Co-ordinator’s comment

This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 98.

Planning to get more people cycling?

What is completely clear is that the planning system has failed to provide an environment that will generate new cyclists in the Bell School area

We recently held an on-site meeting at the Bell School development, to help interested members understand the proposals and to help us formulate our collective view on the planning application for the entranceway.

Location of the proposed new cycle path along the edge of the development on the site of Bell School development.
Image as described adjacent

What is completely clear is that the planning system has failed to provide a cycle-friendly environment around this site. A massive opportunity to improve the area is not being taken up. Instead we see:

  • An entranceway location that is so obviously unsuitable that any particular configuration simply will not work in terms of catering for traffic and cyclist needs.
  • Compromised (narrow) cycleway through the development from the south end.
  • A street link to Addenbrooke’s which desperately needs parking removed.
  • A missed opportunity to provide Dutch-style provision all the way along Babraham Road in this area. Perhaps some of this can still be achieved.
Parked cars obstructing the link to Addenbrooke’s.
Image as described adjacent

This whole area of the city is subject to enormous and transformative development. It is very clear that we as a cycling campaign need to increase our efforts in this area very considerably.

The massive amount of new housing should be an opportunity to obtain Dutch-style cycle tracks everywhere. Instead what seems likely is something far short of this.

Guided Busway cycleway open

Bell School development, location of toucan crossing: a Dutch-style cycleway is needed from this point.
Image as described adjacent

At long last the Guided Busway cycleway has opened, and it is terrific. Except of course for the section that will be flooded for up to a month per year, which will make a key route useless and result in people dangerously cycling on the busway tracks.

Our Committee has been pressing for quite some time for the County to address the issue properly. No motorist would accept a motorway that suddenly breaks in the middle. Cyclists should not be treated as second-class citizens in this way.

We have been making enquiries with various bodies to see what the actual likelihood of flooding is. It appears that the ‘month a year’ estimate may be pessimistic, but nonetheless the issue remains. In a city full of brains like Cambridge, a solution must be possible.

Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator