Busway lighting coming at last

IMG_2694SMWalkers and cyclists on the track alongside the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway should be able to see where they are going this winter, thanks to new LED lights to be installed over the next few months. The lights are being funded by local developers.

This is the result of a long-running campaign to make the route safe in the early mornings and evenings.

Funding was agreed in principle in 2012 following a petition run by Amanda Taylor and fellow Liberal Democrats in response to people concerned about accidents, but the project was held up last year by UKIP and Tory county councillors who wanted to divert the money to their own areas.

Cambridgeshire County Council has created a timetable and fact sheet which you can view on line at

The new lights will be Light Emitting Diode (LED) and there will be 68 between the railway station and Trumpington Park & Ride, and 23 north of Milton Road. They will direct the light downwards to illuminate the track.

Rural county councillors combine to block Busway lights

It is frustrating to report that the County Council’s Economy & Environment Committee refused last week to approve extra funding required for lights on the Guided Busway bridleway, instead voting to defer the decision until the committee’s next meeting (September). Even if the lighting gets the OK then, the delay will mean the lights cannot be installed until December – meaning yet another dark winter for people using the path and cycleway.

The vote was 9 for deferral, 7 against, the votes to defer coming from UKIP, Independent and all but two of the Tory councillors. The chair abstained.

The reasons given betrayed a total lack of understanding on the part of several councillors of how Section 106 transport funding works and in particular, the need to demonstrate that a scheme mitigates the transport impact of a development. See previous post.

But several councillors took a rather ‘dog in the manger’ attitude, arguing that because streetlights are being removed in their villages, cyclists in Cambridge should not have lights.

The most ridiculous comment came from Wisbech councillor Cllr Alan Lay (UKIP), who declared that he had experienced the blackout during the Second World Way, and couldn’t see what cyclists and pedestrians were making ‘such a fuss about’.

The fight continues. If you support the campaign and know people who live in other parts of the county and who have Conservative/ UKIP/ Independent councillors, I would urge you to write to them.

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…)

South Area councillors support cycling schemes

A bunch of simple line bikes. Image: Bianchessi

Transport was on the agenda again at this week’s South Area Committee meeting – councillors were receiving a report on transport projects from the County Council. Highways officers had assessed projects proposed by local people last March, and assigned them scores.

My Light the Cycleway proposal, to light the bridleway running alongside the Guided Busway, was given the top score, and another local project, improving the cycleways on Long Road, were given two of the top scores, and were well supported by councillors. I went along to speak, as did Sam Davies, who has spearheaded the Long Road campaign. Read about it in the Cambridge News.

County gives top billing to Light The Cycleway and Long Road improvement proposals

It was a pleasant surprise to come back from holiday to see that the County Council has given top billing to my proposal for lighting the Guided Bus cycleway in a report going to Cambridge councillors tomorrow night (Wednesday 5th Sept).

This year I have been leading a campaign calling for better lighting along the city stretch of the Guided Busway bridleway, following a spate of accidents.

Cyclists have been injured while riding there, and others, especially women and older people, fear for their personal safety on dark stretches of the path.

Together with Trumpington councillor Caroline Shepherd, I launched a petition asking Cambridgeshire County Council to install lighting along the cycle path in Queen Edith’s and Trumpington.

The petition was supported by many working people and had the support of trade union UNITE. It garnered 230 signatures and I presented it to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22nd May. You can read an account of that here.

The cycleway is a fantastic facility for cyclists and pedestrians; it is well used, but the lack of lighting on most of the route poses a serious safety risk, especially as the days get shorter and it becomes dark both in the mornings and evenings.

Lighting this track provides an opportunity to make a good thing even better, and I am delighted that the County Council has put this project top of its list on value for money. I look forward to seeing progress.

Another scheme with very high scoring is a plan to remodel the Long Road cycleways by widening and resurfacing the existing shared us, to improve access for the thousands of people who walk or bike down Long Road en route to school or college as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The case for this was eloquently presented to the South Area meeting by Hills Road resident Sam Davies.

The funding for transport schemes is to come from developer contributions as part of their planning obligations. You can see the report and a list of all the projects under consideration here.

If you would like to lobby for any of the schemes being considered, contact your local councillors.

Stairway to heaven? New link from Hills Road Bridge to Guided Busway

Good news!

I am delighted to learn that Cambridgeshire County Council is going to build a link between the Hills Road Bridge and the Guided Busway cycle route. They have agreed to build a series of steps from the southern Busway Cycle route to the Hills Road Bridge. This will mean that people can avoid crossing Hills Road when travelling to Addenbrooke’s, Homerton College and Hills Road VI Form College.

There will be steps for pedestrians and channels for bikes. At present there is not enough space for a bike ramp, as the land alongside is owned by the property company, Savills.

Will Savills be public-spirited enough to release some of their parking space to allow the bridge-busway link to be even better? Not only cyclists, but people in wheelchairs or parents with pushchairs would be very grateful!

Light the cycleway! 230-name petition presented to Shire Hall Conservatives

Today I presented the petition for lighting the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway to the Conservative Cabinet of Cambridgeshire County Council. It closed on just over 230 signatures, 150 on line and 80+ on paper. A great show of support.

The petition’s main focus was on low-level lighting for safety reasons, but it included requests for signs and a dividing line.

I proposed these things should be funded by ‘developer contributions’, money for transport projects, contributed by developers as part of their planning obligations.

Here is the text of my speech:

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How would you improve transport in the south of Cambridge?

Transport and traffic are two of the hottest topics of debate in Cambridge. So I know there are lots of ideas for improving transport. Now it looks as though we may be able to put some of them into practice.

By law (Town & Country Planning Act 1990), councils may require money from developers to offset the impact of their developments. As this is laid out in Section 106 of the Act, the contribution is dubbed ‘Section 106 money’ by councillors. I do not know what the developers call it.

Cambridgeshire County Council is asking us for our ideas on how this money should be spent in the south of Cambridge. Projects should ‘mitigate the effect of the additional transport-related movements from new development’. The officers have come up with two proposals already:

  • a link between the Hills Road Bridge and the Guided Busway cycle route
  • a clean-up of signage on the ring road

They are asking us for further suggestions, and we shall be discussing proposals at the next South Area Committee on 5th March (Cherry Hinton Village Centre). So please let me have your brilliant ideas – come to the meeting too, if you can, as it is open to everyone.  If you’d like to join in the discussion, why not post a comment here?

OK, I’ll get things started: My idea is signage and low-level lighting on the Guided Bus cycleway. What’s yours?