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.