the longstanding cycle route between Long Road and Trumpington Road via Rutherford Road and Porson Road. The alleyway between these two roads would be resurfaced and converted to a shared-use pedestrian and cycle path, segregated by a white line. The lighting would be improved and flush kerbs installed. Unfortunately the plans show the direct route onto the road at each end obstructed by guardrails: we have asked for these to be omitted. At the Trumpington Road end of Porson Road, a short section of pavement cycleway would allow cyclists to reach the existing toucan crossing slightly to the north.
Brooklands Avenue and Long Road already have pavement cycleways on each side. These would be partly resurfaced but would remain poor quality facilities. It is also proposed to allow pavement cycling on Trumpington Road alongside the Botanic Garden. We have responded that this completely fails to address the real problem along this section which is the presence of parked cars on either side of the road, made worse by the presence of narrow red-surfaced cycle lanes which route cyclists into the danger zone of carelessly-opened car doors. We have asked the council to focus its attention on improving conditions for on-road cyclists here rather than expecting them to ride on the pavement: specifically for the removal of car parking and for the cycle lanes to be widened.