Monday, November 30, 2015

A10 Harston Cycle Improvements

The county council are consulting on their proposals for improvements to the shared-use cycling and pedestrian path alongside the A10 in Harston Village between Harston Mill Business Park in the south and the junction of London Road in the north.

CTC are strong supporters of the A10 corridor cycling campaign and we strongly support the goal of creating a continuous safe cycle route along the A10 between Cambridge and Royston.  This section in Harston Village is one of remaining bad sections and these proposed improvements are a key step towards realising that goal.

The situation in Harston Village is constrained by the limited width of the carriageway and the high volumes of motor traffic that use the road.  There has been some consideration of alternative cycle routes that bypass the village to the west to try and avoid these constraints, but on balance we think the proposed route alongside the A10 is the correct and best choice.

Please take the time to support the scheme via the County website. It is important that cyclists actively support this scheme to give the County a clear mandate to go ahead. There is some local opposition and this needs to be balanced by the many supporters of the scheme.

A copy of my reply is appended below, and you are welcome to  use any of this content as part of your own reply.



Dear Patrick,

I have been looking at the new proposals for cycling and walking improvements in Harston Village.

I want to confirm CTC support for the proposed scheme. I think this will be a good and useful improvement to cycling through Harston and it is an important link in the overall A10 cyclepath. In particular, I support the principle of routing the A10 cyclepath along the High Street (as opposed to a bypass route around the village) as this provides a better desire line route plus provides direct access for village residents. I think creating an off-road cyclepath on the western side of the High Street is the best option given the high levels of motor traffic on this road.

As I am sure you are aware the proposals are not universally welcomed. I understand that the current proposals are a compromise with many constraints.

But I hope you will try to achieve the best possible scheme. In particular, please try to widen the cycle path where possible. I also hope you will consider a few other important improvements to the proposed scheme as detailed below.

You will be aware that the proposed width of 3m is quite narrow for a 2-way cyclepath, and there are hard edges to the path in places which reduce the effective width. I recognise that there is limited scope for increasing the width but I think it is important that the proposed 3m width is achieved and the width of the narrower sections increased where possible.

One specific example: I am aware that the widened path on on the southern corner (opposite the Newton turning) will require the kerb lines to be moved. I appreciate that this will be a relatively expensive element and it is essential that this widened section is realised as part of the proposed improvements.

It would also help if you can move the cyclepath away from the edge of the carriageway and to provide some spacing from walls and hedges where possible. Any extra spacing will help to maximise the effective width and will help to improve sightlines into the residential drives.

SECOND SOME ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS to the proposed scheme as detailed below.

I think the eastern junction of Church Street needs to be closed or remodelled to remove or reduce the high risk of collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists using the cycle path. The combination of 2-way cycling with the shallow angle of the junction (even allowing for the proposed modest realignment) is a potentially dangerous arrangement. The failure of drivers to always notice cycles moving in both directions is known problem for 2-way cycle paths and will be more severe in this location due to the shallow angle of the junction. I think there is a particular risk from vehicles turning right off the A10 into the eastern arm of Church Street.

My simplest and preferred option is to close the eastern arm of the Church Street junction to motor vehicles entering from the A10 and make it exit only; i.e. to restrict motor vehicles entering Church Street from the A10 to the western arm which has a better angled junction with the A10.

Alternatively, the eastern arm should be more extensively remodelled to slow vehicles movements: I suggest adding a central island so that the right turn movement has a much more steeply angled T-junction with the A10 to help control the speed of turning vehicles.

In both cases, cycles should continue to be able to use the current alignment along the eastern arm of the junction to both access the new cycle path and to join the A10.

I think the off-road cyclepath will not suit all cyclists. It will be beneficial for school children but will only be suitable for a proportion of other cyclists. Hence I think we should also adjust the plans to provide support for more confident cyclists, mainly commuter cyclists, who may prefer to continue to use the road.

As a minimum change I would like the plans to include a series of painted cycle symbols along the edge of the carriageway to make it clear (to both cyclists and drivers) that the option of cycling on the road remains.

Taking account of point (2) I think you should try to remove all of the central islands and the associated central hatching on the northern half of scheme. It is not clear why these have been retained. The remaining central islands will continue to create unwanted pinchpoints making this section of road more difficult and dangerous for on-road cyclists.

