Corn Exchange Street cycle contraflow: Victory at last!

This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 63.

After much lobbying and advocacy, a petition, innumerable meetings and letters, Cambridge Cycling Campaign has succeeded in persuading Cambridgeshire County Council to install a cycle contraflow in Corn Exchange Street and Wheeler Street.

The contraflow is essential for the viability of the 500-space cycle park at present under construction in the Grand Arcade development and will also provide an important new on-road route from the Guildhall and the Market Square area more generally to Downing Street and beyond. Obtaining this contraflow is, we believe, one of the Campaign’s most important achievements in its ten-year history.

Against the flow: Contraflow cycling (still illegal) as Grand Arcade work proceeds
Image as described adjacent

But the task is not yet complete. Now that the contraflow has been agreed in principle, we shall be seeking additional improvements to its design beyond those already accepted. We are particularly concerned about the design of the cycle entrance and exit from the Grand Arcade cycle park. We have not so far seen any proposed layouts for these. There will be difficulties because space is limited.

It is very important to recognise that, although we have succeeded in obtaining the contraflow lane, it can never be a high-quality cycle facility. Because of the constraints of the site, the contraflow lane will be narrow and awkward to use. Care will be needed to use it safely. We believe that the planning process has not worked well in this instance. There does not appear to have been effective coordination between the City Council planning authorities and the County Council transport authorities. The Grand Arcade building should have been set further back to provide sufficient space along Corn Exchange Street not just for cyclists but also for pedestrians.

James Woodburn