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Put up fencing beside guided busway in Cambridge to protect cyclists and pedestrians,' councillor suggests

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A guided bus in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
A guided bus in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Concerns raised that people might swerve into tracks or fall along stretches with fast-moving buses

Fencing should be put up along stretches of the Cambridgeshire guided busway to keep cyclists and pedestrians separate from fast-moving buses, it has been suggested.

Speaking at the Cambridge south area committee on June 4 newly-elected Trumpington councillor Katie Thornburrow said she thought fences should be put up to keep cyclists and pedestrians on the path separate from the buses that use the busway on the stretch south from the city railway station to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Trumpington Park & Ride.

She said buses went quickly on that stretch of busway, and it could be dangerous if people swerved onto the tracks by mistake or fell.

Cllr Amanda Taylor, who represents Queen Edith’s ward at Cambridgeshire County Council, said she would raise the issue and agreed it is something which should be looked into. She said a fence would at least provide something for people to “fall into” rather than straight onto the tracks.

Cllr Linda Jones, who represents Petersfield at Cambridgeshire County Council, said installing fences may not be straightforward.

“The issue with fences is the track is an escape route if something goes wrong on the buses,” said Cllr Jones. “But it is something we should go back to look at.”

Cycling campaigner Jim Chisholm said: “Fencing effectively reduces the width of the path. One thing that could be done to improve safety is to reduce the speed of the buses.”

Cllr Jones said the stretch of busway behind Cambridge Assessment’s new offices was already “jamming up” with cyclists and pedestrians. She said it was good that so many people were choosing to walk or cycle, but said there could be issues if people step out of each other’s way near busy bus lanes.

“I have looked at the busway and cycleway and pedestrian way at peak times and there is a tremendous amount of traffic there,” she said. “One of the issues with the busway is it is not screened in any way from the other lanes. The buses going along are probably going at about 50mph.”

Cllr Jones said that if people were walking or cycling near the oncoming buses, their instinct would be to move away. This, she said, meant people used less of the path and were more likely to travel in single file, exacerbating the bottleneck of traffic in the area.

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