A mistake reversed

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 74.

Work starts on reinstating Gonville Place crossing

At the time of writing, work is starting on the reinstatement of a wide Gonville Place crossing with cycle detection loops which will once again change the lights as cyclists approach the crossing. We greatly welcome the fact that the County Council responded to our petition, which was signed by more than 500 pedestrians and cyclists including local councillors from all the major political parties, and agreed that the present narrowed crossing was unacceptable. This crossing is a very important link in the pedestrian and cycle route from the city centre to the station and on over the cycle bridge to Cherry Hinton and beyond.

The design of the reinstated crossing is to be as set out in Agenda Item No 7(a) of the Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee held on 23 April (available on the County Council’s website). While welcoming most of what is to be done, the Campaign is strongly opposed to the planned reintroduction of a prohibition on turning right for cyclists emerging from Gresham Road and wishing to cycle along Gonville Place towards East Road. We regard this prohibition as unnecessary and anomalous and will be maintaining our opposition to it. The rather similar Burrell’s Walk crossing of Queen’s Road operates well without such a turning ban. We are pleased that councillors have insisted that the ban must be reviewed after a year.

There are other matters to which we will also be returning in future. We asked for red surfacing for the crossing to deter motorists held up by the traffic from stopping on the crossing which we expect to be a continuing difficulty. We asked for the crossing to be raised like those in Chesterton. We asked for kerb changes to make it easier for cyclists coming from the East Road direction to turn left into Gresham Road. We also asked for changes to the footway layout on the Gresham Road approach to the crossing which in our opinion would greatly improve the present design for both pedestrians and cyclists. We were told that funding of such measures cannot be justified at this time.

We will be keeping a close eye on the timing of the signals. It is imperative that they give the crowds of cyclists and pedestrians who wait to cross at busy times sufficient opportunity to cross safely. We will also expect to be consulted about changes to the current unsatisfactory signs at the crossing.

James Woodburn