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.


====COPY OF EMAIL TO CAMBRIDGE COUNTY COUNCIL CYCLING TEAM

A10 CYCLE AND WALKING IMPROVEMENTS IN HARSTON VILLAGE

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.

FIRST SOME COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED WIDTH.
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.

IMPROVEMENT 1) CLOSE OR REMODEL EASTERN CHURCH STREET JUNCTION
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.

IMPROVEMENT 2) MAKE SURE THAT ON_ROAD CYCLING IS SUPPORTED AND SIGNED
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.

IMPROVEMENT 3) REMOVE ALL OF THE CENTRAL ISLANDS AND CENTRAL HATCHING
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.

IMPROVEMENT 4) ADD A ROUTE FOR CYCLES TO CROSS FROM CHURCH STREET TO STATION ROAD
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
CTC-Cambridge

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 http://www.gccitydeal.co.uk/chisholm

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.