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.