Big Green Bus Company to take over the 114

The Haverhill-based Big Green Bus Company has taken over the 114 bus service running between Addenbrooke’s and the Grafton Centre, previously operated by Whippet Coaches before they deregistered the 114 and 16 other services at the beginning of the summer.

The route is the same but timings are slightly different. Here is the new timetable.

The 114 bus service is subsidised by Cambridgeshire County Council, which was not anticipating Whippet pulling out so suddenly. Councillors discussed the deregistrations at the August meeting of the Economy and Environment committee. I attended on behalf of Queen Edith’s and explained that the 114 reaches streets that are not covered by other bus routes, providing a service to people in Mowbray Road, Lichfield Road and Hulatt Road who would find it hard to get to other services. It enables people to get from here to Sainsbury’s and the Beehive Centre, and in the other direction, it brings people to Addenbrooke’s.

I am pleased to report that the committee voted to retender the service.

Roadworks and events

road-closureThe County Council has sent me its latest list of new roadworks and events. This is for things starting between 1st and 15th September – please see previous posts for works already in progress.

Check out:

  • Glebe Road
  • Queen Edith’s Way
  • Robinson Way
  • Frances Crick Avenue
  • Addenbrooke’s Road

The extent of the works varies from minor to major but please see the attachment for details so you can vary your route if necessary.

CITY 1-15

Council road closure delayed

The road closure at Addenbrooke’s, due to begin today, has now been delayed until next Monday, 19th June. The City Deal has put the date back because there are extra underground utilities cables that need to be moved.

The road closure is to facilitate the construction of the next phase of the new cycleway on Hills Road and will involve the closure of the road between Long Road and the Addenbrooke’s roundabout to outbound traffic for approximately 14 weeks . There will be a diversion via Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road – see the plan on my previous post. The citybound lane will still be open to traffic.

The City Deal assure us that they will still meet the finish date of early September.

Hills Road closure: seven questions

County Council officers claim there are ‘many good reasons’ why they need to close Hills Road to enable construction of new cycleways. It is set to be a 24-7 closure, starting in May and lasting for five months. I can see many reasons why this is a bad idea and have grave concerns about access to the hospital (especially the Rosie Maternity Hospital and A&E), the impact on students sitting exams, and the knock-on effect on smaller, neighbouring roads. I have put seven questions to the County Council:

1. What studies have been done of the impact on neighbouring roads?

2. What contact has there been with schools and colleges in the area, and what has their response been?

3. What has the response been from Addenbrooke’s A&E Department, the Rosie Maternity Hospital and the ambulance service?

4. As the closure is proposed to begin in May, what contact has there been with the City Council elections department as to how this might affect people going to vote in local elections?

5. What assessment was done of alternative options such as a non-peak closure?

6. What arrangements are proposed for non-vehicular traffic?

7. How will residents access their homes?

I await their response. Meanwhile, if you have additional questions, please keep them coming.

Also, visit the exhibition on Thursday where the plans will be on display:

Thursday 26th January 17.30 – 19.30 St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road.

All aboard the Abbey-Addenbrooke’s Express!

115 busGood news! We’re getting a new bus service. Starting next month, the new 115 service, run by Whippet, will run hourly between the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The bus will stop at both Long Road and Hills Road sixth form colleges, St Bede’s and the Perse. In the other direction, it drops you off at shopping and leisure destinations such as Sainsbury’s, Mill Road, the Abbey Pool and the Cambridge United football ground.

The new service is a trial, funded by Section 106 developer contributions and will be made permanent if there is good take-up – so if you enjoy shopping, swimming or soccer, take a ride on the 115. Its first journey will be on Tuesday 3rd May.

Here’s a timetable and a handy map showing the route

Parking survey in the Morley area

Working witMarshall Roadh residents, I am surveying the streets in the north of Queen Edith’s on parking problems.

The streets suffer from a daily influx of visitors: students, office workers, shoppers, Leisure Centre visitors – and even hospital staff. This severely limits the parking spaces for  local people, and there has also been dangerous parking, cars on the pavement, blocked drives, damage and petty crime.

Parking is a problem throughout Queen Edith’s, but it makes life particularly difficult in the older housing opposite the sixth form college and Homerton, as many of the houses have no drives.

Parking controls for some streets in the area have been agreed twice, in 2004 and 2009, but then not implemented by the County Council due to policy changes.

Residents ran a petition to Hills Road VI Form College earlier this year asking them to stop their students from parking in residential streets. I am working with some of the residents and with County Council officers  charged with addressing parking issues in Cambridge. Following a meeting and a walkabout with the officers, we are now gauging the support for parking controls – which could include a residents’ parking scheme*. If you live between Blinco Grove and Rathmore Road, you should receive a survey through your letterbox soon.

