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.

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 cycleway: how’s it been for you?

The first phase of the County Council’s new cycleway on Hills Road has had a big impact.

The County tells us it has increased cycling numbers since 2013, and it certainly makes for a smoother ride, especially on the southbound side of the road. It’s changed the landscape of Hills Road.  And it’s given us new bus stops.

October 2015 – Week 37, scheduled completion date!

BUT: the cycleway has generated hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls, due not just to the new road layout but to the sheer length of time it’s taken – or more correctly it is taking.  Two years on, it is still not completely finished, with the pink tarmac petering out at Holbrook Road, and a sedum strip that patently has not flourished. Residents have told me of many other examples of unfinished work.

Traffic management during construction was poor, ironically often putting cyclists and pedestrians at risk.

Was it worth it?

After a lot of effort, we have 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. Although the next stretch of Hills Road going up to Addenbrooke’s is already scheduled, we have asked that the findings of the review be incorporated  during the works as they emerge. They will also inform future projects.

I am on a working party which will be looking at different types of evidence including the user experience, travel statistics and accident records. We would like to invite you to take part in an online survey and we are looking for views from all road users — that includes the experience of residents.

We want to know about your experience of the cycleway if you use it as a cyclist, and also about its impact on you if you don’t cycle, ie if you walk, take the bus, or drive.

Here is a link to the survey: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/hillsroadcycleway/

Hills Road cycleway this weekend

Red tarmac going down

Red tarmac going down

Hills Road cycleway update: The County Council have advised me that their contractors will be laying down the final stretch of tarmac on the new cycleway Hills Road this Sunday — between Glebe Road and the end of the cycleway near Queen Edith’s Way and Long Road.

A reminder that there is still time to comment on the proposals for cycleways on Queen Edith’s Way and for the Fendon Road roundabout – until 1st August.

Hills Road cycle lanes: good news and bad news

Cycle lanes Sept 15_1809THE GOOD NEWS
The north-bound cycleway on Hills Road is now continuous, running from just past Long Road to just before Purbeck Road. It is good for cyclists to be able to ride continuously, and for pedestrians to have their pavement space back.

THE BAD NEWS
The south-bound cycleway works have not yet started. That side of the road has several junctions and lots of services cables and pipes under the pavement, at varying levels depending on the era in which they were installed. This is causing complications, making it unlikely that much progress could be made before the December ‘roadworks embargo’.

OR PERHAPS MORE GOOD NEWS, IN A WAY?
There will be no major works between now and the end of the year. To avoid leaving part-done works in place over Christmas, the contractor will now not be making a proper start on the southbound carriageway until January. Instead, Skanska will use the time to finish off the northbound side (including yellow lines and cycle markings) and prepare for starting the cycleway southbound side of the road. This should ensure smoother progress in the New Year. The streetlights work should be finished by the end of November too; those holes in the pavement have been around for far too long already.

There was a general update on the cycle lanes scheme at the October South Area meeting. Chris Rand, who writes the Queen Edith’s Online blog, reports on it here:

Hills Road Cycleway: some of our questions answered

Do read it – it’s a very good, and balanced report.

There is a Frequently Asked Questions post on my own website: http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2015/08/08/hills-road-cycle-lanes-frequently-asked-questions/

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.

 

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.

Hills Road cycle lanes layout: residents’ feedback prompts changes

hills roadIt is fair to say that views on the Hills Road cycle scheme are mixed, at least amongst local residents.

Council consultation results show Queen Edith’s residents split 50-50 between those who support the new segregated lanes and those who fear that the scheme will improve safety for cyclists at the expense of more vulnerable pedestrians.

Residents raised a number of concerns about safety, rat-running and access to properties. Councillors shared these concerns and asked County Council Highways officers to do further work to address safety issues. A number of changes have been made to the original proposals and the scheme will go back to councillors on 8th July.

Here is the report that they will receive. cycle lanes

  • There is now a clearer division between footway, bus stop and cycleway.
  • All the bus stop islands will be at least 2 metres wide and all waiting facilities will be on the island, so passengers won’t have to cross the cycleway as the bus arrives.
  • As the cycle lane approaches the bus stop it will veer left and narrow to 1.5 metres; there will then be a short ramp up to the level pedestrian crossing point, which will have tactile paving and be a different colour to the cycle lane. These differences are to alert cyclists of the need to be mindful of pedestrians.
  • The kerbs will now be sloped to allow cyclists to mount more easily should the need to leave the carriageway arise.
  • Although there will be double yellow lines, there will not be a loading ban to allow commercial vehicles to park briefly.
  • New gullies will be installed and a full CCTV drainage survey carried out to identify any necessary repairs.

There are concerns that if there are additional traffic hold-ups, motorists may evade them by using smaller streets off Hills Road – four of which have schools/ nursery schools. It is hard to predict the effect in advance, but I shall be asking for a traffic survey to be carried out before and after the scheme is input.

Long Road Cycleway Improvements

Long-Road_7888_webWork is set to begin in February on improving the Long Road pavements and cycleways. This is the result of a campaign run by a local resident, with the support of the Lib Dem Focus Team, who helped her present the project as a candidate for Section 106 funding — money contributed by building developers as part of their planning obligations. The project was supported by both the South Area committee and the County Council Cabinet and £180,000 was allocated to it.

This will be good news for the many hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists who use Long Road every day, many of them going to school or college.

The path will be widened and provide a more level surface for walking and cycling. There will also be more space for crossing Sedley Taylor Road.

As part of the scheme, there will be a tidy-up of vegetation, and improvements to drainage.

For more information, see here: Long Road briefing note

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:

(more…)