I support the inclusion of a zebra crossing on the northern section to provide crossing places but I don't think this one crossing should have a central island. Apart from the cycle safety issues noted above, the removal of the central islands would provide a more consistent theme for motor vehicles (by matching the single stage crossing used elsewhere). You could consider adding new traffic signs to signal "Multiple pedestrian crossings" to support this theme.
If the other central islands are needed to provide more pedestrian crossing places, it would be better to add further single stage zebra crossings on the northern section.

The design of the cyclepath should support cyclists who want to (a) connect from Church Street across to Station Road (to Newton) or (b) turn right from the A10 into Station Road (to Newton) or (c) cross the A10 and join the cycle path when approaching from Station Road . This will require a new crossing point and/or well positioned dropped kerbs to support all these movements.

The simplest way to support this movements is for cycles to use the informal crossing that is positioned between the two junctions. To make this usable for cyclists this requires an new length of off-road cycle path on the south-west side of the A10 between the crossing and the Station Road turn. Also, it would be desirable to have a formal tiger crossing (cycle and pedestrian) rather than the informal crossing shown. A zebra crossing would be a poorer alternative, but traffic volumes here means that a formal crossing is needed: an informal single stage crossing is not practical in this location.

An alternative is to relocate this tiger/zebra crossing on the corner opposite the Station Rd junction. I suggest a crossing slightly west of the removed central island adjacent to the Station Rd island. This requires two further changes. First, a short length of cycle path across the western corner of the Station Road island - to provide a refuge for cycles waiting to cross the A10 and/or a refuge after crossing the A10 (and before joining Station Rd). Second, a dropped kerb access to the cycle path on the opposite side of the A10. The rationale for this alternative crossing location is to keep these cycle movements clear of the Station Road road junction. This alternative crossing location may also be a better desire line for pedestrian movements, in particular for Station Rd residents.

Rupert Goodings

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Chisholm Trail - The missing link for cyclists and walkers

The Chisholm Trail is a high quality cycling and walking route joining the north of Cambridge City to the south. The route will be built to a similar standard to the existing busway cycleway (a 3.5m wide shared use path is proposed) and this new route is expected to be even more popular than the existing busway paths and enjoy similar high levels of use.

The planned route is largely traffic-free and provides a more direct connection between the old and new railway stations. Each station is at the end of the existing busway paths and hence (via the stations) the Chisholm Trail will provide the "missing link" that connects the southern and northern sections of the busway for cyclists and walkers (there is no bus connection).

See also the consultation information on the City Deal website

A guiding objective is to make the route as attractive and traffic free a route as possible to appeal to every kind of user including sports cyclists, everyday cyclists, novices, pedestrians and those with wheelchairs or buggies. As an example of the latter, the new route will give wheelchair users access to the Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road for the first time.

A key part of the route is the new cycle and pedestrian river bridge that will be built close to the existing railway bridge. The "Abbey-Chesterton bridge" is funded separately and is under separate consideration by the County Council and subject to a separate consultation and a separate planning application. Both projects are important and both need our support.

£8.4m of current City Deal funding (Phase 1) has been allocated to the Chisholm Trail (a separate £4.5m budget applies to the new river bridge). If the project gets the final approvals and assuming the council are able to reach the needed agreements with the various landowners, they will seek to build the scheme within 5 years.

I would hope that every CTC cyclist will join me in actively supporting the Chisholm Trail and the Abbey-Chesterton bridge projects. I think these will combine to be the most important city projects for years. They will become a core element in the Cambridge City cycle network by creating a high quality central route that can act as the "spine" for wider Cambridge City improvements along the radial routes.

We need your active support

This scheme needs strong and active support from all cyclists and walkers in this area if it is to go ahead as proposed and achieve its full potential. There is expected to be opposition from various other parties, not least for the section on Ditton Meadows and our support is essential to counterbalance those opposing voices.

You can find a link to the consultation and more details at

It is vital that as many people as possible take part in the consultation to demonstrate wide support for this scheme. Given the importance of this route, please try to do even more – contact your local councillor and ask them to support the scheme, and contact your friends to get more people to participate.

