This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 60.
Shelford to Addenbrooke’s
Cambridgeshire County Council has submitted a planning application for a completely new off-road cycle route from Great Shelford to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The new route would start near the level crossing on Granham’s Road and run towards Cambridge alongside the railway line for about a mile, skirting Nine Wells (an area of springs and woodland) before turning east towards Addenbrooke’s. It will end at Robinson Way on the southern edge of the hospital site.
The path will have a good-quality tarmac surface but will only be 2m wide, despite national standards requiring paths shared between cyclists and pedestrians to be at least 3m wide. We have written to the council to warmly welcome the new route but also to express our disappointment that a brand new cycle route across farmland is not being constructed to an adequate quality. The path will be unlit.
The route will form part of National Cycle Network (NCN) route 11 from Harlow to King’s Lynn via Cambridge. If permission is granted, construction will start in the summer so that it can be open in time for the NCN celebrations in September 2005.
Royal Cambridge Hotel junction
A number of minor changes are proposed for the Royal Cambridge Hotel junction. This is the junction just south of the city centre where Trumpington Street, Lensfield Road, Trumpington Road and Fen Causeway meet at a pair of mini-roundabouts. Despite this being one of the worst accident black spots in the city, especially for cyclists, councillors threw out proposals last year to replace the roundabouts with traffic signals. These new proposals attempt to increase safety for cyclists without the delays to motorists that traffic signals would have caused. The most noticeable proposal is to reduce the Trumpington Street and Trumpington Road approaches from three to two lanes for motor vehicles, but with a very narrow lane for cycles in between the two lanes. We share the view of the council’s own safety audit that this would do nothing to increase safety for cyclists and might in fact make things worse by encouraging drivers to overtake cyclists on the roundabout. Other changes include clearer carriageway markings and pavement realignment.
Emmanuel Street area
There will be a public consultation on plans to change Emmanuel Street and Drummer Street to improve conditions for buses. Under the draft proposals, Emmanuel Street would become one-way towards the city centre, with a contra flow lane for outbound cyclists. The contra flow lane would be 1.5m wide and be separated from the rest of the road by a kerb (on which trees would be planted). The presence of this kerb would prevent the lane from being obstructed by parked cars but would also make it more difficult for faster cyclists to overtake stationary or slow-moving ones.
Drummer Street would remain two-way, but the scheme also proposes moving the existing taxi rank to the other side of the road (where the long-distance buses stop now) while keeping the taxis facing the same way, so that they will conflict with oncoming cycles when they enter and leave the rank.
It is also possible that a formal contraflow lane will be marked out on St Andrew’s Street to make it clear to drivers that cyclists are allowed to ride in both directions. Because of restrictions on motor traffic along this section, many drivers appear to believe (incorrectly) that this is a one-way street.
Coton path closure
The Coton Path is to be closed for 6-8 weeks starting the week beginning 23 May to allow the path to be widened and resurfaced. The section affected is between the Cavendish Laboratory and the M11 bridge. See article in this Newsletter.