This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 98.
The controversial Busway between Trumpington and St. Ives opened on Sunday 7 August 2011. Cambridge Cycling Campaign welcomes the opening of a really good cycleway connecting Cambridge with St. Ives and many villages and as a safe route into the city’s green hinterland. Events Officer Simon Nuttall organised a ride on the opening day, starting at 10.30am by heading south from Cambridge railway station south past the Addenbrooke’s site to the Trumpington Park & Ride. The southern section is a quick and uninterrupted ride, passing underneath Hills Road Bridge, Long Road and Trumpington Road.
The Cambridge News published a couple of pictures of the Campaign ride on that section. The group of about 60 riders returned to the train station and then zigzagged as close to the proposed Chisholm Trail as currently possible. Comparing the indirect route through the streets of Cambridge with the southern section of the ‘Cyclebahn’, it is obvious how much faster and safer cycling from the railway station to Chesterton and the Science Park could be if the Chisholm Trail were to be built.
At the guided bus stop at the Cambridge Science Park on Milton Road the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Nimmo-Smith, and a few other riders joined the group. After a ‘pit-stop’ for delicious samosas near the old railway station at Impington at noon, the ride continued in perfect weather up to the Guided Bus stop at Swavesey, directly on the Prime Meridian, which we reached at 12.30pm. A number of faster riders had reached a nearby pub while others had a picnic in the grass and under the sun. The section between Swavesey and St. Ives has not officially been opened and engineering work is currently raising it to reduce the number of days it will be flooded. Of course building vital infrastructure for people to reach jobs and shops in a way that will render it useless for several days or weeks in most winters is one of the many oddities of this £180 million project.
Built by chance
To turn St Ivo’s Way into an exemplar ‘Cyclebahn’ will require some improvements. The track lacks line markings at the edges and it has a number of low bollards (apparently horse friendly) with no reflectors which present a hazard to cyclists riding in groups and/or in the dark. At the junctions with Long Road (near Long Road Sixth Form College), Milton Road and at Over there is room for improvement, as cyclists currently have to do counter-intuitive detours to join or leave the track. The section between the railway station and Trumpington is entirely urban and should have potential for nocturnal cycling (from late trains, visitors to city centre and pubs or Addenbrookes night shift) but has no street lighting, though it comes with ‘cyclists dismount’ signs at crossings.
St Ivo’s Way is a great addition for cyclists of all abilities in and around Cambridge. It is symptomatic of the whole project that what is arguably one of the best pieces of cycling infrastructure in the United Kingdom was obviously not planned as a cycleway.
In a non-representative online poll at tinyurl.com/nameCycleway ‘St Ivo’s Way’ had received 11 votes by the time the Newsletter went to press. If you want to vote for one of the names click on the accordion to display all options; those with votes are St Ivo’s Way, NCR 51, Cyclebahn and Something else.