*For more information on how residents’ parking schemes work, including permits for visitors and medical professionals, see http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20018/parking_permits_and_fines/9/parking/2

Hills Road: life in the slow lane, and the Tory switch-off plan

Cones on Hills Road

Cones on Hills Road

Cambridgeshire County Council‘s Cycling Team and the contractor for the Hills Road project will be coming to Queen Edith’s on October 5th to report on the slow-running Hills Road cycle lanes.

Or should that read ‘the slow lanes’? The project was scheduled to take 37 weeks but we are in week 36 already and they still haven’t finished the first side. More red tarmac went down last weekend but the route still involves a mixture of surfaces and cyclists having to move onto the road. All road users are having difficulties: drivers are delayed, pedestrians cannot cross the road because of rows of traffic cones, and bus users have had bus stops out of commission for weeks on end.

The officers will report on the Hills Road project and  take questions, then tell us about other cycle-related matters, including the Chisholm Trail cross-city cycle route.

Here is a link to the agenda of the South Area meeting. There’s also an open forum session and a report on environmental services in the south of the city (rubbish, graffiti and vandalism).

7pm, St John’s Church, Hills Road.

switchoff map

Under Conservative proposals only the blue roads would be lit at night.

STOP PRESS: The meeting will also receive a report on the County Council’s proposals to switch off streetlights at night. County Tories want to stop night-time lighting in an attempt to make the books balance, in the face of swingeing central government cuts to local government.

We believe this will have an unacceptable impact on road safety and on individual safety in Cambridge, given the high numbers of residents and visitors who are about after midnight or early in the morning.

LOCAL BLOGGER CHRIS RAND HAS POSTED A REPORT OF THE DISCUSSION ON HIS WEBSITE: http://queen-ediths.co.uk/cambridge-planning/hills-road-cycleway-some-of-our-questions-answered/

Police report

The neighbourhood police report a burglary in Gunhild Way this month, with forced entry breaking glass in a back door. There has also been criminal damage in the vicinity of Long Road.
Bicycles have been stolen in Holbrook Road (from a shed), Long Road, Hills Road and Addenbrooke’s.

The current police priorities for the next 3 months are:

  1. To combat Drug Dealing;
  2. To combat ASB on the Quarry Lakes
  3. To improve Road-safety (via combating inconsiderate parking/cycling etc)

To find out more about your Neighbourhood Policing Team visit https://www.cambs-police.co.uk/myneighbourhood/locate.asp

To contact Police:-
In an emergency always call 999
For all non-emergencies 101
For property registering, visit www.immobilise.com

Crimestoppers
To give information anonymously about crime. Call 0800 555 111.

Hills Road cycle lanes: Frequently Asked Questions

Hills Road cycle lanesCambridgeshire County Council’s new cycle lanes on Hills Road have generated a record number of questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common ones:

Q: Why is Cambridgeshire County Council doing this?

A: The County wishes to enhance cycleways in order to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population, which will result in more traffic. The County would like to keep the extra motorised traffic to a minimum and encourage other modes of transport. Similar schemes have substantially increased cycling in other areas, particularly amongst children.

Q: How is it being funded?

A: Through central government’s Cycle City Ambition Fund.

Q: Who approved it?

A: County Council Highways officers identified Hills and Huntingdon Roads as main routes into Cambridge that would benefit from enhancement. The scheme was first presented to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee in May 2014. Councillors deferred it as they were unhappy with elements of the scheme including the floating bus stops, and changes were made. It was passed in July 2014 at the second time of asking, with an undertaking to conduct traffic surveys before and after implementation, an amendment I requested, in order to assess the level of rat-running as a result of the narrower road carriageway. One survey was done last year and another will be done after completion.

Q: Will any trees be felled?
A: The County Council has stated categorically that no trees will be felled. Some pruning of vegetation that encroaches onto the public highway may be necessary.

Q: Will new rubbish bins be provided at bus stops?
A: Providing litter bins is a City Council responsibility. The County Project Team is discussing with City Council about replacement of old bins with new ones and other locations where a new bin may be desirable.

IMAG1839Q: How will works across junction mouths be organised?
A: Junctions are being closed off at weekends to allow works to be safely and quickly undertaken. Letterdrops to residents and advanced warning notices inform those affected at least one week in advance.

Q: How will work on junction mouths of cul de sacs be organised?
A: Junction works to be constructed one half at a time with access maintained into/out of the cul de sac.

Q: Could the concrete layby near Glebe Road be used as a bus stop?
A: This layby is halfway between two other bus stops so if a bus stop went there, the other two stops would be removed, meaning bus users would have a long walk to the next stop.

Q: What consultation took place before this scheme was agreed?
A: The proposals were advertised in FOCUS, as well as via a streetletter from myself to all residents in Hills Road and several of the side roads. The County Council delivered leaflets with feedback forms to a wide local area and held local staffed events in March 2014. Drawings and information on the proposed scheme were put on the County Council website, together with contact details.  The Team also had information stalls at Hills Road VI Form College, Long Road VI Form College and at an Addenbrooke’s Sustainability Event.

