What is happening in South-West Cambridge and its necklace villages?

This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 81.

The NCN 11 ‘genome’ path from Shelford to Addenbrooke’s is being increasingly well-used, and the failing of its restricted width becomes increasingly obvious, but beyond the first bend changes are occurring. New wider extension paths are appearing on the ground.

Two new routes to Addenbrooke’s are scheduled to open in 2009. Base map from OpenStreetMap licensed CC by SA.
Image as described adjacent

For many these will replace the Great Way Round that requires a trip to Oncology and back round Robinson Way to get to the MRC Labs or Long Road Sixth Form College. Use of these paths will need to wait until the new ‘Boulevard’ is also completed, and we expect that this 20mph road will have 1.5 metre cycle lanes.

Work on the Cambridge Guided Bus route near Addenbrooke’s will include a new tarmac cycle path running parallel to the track.
Image as described adjacent

Not yet visible is the zig-zag path that will enable cyclists who go under the new access road to climb the 9 m onto the shared-use path and over the railway. In addition to this shared-use path, on-road paths of 1.5 m will be provided over the full length of this road.

Also clearly visible are the works at Hills Road bridge. This new underpass will provide a major feature on the new tarmac cycle path that will run parallel to the Cambridge Guided Bus (CGB) route from Trumpington P&R to the station. Under Hills Road cyclists will be able to share the short 20mph section of road with buses as the available width was not sufficient to provide both footway and cycleway. The CGB branch to Addenbrooke’s with its bridge over the railway will also extend the cycle routes, and few will regret the loss of the muddy and bumpy permissive cycle path from Trumpington with its ‘at grade’ crossing of the rail line, even though a hill will be added.

The CGB routes should be open in the ‘spring’ and the Addenbrooke’s Access road in the ‘autumn’, but I’ve always been told to be beware of completion dates that involve seasons (you just can’t rely on the seasons these days).

Sawston to Abington

New cycle routes from Sawston to Abington via Babraham. Base map from OpenStreetMap licensed CC by SA.
Image as described adjacent

Also hopefully happening are new cycle routes from Sawston to Abington via Babraham. These new sections will fulfil three functions:

  • They will provide safer routes for school children in the area.
  • The expanding employment areas at both the Babraham Institute and Granta Park in Abington will be easier for access by bike.
  • Leisure trips on foot and by bike will be easier and the barrier of the A11 will be easier to cross.
New cycle sections between Sawston and Abington will provide safer routes for school children in the area

Some sections will be off road, and some will be on improved tarmac paths on the line of existing footpaths. Consultations on these routes are just occurring as I write, and the Campaign will comment on some sections which we think should be of a higher standard. At the exhibition I met a cyclist who had been traversing the whole route each day for 30 years. I do hope he doesn’t retire before the route is open.

M11 ‘Cycle bypass’

Finally, I’m really optimistic that the first new major cycle route to open may be one that enables cyclists to avoid junction 11 of the M11 when using the A10 from Hauxton and Harston to get to Cambridge.

Through the planning process we’ve convinced the Councils and developers that, as part of the Trumpington Meadows development, a cycle and walking route using existing concrete farm roads and the accommodation bridge over the M11 (just N of J11) should be provided. This route is included in the outline plans that have been passed.

I’d previously suggested that early completion of this route would bring big benefits.Not only would this route avoid the M11 junction, but also the new one providing for connections to Trumpington Meadows and the Addenbrooke’s Access Road. Final plans for this junction show that, inevitably, it will be hostile to cyclists.

The first new major cycle route to open may enable cyclists to avoid the M11

CTC and the Campaign held a meeting with the County Council, and I expressed my concern at the additional dangers during the construction phase, especially as alterations are also being made at the motorway junction. The Campaign later met, on site, with representatives of both the County and the developers. To complete this cycle route some 600m of new route is needed across a field to link existing concrete roads to the A10 near Hauxton Mill. A safety audit should have been completed by the time you receive this, but surely this route MUST be safer than a route through a motorway junction.

If any ‘safety’-related issues can be overcome, it may be be possible to build and open this route in advance of the major road works due to start in the spring.

Jim Chisholm