You can also help to refine and improve the proposals. The consultation is an interactive process to help refine the scheme. For example, you can help to identify missing connections that could make this route better for shorter local journeys. The route design consultant is John Grimshaw. He has over 30 years of experience and welcomes your inputs. John was the founder of Sustrans and has been involved in many local cycle projects (the Addenbrookes DNA path for example).

More information

Please support the Chisholm Trail via the public consultation which will take place over the next few weeks.

Read the Chisholm Trial briefing and consultation pages from the City Deal team.

You can also read the Chisholm Trail Background Paper (pdf) and Chisholm Trail Consultation leaflet (pdf) from the City Deal team.

See also Cambridge Cycling Campaign's Chisholm Trail briefing page.

Don't forget to separately support the Abbey-Chesterton bridge. Read the County Council's consultation pages and sign Cambridge Cycling Campaign's petition.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hills Road and Huntingdon Road improvements

"Why is the council spending all this money on cycling! Cyclists shouldn’t be on the road anyway!"
I guess that's one type of response to these latest public consultations. Most likely from some of the non-cycling motorists in Cambridge. But if you are a cyclist and have a different opinion about these new cycling schemes, now would be good time to make your voice heard and speak out for cycling.

A new consultation has just started on two important cycle improvements on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road. These schemes are designed to improve road conditions for all road users by reducing the scope for conflicts. Cyclists get two major benefits on both roads: (1) cycle priority across the side roads and (2) floating bus stops.
We would like to encourage all cyclists to take a detailed look at the proposals and respond to the public consultation. You could also attend one of public events in March (12, 18 or 24) where you can view the plans in more detail and ask questions.

Full details of the Hills Road Consultation on the County Council website
Full details of the Huntingdon Road Consultation on the County Council website

Give the council your views! There is a Hills Road questionnaire and a separate Huntingdon Road questionnaire. The deadline for consultation responses is Monday 7th April.

Both these roads are already well used by cyclists and most days there is a great range of different cyclists travelling at different speeds. These are popular cycle routes and at first sight they are not a top priority for improvements. But they have been chosen to trial these Cycle City Ambition Funded schemes because they are well used commuting routes and also because both roads are wide enough to allow for good quality segregated cycle lanes without too many compromises.

Here's a detailed review by Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

I strongly support the use of segregated cycle lanes for these main roads where higher traffic speeds and volumes can make cyclists feel more vulnerable.
Segregation provides a stronger separation between cycles and motor vehicles and should give cyclists more protection than a on-road cycle lane where the painted white lines are ignored by many vehicles and are rarely enforced. But equally, in order to make segregation work for all cyclists the lanes need to be wide enough to allow cyclists to ride two-abreast or for faster cyclists to easily pass slower cyclists. And the cycle lanes need to have priority over side roads. The new schemes tick both of these boxes. One detailed element of the consultation is the choice between “hard” segregation (Option 1) and “soft” segregation (Option 2). I don’t have a strong opinion here. I would expect most confident cyclists to prefer soft segregation which creates a wider lane and allows you to move into and out of the lane if needed. The hard segregation imposes more constraint on the cyclists but it compensates by discouraging motor vehicles from illegally driving or parking in the cycle lanes thereby reducing these dangerous obstructions. On balance I think this detail is not critical: I think it is more important to start this trial and try it out. And for this reason, I think the Option 3 proposal with a mix of both types of segregation also has a lot of merit.

Whatever your preference, I would hope you will support both these schemes because of those two major benefits: cycle priority across the side roads and floating bus stops.

  • Cycle lane priority – without unwanted stop lines or give way signs – should make a big difference for cyclists. For me this feature alone makes it worthwhile. I think the “hard” vs “soft” segregation is a secondary detail compared to this primary benefit. This side road priority has a trade-off: it can only work with unidirectional cycle lanes so that cyclists always approach junctions from the “expected” direction. Some existing sections of bi-directional shared use cycle lane will therefore have to be removed to make these schemes work.
  • Floating bus stops are also a new idea for Cambridge. They are called “floating” because the bus stop is a small island placed between the road and the cycle lane. The cycle lane runs behind the bus stop allowing cyclists to safely pass a stationary bus. This bypass section of cycle lane narrows to single file and cyclists are expected to slow down to safely avoid any conflict with bus passengers crossing the cycle path.

