Gonville Place crossing update

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 72.

Changes at Gonville Place crossing should be mostly reversed, including putting detector loops back in for cyclists.
Image as described adjacent

Following the January 2007 meeting of the Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee (AJC), some minor improvements were made to the Gonville Place crossing which had been seriously damaged by the County Council’s alterations (see Newsletters 67 and 69 ). These minor improvements involved removal or relocation of some of the bollards on the crossing approaches.

The AJC discussed the Gonville Place crossing again at its meeting on 23 April. Major improvements, or rather major changes to restore what was there before, were proposed. The issues for discussion were:

  • Segregated crossings for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Detection loops on the cycle approaches
  • Near-side signals for pedestrians and far-side signals for cyclists
  • Reintroduction of the banned turns to prohibit cyclists turning across the pedestrian crossing area during the pedestrian and cycle phase of the signal sequence
Signal heads on the far side should be reintroduced to supplement nearside indicators.
Image as described adjacent

There was quite a lot of discussion, with some strong opposition from AJC members, over the proposal to again ban turns by cyclists across the pedestrian part of the crossing. However, County Council officers were not happy about allowing the turns. A design allowing the turns would almost certainly have to be safety audited which would inevitably lead to delay in making the other much-needed changes to the crossing. It was proposed that instead the work on the crossing should go ahead now and then the operation of the crossing, including the issue of the turns, should be considered in the light of experience after a year. This was agreed. The savage County Council transport expenditure cuts which are due to be implemented soon meant that there was concern that nothing should be decided that could lead to further delay and even possible cancellation of the proposals to improve the crossing.

There was a request for the removal of more posts and for the radius of the left turn into Gresham Road from Gonville Place to be made easier and it was agreed that this should be looked at.

However, disappointingly, none of the other points the Campaign had raised were discussed. In particular:

  • There was no discussion of the need for slipways to allow on-road cyclists to get onto the pavements to use the crossing to cross the road instead of having to make difficult on-road right turns;
  • No discussion of the need for a raised crossing;
  • No discussion of the need to move the Gresham Road cycleway to the west so that the eastern pavement could be widened for pedestrians;
  • No discussion of the need to allow more crossing time.
It was proposed that the work on the crossing should go ahead now and then the operation of the crossing, including the issue of the turns, should be considered in the light of experience after a year.

The meeting agreed:

  • To support the layout changes on the agenda;
  • To delegate the Director of Highways and Access to determine any objections to the prohibited turns in consultation with Chairman and Vice-chairman;
  • To note the proposed timetable for the changes to be implemented;
  • And to review the operation of the crossing twelve months after the implementation of the changes.

All in all, we are likely to eventually get back a crossing very much like the one they took away at great public expense, except that there will be new puffin-style lights for pedestrians and apparently a rather shorter crossing time than before for both cyclists and pedestrians. We will continue to advocate allowing cyclists to make turns across the pedestrian part of the crossing and we are in correspondence with the AJC and the Signals Team regarding this and the other improvements we would like to see.

Lisa Woodburn