In November 2014 the County Cycling Team wrote again to residents inviting them to a pre-construction event at Rock Road Library — an opportunity to find out about boundary issues, construction sequence etc.  This event was well attended by residents of Hills Road. The letter included details of where the final drawings could be seen on the website and asked residents to provide email addresses if they wanted updates on the scheme.

Q: What will happen when there are weddings and funerals at the church? What about hearses and wedding cars?
A: The Cycling Team has been liaising with St John’s Church. During construction, the cycleway works will be left in an appropriate state to accommodate wedding cars and hearses. After completion, wedding cars and hearses will be able to park for the duration of services, as the new cycle lanes are not ‘mandatory’ and there are no loading restrictions attached to the double yellow lines.

Q: Is the width of the carriageway being reduced?
A: Yes, the carriageway width is being reduced, to 6m.

Q: Will there be a loss of grass verges?
A: The roadside verges next to the road will go, but there is a half metre sedum strip between the cycleway and the footway on both sides of the road.

On the outbound side of Hills Road, the verges next to the houses will be largely the same except where space is needed for the floating bus stops.   On the citybound side (the side with the current shared-use cycle/footway) the verges next to the houses are increasing.

Here is a link to the drawings showing details:
On the west side of Hills Road (S to N), from No. 284 to 256, and from 248 to 228, a 800 or 900mm wide strip of footway will be turned into new verge. From No. 226 to Homerton College this strip widens to between 1.4 and 1.6m and then it is about 2.5m wide running past Homerton College. On the east side (S to N),  there are no significant areas of new verge until you get to the block north of Glebe Road, No.s 253 to 247 have 1.2m wide new verges. Re. the loss of those verges on the residence side of the footway, the only real areas where there is loss of verge is near the floating bus stops (and to some extent near crossings) but this does vary depending on the location.

Q: Was Cambridge City Council consulted?
A: The City Council is a statutory consultee for every cycling project within Cambridge.   The Project Team was keen to gain the input of City’s Urban Design team on the Huntingdon Road and Hills Road schemes – a meeting with the City’s Head of Urban Design was arranged before the schemes were approved and, in neither case were concerns raised about the proposals.

Q: Are our streetlights being replaced to facilitate the cycleway scheme?
A: No, the streetlighting on Hills Road is not being replaced as a result of the cycleway scheme but as part of the County’s streetlighting replacement programme – as such, the lighting along the whole length of Hills Road is being updated to conform with new British standards.

Q: At present, the pavement cycleway on the northbound side of Hills Road provides a convenient way of turning into Luard Road. Won’t the new arrangement be more dangerous?
A: The main carriageway on Hills Road will be narrowed to 6m, which should reduce traffic speeds. Equally, the speeds of vehicles exiting side roads should be slowed by the tighter turning movements required by the new scheme.

The Road Safety Audit 2 did not raise any issues about the changes to this junction, nor the removal of the shared-use foot/cycleway. The new scheme (unlike the shared-use foot/cycleway) gives cyclists on Hills Road priority through the junction with Luard Road so there should be a reduction in the number of cycle-related accidents at this location. Less confident cyclists on Hills Road may choose to pull in and wait on the left side of the new southbound 2.3m cycle lane before turning right. The County Council will monitor the situation and may consider installing a central island that would offer cyclists some protection whilst waiting to turn right.

Q: How will it be made clear that vehicles cannot drive across or park on the cycleway?

A: Cycle symbols will be added to the cycle lane and double yellow lines will be painted on the main carriageway (next to the outside edge of the cycle lane) to prevent parking in the new lane. This work should be taking place on the northbound side in  November 2015.

Q: How will the construction for the southbound side of Hills Road be handled?

A: The intention is to keep the citybound shared-use path open whilst the outbound works are carried out – to ensure safety for cyclists and pedestrians during the construction phase. The footpath work will be done first, then the cycleway and ‘Cambridge kerb’.

Q: Whom do I contact for more information?
A: If it is an operational matter, contact Grant Weller at Cambridgeshire County Council: [email protected] If your question is about consultation or general principles, contact Mike Davies: [email protected]

MONDAY 5TH OCTOBER: REPORT ON THE PRESENTATION ON CYCLING SCHEMES AT SOUTH AREA MEETING, ST JOHN’S CHURCH, HILLS ROAD.

Guided Busway lights are going in!

Cones for the trenches for the lights

Cones for the trenches for the lights

Amanda with one of the new light columns

The new lights are in hand!

At long last, work has begun to instal lights on the bridleway along the Guided Busway.

This is the culmination of a campaign that started in 2012, with a LightTheCycleway! petition presented to the Conservative County Council Cabinet requesting lighting on the southern section of the Busway, between the railway station and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Trenching work began on Monday near the Hauxton Road bridge, and column positions have been marked out this week. The plan is to complete the lighting by the autumn, in time for the darker evenings. Here’s a County Council document with more information.

See background on the reasons for the lighting.