Gonville Crossing review

This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 82.

Gonville Place Crossing as it is today.
Image as described adjacent

A year on from the reversal of the changes to this crossing back to the original, generally unproblematic state, a review of the crossing as it now stands was scheduled.

We feel that the current crossing is generally satisfactory, apart from the widely-ignored right turn ban, which was ostensibly the whole reason for changing it to the (disastrous) toucan crossing arrangement. Some councillors will not be pleased to learn that our Campaign to fix the botched crossing resulted in a notable increase in our membership!

The problems which remain now, and which we have submitted as our points for the review to be considered on 26th January 2009 by the Traffic Management Area Joint Committee, are as follows:

Some examples of the remaining problems. Left: the signage banning turning is no longer justified as there is now ample evidence of lack of danger (see point 1). Right: poor provision for those using the crossing to turn off Gonville Place (see point 2).
Image as described adjacent Image as described adjacent

1) The turning bans should be removed. There is now ample evidence of lack of danger and so this signage cannot be justified any longer. The alternative way to enter the road (by the toilets) surely cannot be considered safer, and a safety audit ought to consider that issue. In view of the continuing absence of conflict at the crossing it should be clear to all that the ban is unnecessary and an unreasonable restriction on cyclists’ freedom.

2) Provision for people to use the crossing to turn off Gonville Place in either direction is poor, especially on the south side. Slight modification of the paving would at least facilitate this safety requirement, which was one of the original reasons for the crossing being changed. This issue has also been repeatedly raised by Councillor Rosenstiel.

3) The crossing needs coloured surfacing across it. This is entirely justified given that the crossing must be amongst the most heavily used pedestrian/cycle crossings in the county. It is about time that walkers in particular were given more attention at crossings, and a coloured surface would be a simple way to reduce the number of vehicles blocking it.

Now that Cycling England have a closer eye on matters in Cambridge, owing to its Cycling Demonstration Town status, we will not hesitate to draw to their attention if anti-cyclist measures like this were to arise again. We should not have had to waste so much volunteer time on the changes to this crossing.

4) The pedestrian crossing units need to be re-orientated or masked so that they are not visible from the road.

5) There are still redundant poles present which contain signage that no longer represents the current legal situation. This was previously agreed but it has still not been implemented, so it should not be contentious.

Thanks to everyone who, 18 months ago, signed our petition to reinstate this crossing. That we had to waste so much of our time to persuade the County Council of the problems here is testament to the lack of genuine priority for cycling and walking. Now that Cycling England have a closer eye on matters in Cambridge, owing to its Cycling Demonstration Town status, we will not hesitate to draw it to their attention if matters like this come up again.

The large number of documents and reports on this crossing is here

Martin Lucas-Smith