New Cycleway Outside Botanic Gardens on Trumpington Road

Sunday, September 1st, 2013. 12:27am

Plan of existing and proposed cycleways for Trumpington Road by the Botanic Gardens - description in the article

Plan of existing and proposed cycleways for Trumpington Road by the Botanic Gardens (Source).

A new, two way cycleway, between Brooklands Avenue and Bateman Street along the boundary of the Botanic Gardens was included in Cambridgeshire County Council’s application to central government for a “Cycle City Ambition Grant”. The grant application was successful, and £4.1m has been announced to “shift cycling up a gear” in the Greater Cambridge area.

It has already been revealed that consultation on the details of another project, Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road, is expected shortly, presumably progress on the others, including Trumpington Road, will follow soon as well.

The description of the project in the grant application states:

Trumpington Road two-way ‘Dutch-style’ segregation

Trumpington Road, is a well used route for cyclists close to the city centre. There are currently 1.4 metre wide advisory lanes placed in a relatively hostile position adjacent to parked cars. There is also a relatively wide shared use path on the city-bound side. Many cyclists use this stretch between Bateman Street and Brooklands Avenue as part of a link for journeys to school and to the station. Often cyclists choose to ride illegally on the out-bound side in both directions as this stretch is a well used link with no side roads or accesses crossing it, staying on this side of the road saves time by not having to cross the road twice to use the other shared use path or stay on road. It is proposed to relocate the parked cars, introduce a kerbed island and thus introduce 2.4 metre wide, bi directional cycle lanes that are segregated from motor traffic and that segregate cyclists from pedestrians. There would be no breaks in the island as there are no private accesses or side roads in this length. A width of 2.4 metres allows faster cyclists to overtake slower cyclists in busier conditions and allows for cyclists to ride two abreast in quieter conditions. Providing a two way segregated facility would reflect demand for users and allow for a safe, uninterrupted, convenient facility.

My thoughts:

  • The proposed two way cycle lane is to be 2.5m wide in total (so the plan says, text above says 2.4,). If it’s going to be split in half with a line down it that leaves just 1.2m lanes each way which isn’t very wide. Cambridge Cycling Campaign have collated guidance on cycle lane widths which shows a consensus for a recommended 2m width and minimum 1.5m
  • It appears thee existing grass bank may be lost in this scheme. I’d like to see it retained if possible. An alternative way of dealing with the height difference between the roadway and the existing footpath might be a concrete wall, which would detract from the appearance of the area.
  • I wonder if this will be funded by developer taxes raised in relation to the Accordia development which councillors levied without having a clear idea of what they would spend them on? (The central government grant was conditional on other sources of funding being used too). A better connection between the development and local schools appears the main immediate impact of the proposal.
  • My own views of the main cycling issues in this area are:
    • Motor traffic crossing the cycleway in the middle of the road for cyclists heading out of town on Trumpington Road across the Brooklands Avenue Junction. This feels unsafe to me as a cyclist and as a driver.
    • Crossing Trumpington Road can be slow at the Bateman Street junction (the traffic light controlled crossing would perhaps be better moved to the junction, and for it to be have a cycle element added).
  • If built this would be a rather isolated piece of infrastructure, leading on to the shared use cycleways on the Brooklands Avenue pavements. The junctions at either end of the stretch would ideally need remodelling to improve them for cyclists as part of the scheme.
  • The proposal involves digging away at the levy holding Hobson’s Conduit; care will need to be taken not to break that.
  • The car parking is useful for those visiting Botanic Gardens by car. It’s not clear where it will be relocated.
  • The proposals involve reducing the width for motor vehicles by 40cm; this is the only proposal which includes a narrowing of the main carriageway

I added this article as the one I wrote on Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road got a lot of readers and I’m following that “success”/interest.

See also:

4 comments/updates on “New Cycleway Outside Botanic Gardens on Trumpington Road

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    Some comments via Twitter:

    The plans show 40cm is to be removed from existing parking on the other side of the road to the proposed path, making it 1.6m rather than 2.0m wide.

  2. Al__S

    Longer form of my twitter comments:

    I have less problems with the idea of losing on-street car parking. I’d go further than the current plan.

    7m seems to be the minimum acceptable carriageway width for a two road with lots of bus and lorry traffic. Note this is the width of the main carriageway on the Huntingdon Road plan as well. However, the plans as shown don’t have this.

    Yes, they have it marked out. But look closer. The parking lane adjacent to the bi-directional path is marked as being 1.6m wide. A current model of Mini, which despite being larger than the old one is still one of the smaller cars out there, is 1.69m wide. There are very few cars narrower than 1.6m. Furthermore, the cars that tend to be parked along there are not usually small. The bulk of them are hatchback estates and larger. It’s hardly stereotyping to say that many of the are 4x4s and people carriers, typically pushing 2m wide.

    So, they’ll stick out about 0.4m into the main carriageway. This will push traffic in that lane towards the far side of the road. This will push traffic towards the on-road cycle lane in the other direction. Any sensible cyclist would be trying to ride right on the outer edge of that lane, what with it being a “dooring zone” (a concept Cllr Rosenthal seems to believe doesn’t exist).

    This will make using that lane even more unpleasant, if not downright dangerous.

    My solution would be to lose that parking lane. I’d then go further, and incorporate that extra width AND the other cycle lane into a wider bi-directional cycle lane (4m should do!), a wider footway and some grass banking.

    From reading the likes of David Hembrow, it appears that a modern “Dutch” solution for such a road would use a single, wide, bi-directional cycle path. But then the real test of whether a scheme is any way “Dutch” is the junctions.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    There was a consensus at a meeting of Cambridge Cycling Campaign on the 3rd of September that parking ought be removed on at least one side of the road to provide space for a high quality cycle lanes.

    With the current suggestion being the bank holding in Hobson’s Conduit probably won’t be touched, this is the only way to obtain the required space.

    Mike Davies the project manager for the segregated cycleways scheme and personally responsible to government for spending the cash wisely (he signed the declarations on the grant application) tweeted:

    Some concern was expressed about inconsistency and confusion if two way cycling was allowed on just this stretch of on road segregated cycle lane. An alternative of keeping the segregated on road lanes unidirectional and also permitting cycling on the footpath (intended for children cycling to school) was raised.

    Cllr Rosenstiel responded:

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