Hills Road cycleway: lessons to be learnt

Live on Hills Road? Travel along it?

Then you will know it’s been a rough ride since council contractors arrived at the beginning of January 2015 to replace our cycleway.

There has been deep dissatisfaction over the length of time this project has taken, as well as about working practices – and ironically, about the reduced road safety during construction.

With other Lib Dem councillors, I persuaded the County Council to undertake a review of the cycleway so that lessons can be learnt about what went well and what didn’t go so well, and applied in future projects.

Nearly 600 people participated in our survey on the quality of the cycleway and its construction. While cycling levels have gone up and cyclists say they feel safe on the cycleway, it’s not such a good story when it comes to the safety of pedestrians. We have had reports of  collisions at bus stops and delays for emergency vehicles. The project management came in for heavy criticism, with 45% of respondents describing the efficiency of the construction process as poor, inadequate, or very poor.

There were over 500 individual comments Hills Road survey Q10  (Additional comments), including 200 on road safety Hills Road survey Q7.2. We will be pushing to make sure that all of them are taken on board.

The survey results will be considered at the August meeting of the Council’s Economy & Environment Committee. Here is a link to the report.

A bicycle lane needs a coach like a coach needs a loading ban

Safety v convenience. What do you think?

Total disregard for safety

Van outside the EF — Sam Davies

The new cycleways on Hills Road are frequently blocked by coaches, delivery vehicles, and even council contractors working on the cycleway. While the vehicles are usually not there for long, accidents also happen in a flash.

The County Council is proposing to introduce a loading ban, which would prohibit any parking, even for loading and offloading, at peak times – 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. There would be waivers for removal vans, wedding and funeral vehicles, but not for other vehicles such as supermarket delivery vans.

The County Council has advertised the Traffic Regulation Order in the Cambridge News and with notices in the street attached to lampposts. The deadline for objections has been extended to 19th April.

View the details Hills Rd loading ban TRO v2

Send any objections, giving your reasons, to the County Council using the details in the pdf. It is great to have your questions and comments here, but please respond to the TRO to make them count.

We did it! Busway lighting agreed

Busway 1Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to provide LED lighting on the guided bus bridleway – a victory for all the 230 people who petitioned for lights in the interests of public safety. The new lights will go along the Busway maintenance track from Cambridge railway station to Trumpington Park and Ride.

The County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee voted almost unanimously for it yesterday, following speeches in support from myself and  Trumpington county councillor Barbara Ashwood as well as Jim Chisholm of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

I am delighted that at last we will be getting lighting along the bridleway. Usage doubled in the first year alone and there are now over 2,000 journeys a day, including many peoplewalking or cycling to work. Because it is completely unlit, it is unsafe in the early morning and evening, especially now the clocks have gone back. There have been accidents to individuals, and there are many who won’t use it after dark because of personal safety concerns.  This is very good news for everyone who uses the cycleway. Thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign.

Lighting up time for the Guided Busway

Most people in Cambridgeshire have heard of the Guided Busway that runs between Trumpington, Huntingdon and St Ives – even if not always for the reasons its creators would like. Sadly, one of the country’s most ambitious transport projects has been blighted by poor project management, leading to legal wrangles that have cost the county millions of pounds in interest alone.

It’s not all bad news. The guided buses have attracted more passengers than forecast. And one of the unexpected bonuses of the Busway has been the bridleway running alongside it, well used in the three years that the Busway has been open. Completely separated from traffic it provides a convenient and safe route, and it’s well used both by pedestrians and cyclists.

But it is not reaching its full potential. It could be better used still – were it lit. Illumination would make it safe for cycling and walking on at all hours, all year round. Back in 2012, people I know in the community and at work asked me to see if I could get lighting installed. In the winter months, it is pitch black at the end of the working day, and not much better at the beginning. Many people working at Addenbrooke’s start early in the morning and can get caught at both ends of the day. (more…)

Roundabout survey this Thursday: can you help?

Amanda at Fendon Rd roundabout

Amanda at Fendon Rd roundabout

The Fendon Road roundabout near Addenbrooke’s Hospital is a cause of concern to many local residents, and we have been asked for a pedestrian crossing, as well as safety improvements to the roundabout, which has one of the worst accident records in the city (34 crashes in one 5-year period).

Local campaigner Dr Tim Moore monitored traffic one morning during rush hour. In just one hour, he saw more than 300 cyclists pass through the area and more than 150 pedestrians, many of them school and college students. He also witnessed two near-miss accidents involving pedestrians and a further incident where a cyclist was forced to jump onto the pavement to avoid being hit by a vehicle.

Here is a video taken by cycling teacher Rad Wagon, showing the volume and speed of traffic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLB8aKMmqZU

Dr Moore is working with me and fellow local councillor George Pippas, and we are working on Cambridgeshire County Council to make safety improvements.

To provide evidence, we shall be carrying out a traffic survey this Thursday, counting vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, covering Fendon Road, Mowbray Road and Queen Edith’s Way during both rush hours. We’ll present our findings to Cambridgeshire County Council highways officers.

Thank you to all those who have offered to help. We could still do with a few more people. Could you spare 15-30 minutes on Thursday afternoon? If you can, please email our Survey Co-ordinator, Dr Tim Moore: [email protected], or phone him on 07973 882121.

Cycling blackspots: government announces funding to fix jeopardous junctions

Personal injury lawyers Levenes published a Top Ten Cycling Blackspots for Cambridge earlier this year. Two are in Queen Ediths – see their interactive map.

The Queen Edith’s Way/Fendon Road junction near Addenbrooke’s has the second worst accident record in the city – 34 crashes between 2005 and 2010;  the Hills/Cherry Hinton Road junction had 23. Work has been done on the Hills Road bridge, but the Cherry Hinton Road turn into Hills Road is still the most unnerving manoeuvre of my daily commute. Addenbrooke’s is generally difficult on a bike – or, for that matter, on foot.

In Queen Edith’s as a whole there were 13 accidents involving cyclists that caused serious injuries.

With this in mind, I very much welcome the announcement by Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker that £15 million is to be assigned to safety improvements at dangerous junctions for cyclists. It is not enough money of course – but it is a good start. There should be enough to do about 75 junctions.

Local authorities will be bidding for the fund. I would encourage you to write to the Transportation Department at Cambridgeshire County Council to support funding for the junctions that you consider dangerous, explaining why. As Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, a great cycling advocate, has said, “In order to promote cycling we have to make it safer, and that requires investment in infrastructure.”

Bring it on.