Your verdicts on the Cambourne to Cambridge busway
Residents, businesses, a school and a councillor have had their say on the preferred route for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway.
The off-road route, along with a new travel hub, and improved walking and cycling was published by the GCP on Monday (January 20).
It uses existing roads through Cambourne before joining a dedicated section of new road running through the planned Bourn Airfield development. It continues south along the A428 and A1303 past Hardwick to Madingley Mulch, then travels through fields to the north of Coton and across the M11 using a newly-built bridge.
The busway rejoins the existing road network at West Cambridge where it will travel via a segregated link down Adams Road before joining the city’s current network.
A view from Hardwick: We’re all devastated
Residents of St Neots Road, Hardwick, who currently face a bank of trees shielding them from the A428 say the busway could mean the trees are removed and they will overlook eight lanes, plus a busway and a cycle route from their front windows.
The GCP says it will discuss a replacement noise barrier to better protect them from the A428.
Pat Portlock and her husband Robert have lived on St Neots Road in Hardwick for 14 years.
She said: “We’re all devastated. What’s the point of these consultations asking for what we want and at the end of the day, they just take no notice?
“The majority of residents in Hardwick, and especially St Neots Road, are not in favour of this proposal. There’s not many of us in Hardwick, but everybody is against it. If they take the trees we’d have eight lanes of traffic in front of our house.”
The villagers’ petition can be signed on change.org.
A view from Coton: We will fight scheme to bitter end
Dr Marilyn Treacy, on behalf of Coton Busway Action Group, said: “Residents of Coton remain supportive of communities to the west of Cambridge in seeing the need for rapid reliable transportation to major sites of employment. However, the papers for the GCP Joint Assembly make depressing reading.
“The GCP have failed to see the bigger picture and address the many concerns of residents Cambridgewide. Individual members of the joint assembly should be mindful of losing all credibility with residents if they vote this scheme through.
“They have failed from day one to see the potential of a four-way junction at Girton opening up routes to major sites of employment and have single-mindedly stuck to their environmentally destructive agenda for an off road busway through NT covenanted land, Coton’s 100-year-old orchard and the green belt.
“They have failed to properly assess the benefits of a medium term on road route and engage meaningfully in debate about the benefits of East West Rail going via Cambourne and the potential for this to remove the need for this busway. The methodology for calculating economic benefits appears to be based on fantasy. When the figures did not give the GCP the answers they were looking for they became extremely creative. The financial and environmental cost of this scheme for Cambridge is totally out of proportion to the benefits it may bring.
“The GCP have never engaged with the LLF in a meaningful way and they have certainly not engaged with the residents of Coton in a meaningful honest or transparent way. To claim that there has been fair consultation from the start is disingenuous. It would appear that Coton will be forced to go down the legal route and fight this scheme to the bitter end. We have the support of many local councillors and our local MP as evidenced by their recent open letter.”
A business view: Innovative scheme will transform corridor
Simon Galbraith, CEO of city company Redgate Software, said: “As someone who employs hundreds of people in Cambridge, I am hugely in favour of improving the transport links between Cambourne and Cambridge. I think the proposed scheme is innovative and will transform the corridor between Cambourne and Cambridge in a positive way for everyone.
“The ideas outlined in GCP’s proposal will enable more people to live in Cambourne and work in Cambridge and gain access to opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, and/or save millions of hours of frustration that the current situation causes. By unlocking much better transport options for non-car owners, children, the elderly and disabled we will be making the whole area a much better place for all of our citizens.”
A view from Cambourne Village College: Busway could have a big impact on students
It said: “For those students who do not have access to a lift, or the financial support to take taxis, the lack of transport links between Cambourne and Cambridge shapes the decisions they make regarding their post-16 education.
“As a school, we feel that whilst transport should be a consideration at post-16 transition, it should not be a leading consideration, and should definitely not be a barrier. At present many pupils have to travel over three hours per day to access opportunities in the city. This clearly impacts on their studies, and on their mental and social wellbeing.
“Many of our students would benefit from better public transport links, increasing their educational opportunities, helping sustain attendance and ultimately supporting success at post 16 institutions.”
A Cambourne councillor’s view: It may save a few minutes but it won't solve the problems
Cllr Dr Shrobona Bhattacharya said: “I prefer a revised, regular bus system covering more key destinations and routes which are also cheaper.
“Buses are already running, but they are NOT people’s friendly, it can be made robust, and I am currently working on it for Cambourne with Cllr Mark Howell.
“Regarding, the proposed busway for Cambourne, it may save a few minutes but it won’t solve the problems for Cambourne unless Cambourne has the direct connections going to Science Park, Addenbrooke's, railway-stations like St Neots or Cambridge, Biomedical Campus etc.
“Initially, I thought, busway alongside A428 without disturbing the villages in South Cambridgeshire might help, but, then I realised that people will still use their cars unless they have the good connections for the destinations they need to travel.
“Unless, we offer the people the right service with better connections, especially at the office hours, that won't reduce the cars on the roads.”
A cycling view: Gravely concerned about the safety risks
“Camcycle is disappointed to see the new Cambourne-to-Cambridge proposals. Almost 6,000 people per day cycle along Adams Road, peaking at over 800 people per hour on busy days. The anticipated expansion of the West Cambridge site will further increase this number.
“We support all forms of sustainable transport. However, we are gravely concerned about the safety risks of running the anticipated figure of 30 buses per hour on a road that already has very large numbers of people cycling. Adams Road is simply not wide enough to fit buses and maintain safe space for people cycling.
“Along the proposed busway, the bus drivers will be able to travel at speeds of up to 55mph. Yet, when they arrive at narrow Adams Road, they will be expected to slow down for safety’s sake to 10mph and carefully follow behind the large groups of people who are typically cycling there.
“Past experience with similar situations on a shared section of the guided busway route gives us cause for concern, such as the incident on June 21, 2017 when a bus driver attempted to pass some cyclists and drove the bus into a wall.
“Public transport and cycling should complement each other, not be crowded into the same space.
“Our recommendation is that the GCP should proceed with measures to reduce the private car traffic that is congesting Cambridge roads. Following the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly such as implementing road closures, introducing road charging schemes and reducing car parking would be a good start.”