I expect the consultation to get a large response from a range of users. If – like me – you support this scheme please do respond to the consultation (links above) and help to get plenty of cycle voices heard. If you want more details, and especially if you have some suggestions for detailed improvements to the proposed schemes then please get in touch with the right-to-ride team. Or contact the County Council team directly. Rupert Goodings

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

Introducing the A14NMU Campaign Group 

This post is to introduce a new campaign group called A14NMU. NMU refers to Non-Motorised Users, which includes walkers, cyclists and horse riders. A14NMU brings together our local NMU groups to campaign for high quality NMU facilities in all sections of the planned A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme.

Most of you will have heard about the new A14 improvement scheme which has just completed the first phase of consultation. This first short consultation was mostly about the proposed route, but also included the proposal to make the Huntingdon Southern Bypass (the new section of road from Swavesey to Ellington) a toll road.

A14NMU are not taking a stance on either the route location or the toll proposals. We are working to ensure that - whatever route comes into place - the design includes a full range of good quality NMU provision. This includes creating new NMU Rights of Way (RoW) alongside the planned new roads and replacing and restoring RoW. The latter refers to the insidious loss of amenity which NMU groups have suffered over the past three decades along the existing route of the A14 due to the increased traffic levels and the associated changes to the adjacent roads.

We only have limited details about the proposed improvements but we can expect significant NMU impacts over a wide area. We will be campaigning to have high quality NMU provision added to the designs for all sections of these planned A14 improvements (from Milton to Ellington). We will also be campaigning to protect NMU interests against the expected wider impacts, for example the detrimental effects of high levels of traffic migrating onto Brampton Road in Huntingdon and to other toll-free alternative routes such as the A428.

With this in mind A14NMU has set out 4 key design principles:

PRINCPLE 1: CREATE SEGREGATED MULTI-USE PATHS ALONGSIDE ALL NEW ROADS. High quality segregated NMU paths to be provided alongside all the new local roads and alongside the de-trunked sections of the A14. The expected standard is a segregated wide path suitable for all NMUs (i.e. walkers, cyclists and horse riders) on one or both sides of the roadway of comparable quality to the busway bridleway. The suggested layout should have both a tarmac portion and an adjacent grass strip for equestrian use and with the whole path separated from the main carriageway with a wide verge that includes a hedge (or other barrier) to mitigate night time dazzle.

PRINCPLE 2: IMPROVE AND RESTORE RoW AND NMU PERMEABILITY ACROSS THE OLD A14 ROUTE. All Rights-of-Way (RoW) crossings of the existing A14 to be restored and improved. Specifically, any RoW routes that were closed or have been rendered unusable by traffic barriers and/or traffic volumes should be restored. General NMU permeability should be also be improved by providing high quality segregated routes and crossings alongside the side roads wherever NMU use is impractical because traffic speeds and/or volumes are too high.

PRINCPLE 3: NO DETRIMENT TO NMU ROUTES ACROSS AND ADJACENT TO THE NEW A14 SOUTHERN BYPASS. The new Southern A14 bypass to not cause any detriment to existing NMU routes and RoW either directly or indirectly. Specifically the new road must not break or divert any existing RoW that cross the road: all existing RoW should have direct desire line crossing points of the new road either as bridges or underpasses: at-grade NMU crossings are completely unacceptable as this will be a major road. Equally, the expected increased traffic volumes on adjacent main roads will require additional NMU measures on these roads to maintain safe routes and safe crossing points for NMUs.

PRINCPLE 4: CREATE IMPROVED NMU PERMEABILITY AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEW JUNCTION DESIGNS. The new or modified junctions that will be built as part of the A14 improvements must include fully segregated NMU routes. At-grade NMU crossings of fast slip roads on the approach to roundabouts are unacceptable even if signal controlled crossings are fitted. Segregated NMU routes are needed to provide safe NMU permeability across these junctions and these NMU routes must form part of the initial design and construction. These routes should also be fully integrated into the wider NMU networks, including the new paths resulting from Principle 1.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Perne Road roundabout: room for improvements

A county council consultation on a proposed “continental” redesign of the Perne Road/ Radegund Road roundabout has just closed. The current layout of this roundabout allows vehicles to use the fastest and most direct line through the roundabout, which means that speeds are high and it can be hostile for cyclists and pedestrians. This roundabout lies on a main cycle route that is used by both commuters and school children crossing from Birdwood Road to Radegund Road and it is a known accident site for cyclists.

