Current Schemes

This article was published in 1996, in Newsletter 9.

The Campaign is certainly active behind the scenes on your behalf, as this series of reports from David Earl demonstrates.

Barton Road.

The joint County-City committee that decides such things approved for consultation a scheme for Barton Road along the lines we had suggested, involving largely taking road space to provide for cyclists and not sharing with pedestrians (see newsletter 7).However, the scheme that was publicised in the area didn’t mention two things.

  • The proposal we made was to use the road space, but to segregate the lanes on each side with a kerb, essentially giving cycle tracks rather than lanes (obviously with gaps as required for access). This is still being considered by the engineers, but the absence of segregation has caused understandable concern in Newnham.
  • We also asked for traffic signals at the Grantchester Street junction (the very sharp corner at the City end of Barton Road). There was general agreement that these were important, but couldn’t be provided for out of the same budget. The situation here is a bit clearer now: that junction was ranked fourth of about sixty to be funded from the medium sized schemes accident remedial budget, and given the costs of the top three, stands a very good chance therefore of being completed. This depends on the level of Government funding, which isn’t known at the time of writing. Because of this, the consultation paper didn’t mention the possibility that signals might be provided here.

The level of feeling in Newnham may be such that the scheme is reconsidered, and if the lights get the go ahead, that end will have to be re-thought anyway. However, four key messages have been received:

  • Cyclists should have priority crossing the side roads.
  • Previous schemes have not really been wide enough.
  • Cyclists shouldn’t just be lumped in with pedestrians.
  • Surface quality is important.

Gwydir Street / St Barnabas Road / Mill Rd

This junction, next to the Bath House on the City side of the railway bridge on Mill Road is characterised by its main motor traffic flow along Mill Road, but a very strong cycle flow across it from Gwydir Street into the gap on St Barnabas, and vice-versa, with people in the Petersfield area going onto the cycle route into town, and elsewhere. This conflict makes it inconvenient and difficult for cyclists to cross Mill Road, especially at busy times, and also a recipe for collisions.

More than ten years ago, when Cambridge Friends of the Earth was still campaigning specifically on cycling, we asked for traffic signals at this junction. At long last this junction has risen to the top of the list for action, and as of the October Transport Service committee meeting stands at number 1 out of 60. It has got here now because of three things: the casualty rate, a changed formula which takes cyclists convenience more into account, and the fact that some worse black spots have now been tackled (the City end of Mill Road for example). Unless no Government funding at all is received for this budget, which is unlikely, works of some kind will go ahead here next year.

For interest, the other Cambridge area schemes in the top twenty “medium sized” schemes are

  • Barton Road / Grantchester Street (number 4; see above),
  • Newmarket Road / Ditton Walk (5)
  • Elizabeth Way / Newmarket Road roundabout (8)
  • Parkside / Clarendon Street (11)
  • Over Road cross roads in Willingham (12)
  • Chesterton High Street (16)
  • Grange Road (20).

The top five schemes are estimated at £300,000, so it seems unlikely 1997-8 will see more than this being done.

Butt Lane, Milton-Impington.

The idea here is to provide protection for secondary school children from Milton attending Impington Village College. The recommendation is to build a 2m-wide shared use pavement (there is no footway at all at present) between the two villages, and improve the road edging at the same time. In Impington, cyclists would be signed via a backstreet route, but there isn’t sufficient money to do so this year, and the route would need improvements. Nothing at all is being proposed for the most difficult part of the route, a nasty S bend by Impington Church.

While we recommended traffic calming, our main concern now is the section that has not been considered at all on and either side of the bridge across the A10 at Milton.

Bridge Road and Water Lane, Histon.

Money has been found from a minor accident remedial budget for cycle lanes to be provided along about 1 km of Bridge Road and Water Lane, the main road into Histon. The lanes would cross the side roads, which is where some of the casualties have occurred, surfaced in red, as on Hills Road, and a short stretch of shared use footway would be built at the south end heading towards Cambridge to bypass the new traffic signals and link up with the existing shared-use around the A14 roundabout. The lanes on the east side would only extend north to the Impington turn (New Road), but on the west would go as far as Station Road. I’ve sent a positive interim response, but with a few questions.

Royal Cambridge Hotel Junction.

There was quite a lot of interest in response to my letter about this junction at Lensfield Road / Trumpington Road and Street and Fen Causeway last month. Thank you all for your interest. As a result several of us went to see the County Council’s exhibition, and we later held a site meeting to discuss our response. Council officers were clearly expecting a hostile response from motorists who remember previous attempts with traffic signals on this junction so were looking for our support for the scheme.

Our response was to support the scheme enthusiastically (there is a great deal of evidence that traffic signals are much safer for cyclists, and this scheme seeks to make the road safer and easier for cyclists while maintaining their place in the traffic, in line with our principles). However we made six requests:

  • a cycle lane on Trumpington Road between the two traffic lanes, with a positive left movement for cars, to avoid straight on cyclists getting tied up with left turning cars and to make it easier for cyclists to get over to the right.
  • changing one-way side streets in the area to two way with no entry for cars, allowing cyclists to turn into Panton Street. This helps mitigate the no-right-turn proposed into Brookside.
  • Improve access to the bridge across Hobson Brook (resurfacing is already proposed).
  • Make required cycle movements clearer in the Lensfield Road approach.
  • Consider allowing straight-on cycle movements from the central section not to have to stop at the red lights, by a filter of some kind.
  • Make the outside buttons on the two stage pedestrian crossings trigger the timers on both stages of the crossings.

Please contact Clare for a full copy of the response if you want one.

Tesco development at Fulbourn.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, planning permission has now been given for a new Tesco supermarket alongside the level crossing on the Cherry Hinton bypass, between Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn. This will inevitably led to a lot more traffic in the area. At the same time, there has long been a proposal to build an alternative to the unsurfaced drift road on the other side of the railway, not least because the rail crossing behind Fulbourn Hospital could be closed to discourage suicides of Hospital patients, though reorganisation at the Hospital has reduced this problem in recent years.

Despite apparently difficult negotiations, Tesco has set aside a 4 metre strip of the site alongside the railway for a new cycle track. There appears to be willingness to try to find the money to construct a cycle track sooner rather than later, so John Richards from the County Council, and I did a reccy on the site recently. The section on Tesco land is easy, but what neither of us had realised before-hand was that the railway is on a 2m high embankment further east and this would be an expensive obstacle to overcome.

The wider implications of the new store (for example, on the roundabout at Fulbourn Road, the Robin Hood junction in Cherry Hinton, and access to the western section of Fulbourn Old Drift) will be discussed at our next liaison meeting with the County Council towards the end of November.

Cowley Road.

As part of a scheme to rebuild the part of Cowley Road adjacent to Milton Road, a missing link in the shared-use footway between the bus gate and the traffic signals is being proposed. I am waiting for details at the time of writing.