The GCP have blessed us this week with two consultations of local interest which it’s important for you to scrutinise.
The first is a partial redesign of Addenbrooke’s roundabout, with a particular focus on the Fendon Road arrangements. This was obviously triggered by the tragic death of cyclist Anna Garratt-Quinton in October 2021 and hence is not something to be petty or facetious about.
You can see the full design here. My take is that it seems that the plans have been drawn up with the primary goal of getting cyclists onto the Biomedical Campus so I would encourage residents to think about the impact of the proposed changes on your own journeys.
For example, cyclists coming south from town and wishing to continue south on the carriageway aren’t offered any more protection; in fact, the new design steers them strongly onto a new segregated cycleway into Fendon Road then and down to the signalled crossing which is a good 40m away from the direct route. They would then presumably be expected to cycle back up the other side of Fendon Road to turn left and continue their journey along Hills Road.
I estimate this indirect routing would add a good three or four minutes to their journey time unless the signals at the crossing are made much more responsive. However cyclists who wish to continue using the carriageway to avoid this delay will still be mixing with the traffic on the roundabout, and may be put under pressure by the type of motorist who believes that all cyclists should be using cycle infrastructure, no matter how inconvenient or badly designed it is.
So please do check out the implications of this redesign for your own journeys and let the GCP know. I know that residents living on Fendon Road will also want to comment on the loss of the trees and the potential access issues for their own properties. There is an online consultation event on 29th June; details are in the link above.
But beyond the details of this scheme, there is also a wider point to be made. As residents in the vicinity will remember with great clarity, the roundabout was last redesigned and relaid, with vast disruption including repeated noisy overnight working, in the summer of 2017. As local resident Chris Rand reported in the run-up to that episode, consultation with (never mind actually listening to!) residents and CamCycle was sorely lacking – including their concerns about cyclists’ safety given the removal of dedicated cycle lanes on the roundabout.
Now, just six years later, we are going through the same damned process again. I do hope we can get to a better outcome this time.
Hills Road Cycling Plus ‘corridor’
The “Hills Road Cycling Plus ‘corridor’ from Cherry Hinton Road to Lensfield Road” is a much bigger project, further in towards the city. There are detailed plans for two options, and there are three consultation events, including one at Cambridge Junction on 5th July.
I’m not going to attempt to unpick the detail here, beyond saying that:
- Option A is less disruptive (though still pretty substantial). Option B represents a huge remodelling;
- The Options are not discrete packages, i.e. specific elements from one Option could be incorporated into the other if consultation feedback indicated that was desired;
- There are of the order of 50 detailed interventions in each of the Options, so perhaps the comparison document is the most useful place to start, as it summarises the underlying approaches to both Options.
Again, I would encourage residents to mentally ‘fly through’ the routes that matter to them to see the implications of the proposed changes and identify any problems. For example, one cycle route I take quite frequently involves a right-hand turn into Brookgate at the Hills Road/Brooklands Ave junction to get to the railway station. Under Option B, the supposedly more cycle-friendly option, that routing actually becomes much less safe because the cycle lane has been moved to the left-hand side of the inbound carriageway:
I’ve already made officers aware of this problem, but there will be many other examples like this, so please do look out for the ones that matter to you and provide feedback.
There is also one major aspect of Option B which I find frankly inexplicable. The GCP, the same organisation which has been telling us for months that buses should form the backbone of movement round the city, is suggesting that it removes the 300m of inbound bus lane between Bateman Street and Union Road (item 6B). At the moment the road layout means this is one of the key places in the city centre where buses can actually progress past queueing vehicles at peak times:
The justification for this change is in order to make space for a widened cycle lane. I’m sure bus users will be very interested to hear what the modelling shows about the implications of this for bus transit times.
Conclusion: wouldn’t it be great if…?
I write a lot about lack of joined up governance and how our democratic structures are failing to connect at the neighbourhood level, with the ambiguous status and purpose of South Area Committee being indicative of that. The GCP launched the Hills Road consultation on 12 June, the same day as the most recent South Area Committee. The Addenbrooke’s roundabout consultation launched two days later.
There was no discussion of either of these schemes at SAC. Councillors had been briefed on the Hills Road project on 5th June, but there was no mention even there of the timing of the Addenbrooke’s roundabout launch. Wouldn’t it be great if the GCP actually worked with our local democratic structures, adding to their relevance and helping join the dots for residents? Radical thought, I know.