This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 97.
Ride alongside the Busway
At long last, the cycleway alongside the Busway will be ready for use on 7 August: a premier cycle route linking Cambridge with Huntingdon and St Ives.
Further good news has been the confirmation that the whole length of the route will be surfaced, rather than the outer end being a just-about-acceptable but still rough path.
Several members have commented that the blacktop surfacing is a refreshing example of how cycle provision should be done: a smooth, wide and almost uninterrupted cycleway that will really encourage new cycling journeys, together with good cycle parking at the bus stops.
It remains disappointing that parts of the cycleway will be under water for up to one month per year. For such a premier route, this is not acceptable. We will continue to press for this to be corrected.
As many members will be aware, National Grid has been renewing gas mains around the city. No-one would begrudge the need to undertake this work, and everyone accepts that some disruption is inevitable.
National Grid have done a good job in keeping everyone informed about the stages of the works. But what has not been so good has been the tendency of their contractors to erect ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs at every opportunity, even when a road is not fully closed.
For instance, works at the junction of Downing Street and St Andrew’s Street involved the digging up of the cycle lane here. The rest of the road remained open to traffic. But a ‘Cyclists Dismount’ sign was added – which is completely wrong, as those on bikes have every right to use the road. The correct sign would be ‘Cycle Lane Closed’. There have been many other cases where cyclists, a group of road users important for the efficient operation of the city, have not been properly considered.
I take the view that much of this is probably ‘cock-up’ rather than ‘conspiracy’. But it is happening despite National Grid having explicitly been told about the problems wrong signs cause. Principally, it leads to a culture where cyclists, who are legally permitted to use a stretch of road, are conditioned to ignore signs simply because the signage itself is incorrect.
We have sent a briefing to National Grid to pass on to its contractors, and hope that these mistakes can be avoided for the remainder of the works.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator