Cycle and pedestrian-friendly measures proposed for Greater Cambridge revealed
Detailed proposals for temporary cycle and pedestrian-friendly measures have been released by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Councillors will be asked to delegate powers to implement a long list of potential changes to the county’s road network when the highways and transport committee meets on June 16.
The council report on the proposals says that owing to the short time scales some suggested schemes may prove not to be feasible or may need altering when more detailed work begins, while other schemes may be added.
Changes are suggested for every district in the county, but some proposals are countywide, including commitments to increased cycle parking, reviewing crossing times at junctions, and increased monitoring to assess the impact of changes.
One significant countywide proposal would see every school in the county area – 207 primaries and 33 secondary schools – offered temporary road closures in their vicinity around opening and closing times.
The full list of schemes will be discussed by the committee on June 16, which could lead to some amendments, but once approved the council would likely begin work on implementation quickly, as the first tranche of government funding – £420,000 for the county council area – “requires that delivery of measures should be completed within eight weeks from receipt of funding”.
The changes are part of a wider government initiative to respond to the pandemic by encouraging social distancing and bringing about a longer-term shift to more walking and cycling.
The changes are also in part a response to the anticipated reduction in available public transport while social distancing is in effect. The report says “effective public transport capacity will be 10-20 per cent of pre Covid-19 levels” under the current social distancing guidelines.
The county council is proposing to reduce the road space available to private cars using segregated cycle lanes, reducing parking, blocking through-access to key routes, and introducing “modal filters” which block access to a road to all but specified users, such as cyclists, residents, businesses, buses or whatever the specific transport ambition is for certain streets.
The proposals range from allowing two-way cycling through the pedestrianised area of Huntingdon High Street, suspending car parking in St Neots Market Square with the exception of blue badge holders, and putting in place cycle lanes on key routes in and out of Cambridge, in the case of Hills Road by temporarily removing part of the bus lane.
In some cases the council plans to use Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETRO) – “a process not often used in Cambridgeshire” according to a council report – which can only stay in force for a maximum of 18 months while the effects are monitored and assessed.
The county council’s report said: “It is not possible to lodge a formal objection to an ETRO until it is in force. Once it is in force, objections may be made to the order being made permanent and these must be made within six months of the day that the experimental order comes into force.”
The report says the temporary scheme proposals were developed by county council officers with input from district councils, the Greater Cambridge Partnership, county councillors, Cambridge Cycle Campaign, Huntingdonshire Walking and Cycling Group and other residents.
It notes: “Due to the very tight timescales involved, it has not been possible to undertake a level of work that would be needed to guarantee that all measures proposed are deliverable in the timescales set out by government, or to undertake a level of local and stakeholder consultation that would allow any potential show stopping issues to be identified.”
As a consequence the committee is being asked to give delegated powers to make sure “flexibility is provided to allow changes to the programme, should they be needed, to remove schemes from the programme if they are undeliverable, and to bring new schemes into the programme in discussion with partners and key stakeholders if necessary and as funding allows”.
The Cambridge Cycling Campaign has welcomed the proposals.
A spokesperson for the campaign group said: “Camcycle would like to express our gratitude for the fast work of officers and councillors in responding to the Covid-19 crisis with a set of experimental schemes to provide more space for safe cycling and walking.
“We’re pleased to see a combination of simple, effective measures to tackle the immediate distancing challenges of the pandemic such as point closures and traffic signal changes alongside more ambitious projects to help more people to cycle, such as improvements along the key Cambourne to Cambridge commuter route and a countywide programme to improve safety around schools.”
The group said “many” of its suggestions had been incorporated.
Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire
Many proposed changes in the Greater Cambridge area follow routes where work is already under way or being planned to encourage transport without using private cars, including key routes identified in and out of the city by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which will provide funds for some of the proposed temporary measures.
- Cambourne to Cambridge corridor: Proposals include introducing segregated cycle lanes on parts of Queens Road, Madingley Road and Sidgwick Avenue in Cambridge, and making the latter one-way.
- St Neots Road in Hardwick: This could be limited to buses and cycles only, as could a “short section” of Grange Road north of West Road in Cambridge.
- The route connecting Babraham Park & Ride to Addenbrooke’s and the city centre: Cars could be prohibited from a section of Nightingale Avenue between Rotherwick Way and Topcliffe Way, a section of Luard Road adjacent to Luard Close, and restricting through movements between Hills Road and Long Road and Queen Edith’s Way.
- Hill Road, Cambridge: A proposal is also included to look at removing the bus lane on Hills Road, “from Station Road to Catholic Church”. This could make space for a wider walkway and a two metre cycle lane. The document says Hills Road is “critical” for the bus network in the city, so this would be kept “under review as traffic levels pick up”.
- Station Road, Cambridge: The document suggests removing parking and creating “light segregated cycle lanes”.
- Milton: Proposed changes include a 20mph speed limit on the high street, and widening the pavement between the White Horse and Lion and Lamb pubs. One proposal would see cars prevented from heading southbound on Ely Road to prevent “rat-running” through the village from the A10.
- Segregated cycle lanes are also proposed for parts of Milton Road, Cowley Road, Newmarket Road, Elizabeth Way and East Road.
- Mill Road: Non-specific plans to give more space over to pedestrians are included.
- City centre the pedestrian zone could have its hours extended from 10am to 4pm to 10am to 6pm, with the restrictions enforced on Sundays in future too. A review of exemptions afforded to private hire vehicles at certain restriction points has also been proposed.
Many other proposed changes also make the list, which also includes more generalised ambitions, including introducing more cycle parking, making roundabouts more cycle-friendly and exploring wider car restrictions on a number of residential streets and in the city centre.
Proposals for Ely
- Forehill: One way cycle path up the hill with barriers, no parking either side, allows for more movement for cycling and pedestrians
- Brays Lane: One way at Forehill end, two-way for cyclists from Forehill to entrance to Waitrose car park
- Station Road: Temporarily remove car parking on bays on the left hand side going down the hill to extend cycle path and to include temporary barriers to extend cycle lane down Station Road
- Back Hill: Widen pavements of Back Hill for commuters walking to the station while school children are walking the other way. Gov.
- Ely city centre-Ely Station, Back Hill and Station Road: Further improvements to those proposed above to be considered, for example: Advisory cycle lanes on both sides of the road, removal of carriageway centre line and some parking and making the area a 20mph zone; Angel Drove / Station Road junction to station - Widen existing shared-use path on Station Road and extend into Station access road and consider installing parallel crossing to station; continue cycle lane on north east side of Station Road to the bridge and provide priority crossing and signalled crossing to station. Longer-term route to station via new developments to be considered through the Marina and industrial area to Station Road, which would include a new bridge
Ely centre to Ely North
- Make short section of Minster Place 2-way for cyclists to path linking to Church Lane.
- Make Silver St 20mph and consider traffic calming measures and marking cycle symbols.
- Reverse one-way on Church Lane to provide alternative cycle route to Minster Place.
- Undertake traffic review and consider changes to junction priority at the Lynn Road / Minster Place junction to provide a safe route north from Minster Place to Lynn Road.
- Consider advisory cycle lanes and traffic calming measures on Lynn Rd and widen off-road shared path up to hospital. Improve roundabout crossing with more continental design.
Ely Centre to Ely West
- Consider traffic calming measures and on-road advisory cycle lanes on West Fen Road: with removal of centre line..
- Downham Road: Consider advisory cycle lanes and / or traffic calming measures. Change layout of the Cam Drive/Downham Road roundabout to a more continental design to reduce speed and improve cycle crossings. Widen footway to provide a shared use provision to the off-road path to the leisure
Ely Redrow / Kings Avenue to Town Centre and Station
Include reducing speed limit to 30mph New Barns Lane Contra flow cycle lane at New Barns Road
Proposals for East Cambridgeshire
- Footpath between Brook Dam and Brook Street: Consider widening for more cycle space from Brook Dam to Brook Street
- Sand Street / Fordham Road: Consider a continuous cycleway from Sand Street to Downfields
- Fountain Lane / Station Road: Cycle route from High Street to station
- Clay Street: Make Clay Street one-way, providing more space for cyclists, which would also give more space on Fountain Lane and Station Road
Fordham to Soham
- Narrow junction at Sharman's Rd.
- Soham Rd/Fordham Rd: widen existing shared use path where possible and add solar studs where unlit.
- Consider on-road provision through Downfields and on Sand St with traffic calming measures.
- Continue traffic calming through High St and through to new station via Clay St.
- Ely Road - Investigate whether continuous pedestrian provision can be made on south side of Ely Road between Church Lane and Co-op at A142 roundabout
- Ely Road to link with new cycle path near Co-op
Ely to Littleport: Lynn Road / Ely Road between Littleport and Ely: Speed reduction to 40mph. 2m cycle lane on each side of the road
Cheveley Little Green, Cheveley:White lines on external side of road, to emphasise road. Narrow road with no pavements, but walked by a lot of residents
Bottisham A1303 between High Street and Bell Road: Investigate temporary physically segregated cycle facilities and implement if safe to do so
Bottisham to Newmarket A1303: Cycle path continued parallel to the A1303 all the way to Newmarket town centre (investigate temporary measures). Permanent measures will need a funding package
Burwell to Swaffham Prior: Widen shared use path to 3m where possible and install solar studs. Traffic-calming measures through Burwell and Swaffham Prior.
More by this authorBen Hatton, Local Democracy Reporter
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