New bits at New Bit

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 75.

New Bit is the part of the common opposite the Botanic Gardens on Trumpington Road. The path across it, from the pedestrian and cyclist crossing on Trumpington Road at the Brooklands Avenue junction towards Newnham, is a major pedestrian and cyclist route to Newnham and Cambridge City Centre. It also forms part of the National Cycle Network.

At present the first section of this path is very narrow so that cyclists and pedestrians have difficulty passing one another. Even so, currently, around 1,000 cyclists a day use it. With the planned major growth of the city, including new developments to the south, an increase in the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians using this route is likely.

Cambridge City Council have started a consultation covering their proposals:

To widen (by approximately 1 metre) and resurface the section to achieve a total width of 2.5 m. This would lead into the existing section of path to Newnham bridge which is already 2.5-2.8 m wide. The result would be a more consistent width along the whole of the path.

We think the width should be 3 m, which is more in line with national guidance on shared paths, and would avoid the cyclist/pedestrian conflict that is apparent on the well-used NCN11 path from Addenbrooke’s to Shelford.

To set back and widen the cyclists’ entrance to the path at the Brooklands Avenue end with a double cattle grid to allow cyclists to pass each other more easily and avoid conflict with pedestrians.

We strongly support this and would also like to have a double grid at the bottom of the new ramp leading up to Newnham Bridge as we advocated in Newsletter 69.

Although not part of the scheme, the Council would be interested in having views on whether to install solar powered LED lights set flush in the path marking out the route at night (as recently used on the Addenbrooke’s path). At present there are divided views within the Campaign on such lighting.

You can respond on Cambridge City Council’s website.

Monica Frisch