This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 96.
‘The cycleway next to the Guided Busway’ isn’t a great name, and technically ‘The Busway’ refers to the bit the bus is meant to use, not the service road alongside which is also for the use of cyclists and pedestrians. Here are the suggestions resulting from a call for ideas, with some of the comments they generated. Cambridge Cycling Campaign does not endorse (or reject) any of the suggestions, which come via the members’ email list and Twitter. Further suggestions are welcome – send to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are probably other new cycle routes which would benefit from names. Again, suggestions are welcomed.
Names referring to the history of the path
There were a group of suggestions which made reference to the history of the path.
- The Billennium Path, to reflect the cost? ‘Billennium Path’ shortens to ‘BP’, maybe a reminder that guided buses run on diesel, too.
- How about CastIron Way? To memorialise The Cambridge And St Ives Railway Organisation’s campaign.
That suggestion led to the response ‘I would be very opposed to any recognition of CastIron, whose crazy heritage railway dream (coupled with surprisingly good PR) resulted in our losing the possibility of a REAL railway properly run by WAGN/FCC on the St Ives line.’
- The Great Eastern Cycleway? To reflect the railway company that laid it.
Another respondent commented: ‘I do like the idea of remembering the old railway company whose tracks have now been buried in concrete in the name of progress. Great Eastern Way also makes it sound important!’
- It’s the (mis)Guided bus cycle route: simple.
- Misguided Way.
- The White Elephant Way.
- White Elephant Trunk Route (North and South).
Names referring to characteristics of the path
There were several suggestions stimulated by the problems with flooding during the winter
- Cyclelowway – emphasising the flood risk.
- Atlantis Highway.
and others relating to other characteristics of the path:
- Brumpy Gravel Express path.
- Unlit Boulevard.
- ‘Cyclebahn’: ‘Bahn’ is the word for track or railway, ‘Autobahn’ is a motorway. So a ‘cyclebahn’ is a nice word for a good, even highway for cyclists by a railway track.
This suggestion provoked quite a lot of comments…
‘Cambridge Cyclebahn, or CCB for short.’
‘Are we living in England or Germany? All this “Bahn” idea is a bit wacky IMO.’
‘It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve imported a word for our own use – we all like to go to a café, and a road with no exit is often called a “cul-de-sac” even though the French themselves don’t use the expression (they say “voie sans issue”).’
‘”Cyclebahn” abbreviates as “CB”.’
‘I can’t stand it, wouldn’t use it, and if signs ever appeared I would be very tempted to overpaint “bahn” with “way” (we are in England, you know) and add a real name to the beginning.’
‘Just “Cycleway” is not what we should be calling it. It’s supposed to be one of many, and it’s also open to equestrians and pedestrians. You wouldn’t use “motorway” as the name of an individual example, any more that you would expect a road to be called “public highway”. Not only that, but when verbalised, it gives the impression of a budget out-of-town box-shifting type of cycle shop, or maybe a large but basic cycle storage facility.’
‘To me the Cambridge Cyclebahn sounds like a discount bicycle warehouse.’
‘Out loud, “Cambridge Cyclebahn” sounds to me like what the angry commenters on the CN website would like!’
Names relating to places or people
- Cambridge-St Ives Cycleway – then it will be doing what it says on the tin without any highfalutin crap.
- The Great North Road, as the A1 no longer goes by that name, and similarly the Great South Road.
- How about we concoct some horrible contraction based on the places the route links: The ‘Cambives Way’ anyone? Would that make the southern section the ‘Crumpington Way’?
- Don’t these form, in part, some of the campaign’s long-sought-for ‘Chisholm Trail’? If it was called that, perhaps the need for the ‘core’ part would look more obvious?
- The ‘Nuttall Cycleway’ in honour of Simon Nuttall and all the work he has done to promote cycling in the area … but maybe Nuttall has unfortunate connections to BAM so the ‘honour’ may be misinterpreted?
- Darnton Way, in recognition of the work of Phillip Darnton over many years.
- Heidelberg Road (north) and Szeged Road (south) to reflect our friendships with Cambridge’s twin towns.
- I think in the long term it’s going to become important to us that these tracks are seen as serious roads for commuters, not just as leisure routes or green spaces. I suggest that it would thus be incredibly helpful to make sure they get serious, grown-up road names. In particular, I suggested honouring our twin towns by naming them Heidelberg Road and Szeged Road. (Way or Street would be acceptable substitutes for Road.) Maybe these suggestions are too continental and pretentious for some, and I’d be equally happy with any other traditional-sounding street name. I just think that calling them Such-and-such Track, or Chainring Street, or anything else that sounds like it should be full of MTBers, will make it harder to press for improvements and maintenance later.
- Cycle Street.
- If we want to be consistent with the long-established practice for referring to long-distance roads in the UK, we should simply call it NCR 51. Or even ‘The NCR 51’.
This resulted in the comment ‘As a serious suggestion, I like this. It makes it sound like a proper commuting road, which it is really.’
Collated and arranged by Monica Frisch