Cross city cycling*

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has launched a consultation on five schemes designed to improve safety for people walking or cycling across Cambridge.

Accident clustersThe one that is of greatest relevance to us in Queen Edith’s focuses on the Long Road-Queen Edith’s Way- Hills Road junction, a key route for schools, sixth form colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It’s a difficult junction to negotiate by bike or on foot, with fast-moving traffic coming from all directions and it’s a known accident cluster, as shown on the County Council’s map. I have lost count of the times people have said the latest new cycle lane being built on Hills Road should have started at this junction, rather than just after it.

It’s an expensive project, and the money on the table is from the City Deal, a government-funded infrastructure programme granted by Nick Clegg when Deputy Prime Minister during the coalition government.

Exhibitions

There is a programme of exhibitions showing the proposals, and two are in our area: Addenbrooke’s on 18th January, and St John’s Church on 3rd February. Alternatively, you can see plans and comment on line, on the City Deal website. The consultation is open until 15th February.

* Not, as it looks, a description of the city or the cyclists – better with a hyphen, I think!

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.

 

Queen Edith’s Way and Cherry Hinton Road pavements

The County Council has launched a consultation on pedestrian and cycle arrangements on Queen Ediths’ Way and Cherry Hinton Road.

dual useThe aim is to address safety concerns over the shared use pavements, whereby cyclists may legally ride on the pavement. Many do so to keep out of the way of heavy – and sometimes fast – motor traffic. This is entirely understandable – but ironically, in avoiding cars and vans, cyclists themselves pose a hazard to an even more vulnerable class of traveller – the pedestrians who use the pavements. It is a particular problem for people with disabilities, especially the visually impaired, who cannot see bikes coming or report incidents easily.

Cambridgeshire County Council conducted a trial of the shared use arrangement in the late 90s and despite strong local opposition, made the ‘trial’ permanent. It still doesn’t work terribly well: in Queen Edith’s Way, the combination of schoolchildren at one end of the road and a high proportion of older people in nearby Wulfstan Way frequently leads to conflict, with cyclists sometimes failing to slow down or stop when they encounter pedestrians. Many cycling campaigners would agree that shared use is a cheap compromise that satisfies no one, and that demarcated space is to be preferred.

So local councillors have asked the County Council to spend some of its transport fund on a solution in both these roads. The money comes from Section 106 funds – payments by building developers as part of their planning conditions to offset the traffic impact of their developments.

At this stage the County Council is asking residents and other road users for information on which areas they find particularly dangerous and what options they would consider. There’s an on line questionnaire to complete. It is important that the County hears from everybody, so if you know of places or groups of people who would appreciate printed copies, let me know.

 

 

Hills Road segregated cycleway work has started.

Cambridgeshire County Council is starting to build new segregated and raised cycle lanes on Hills Road. The works are taking place off-peak between 930 and 330pm. The new cycleways are set to be completed in the autumn.

There will be cones and temporary traffic lights during these times to create a safe working area. Whenever possible a cycle lane will be kept open throughout the road works.

Some weekend closures of the side roads will also be necessary to enable the works to be carried out with the least disruption to motor traffic — but not until the spring. Here is a list of planned closures:Floating Bus stop leaflet_main page

Hills Rd closures

As part of the scheme, all the bus stops along this stretch will have new bus shelters.

Concerns have been raised recently about the amount of grass verge being lost, as well as the siting of the new bus stops. A group of Hills Road residents and I met the Cycling Team last week and discussed various issues.

For changes to the original scheme to address safety concerns, see my previous post here.

If you did not get to one of thepublic exhibitions showing the plans, here are some technical drawings of the road layouts, as displayed

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_012_REV G-2

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_011_REV G-3

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_010_REV G-5

Hills Road cycle lanes scheme: view new layout

floatingbusstopTomorrow (Thursday 20th November), Cambridgeshire County Council will be at Rock Road Library, presenting the designs for the new road layout on Hills Road. If you looked at the Council’s original cycle lanes designs you should notice some changes from what the Council proposed earlier this year.

Residents raised a number of concerns with the original scheme, about safety, rat-running and access to properties. Councillors communicated these concerns to the Council and asked County Council Highways officers to do further work to address safety issues. A number of changes were made to the original proposals before the scheme was approved, to address concerns about conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. There are full details on the County Council website but here are the key points: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/hills-road

  • 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.

3pm-7.30 pm, ROCK ROAD LIBRARY, 20th November.

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.

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.

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.

£200,000 for Queen Edith’s transport projects

Amanda on the cycleway underneath Hills Road Bridge

Amanda on the cycleway underneath Hills Road Bridge

Today, Cambridgeshire County Council gave the green light to two local transport campaigns:

Both campaigns were initiated by local people who wanted to improve conditions for cycling and walking:

My own Light the Cycleway petition asked for lighting on the bridleway that runs alongside the Guided Busway, to make it safe to use at all hours. At present it is pitch black both in the mornings and evenings, and there have been several accidents, including falls, bumps and serious injuries such as a sprained wrist and smashed teeth. There is also the personal safety issue for women – something that has been raised with county council transport officers.

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.

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