Cycling projects: time for the County Council to decide

Cyclists, hold your breath.

Two big cycling improvement projects are being recommended to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet next week:

And campaigners, take heart.

Both schemes are the direct result of people campaiging for the improvements they believed were needed:

my own Light the Cycleway petition to the County Council earlier this year

The transport officers at the County say:

The Guided Busway from the City Rail Station to the Trumpington Park and Ride Site is not lit. A petition was submitted raising this matter as a concern, and feasibility work is currently underway to examine options. The matter is an important issue and needs to be considered strategically with key stakeholders including South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council and the local communities that the CGB runs through. The Area Committee agreed that lighting the busway cycleway is a top priority and this scored highly in terms of value for money and as such is being recommended for funding. Lighting could significantly improve safety at night and increase pedestrian and cycle usage at night. The cost of electricity for the lights would be covered by the Busway access charge.

  • the Long Road Improvements campaign by Hills Road resident Sam Davies.

Officers say:

The poor condition of the cyleway in places has been raised as a concern. This proposal involves improving the existing shared use paths on both sides of Long Road by widening and resurfacing where appropriate, and relocating street furniture, which is a safety hazard to cyclists, between Trumpington Road and Hills Road as appropriate. These works will improve access to the hospital and Sixth Form College. All works are within the highway at an estimated cost of £100,000.

If the County Councillors follow their officers’ recommendation next week and vote these two projects through, it will be a victory for all the people who signed petitions, wrote letters and made speeches.

They are both to improve safety: the Guided Bus Cycleway is pitch black in the mornings and evenings at this time of year and I was asked to try and get it lit, following a spate of accidents. There have been people falling off the track, bumping into bollards as well as just feeling unsafe. The worst cases have been a sprained wrist and smashed teeth. Cyclists, especially women and the elderly, fear for their personal safety on dark stretches of the cycle path.

Together with Trumpington councillors Caroline Shepherd and Andy Blackhurst as well as the support of my trade union UNITE, I launched a Light the Cycleway! petition asking Cambridgeshire County Council to install lighting along the cycle path in Queen Edith’s and Trumpington. The petition garnered 230 signatures and I presented it to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22nd May.

Sam launched the Long Road Cycleways campaign, in her words ‘to improve safety for the thousands of people who walk or cycle along Long Road every day, many of them pupils on their way to or from school or college’. She is calling for a wider, safer and better maintained shared-use path, which will also be able to cope with increased pedestrian and cycle traffic from new housing and business developments in the south of Cambridge.

NOTE: Both projects are included in a County Council report to the Cabinet, which meets on 18th December. For a full agenda see the County Council website.

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