The proposed new layout (see below) significantly reduces the space for traffic around the roundabout and tightens both the exits and entries into the roundabout. The design follows guidance from the Department for Transport on making roundabouts more cycle-friendly. The change in geometry will ensure that drivers keep their speeds low, and this should improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists, particularly for on-road cyclists.

The proposed design has a good safety record in Europe, where it is usually combined with a peripheral cycle path around the outside of the roundabout. But there are some complicating factors here: this location has relatively high levels of traffic and the proposed design does not include any off-road cycle paths. There are good reasons for excluding the off-road cycle paths from the design: firstly, all of the existing cycle routes are on-road cycle lanes; and secondly adding any off-road paths would significantly increase the construction costs.

We met with the cycling officers on 16 March to discuss the proposed design and our CTC response to the consultation. We broadly welcome the new design because the core design objective of reducing the vehicle speeds should make this a safer junction for pedestrians and cyclists. But neither CTC, nor Cambridge Cycling Campaign are confident that the proposed design is the best option. CTC asked for two “modest” changes to the design: firstly to modify the new build outs so that cyclists can ride over these build outs to bypass stationary traffic at peak times (we think there is a risk of new “pinch points” at the entry and exits of the roundabout). Secondly, to include “desire-line” pedestrian and cycle crossing points on both Perne Road arms (currently, crossings are only proposed for the Birdwood Road and Radegund Road arms).

During the meeting we were shown some alternative designs that had been considered and rejected, including some designs with various off-road cycle path elements. These off-road options have some attractive elements, but there are also some reservations with any of the off-road alternatives. For example, the transition from the on-road cycle lane onto a peripheral off-road cycle path would introduce inconvenient sharp bends at the entry and exit points. Also, a peripheral cycle path would require two separate cycle crossing points on the Perne Road arms. As a result, we prefer the on-road option (keeping cyclists on the main carriageway). This preference is in line with general CTC policy, and the reduced vehicle speeds should make this option even safer.

The conclusion of the meeting was to look again the proposed design, both to look at some possible improvements and also to consider a possible temporary trial of the design (where part of the design is implemented with concrete blocks rather than by permanent construction). We see benefits if this trial can be achieved at low cost: this will allow the key elements of the design to be tested with real traffic to find out if it works as expected (and what doesn’t work!). We intend to stay involved in this project and to continue to work with the council to search for a good design. Hopefully, the lessons learned from this trial can then be applied to other roundabouts in Cambridge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Your Community - Your Speed Limit"

The County Council's new "Your Community - Your Speed Limit" policy enables Parish Councils to change the speed limits provided that they are prepared to fund them. Parish councils are now using this new policy to submit Proposed Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) that propose reduced speed limits.

Barton Parish Council has submitted a set of TRO proposals:
  1. Implement a 40 mph speed limit on the length of New Road (B1046) that is currently national speed limit.
  2. Implement a 40 mph speed limit on Cambridge Road from a point 277 metres north east of its junction with New Road to a point 945 metres south west of this junction.
  3. Implement a 30mph speed limit through the village where there is currently a 40 mph speed limit.
  4. Implement a 50 mph speed limit on Wimpole Road from a point 274 metres west of its junction with Haslingfield Road in a westerly direction for a distance of 800 metres.
Great & Little Eversden Parish Council has submitted one TRO proposal:
  1. Reduce the speed limit to 30 mph on the main roads through the two villages which are currently subject to a 40 mph speed limit.
We strongly support these proposed reductions in speed limits. There is a large body of evidence that shows that speed reduction is the single most effective method to reduce deaths and injuries to cyclists and pedestrians. It also makes the village environment more pleasant.

You can help. Why not contact your local parish councillors and encourage more of our local parish councils to take advantage of this "Your Community - Your Speed Limit" policy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Those tiny busway posts – proposed solution in sight

The busway team have agreed to add some markings to make those annoying short steel posts in the busway more visible for cyclists. The proposed solution is a surface marking of tapered white lines on both sides of the post combined with a red-led “cateye” at the point of each taper. The basic marking (without the light) is shown below.