Green Dragon Bridge – July 2015 Consultation

Sunday, July 26th, 2015. 12:40am

Signage on the Stourbridge Common side of the Green Dragon Bridge.

Signage on the Stourbridge Common side of the Green Dragon Bridge.

I have responded to Cambridge City Council’s consultation on proposed works at the Green Dragon Bridge between Chesterton and Abbey.

I made the following points:

  • I oppose the proposals to spend in the region of a hundred thousand pounds to remodel the approach ramp to the bridge. I don’t think this would achieve anything and I think the money could be better spent elsewhere eg. improving the safety for cyclists at junctions. The junction between Green End Road, Green End Road and Scotland Road could be one local candidate. I suggest spending money on cycling improvements where it is expected to most reduce harm and most encourage more cycling. If councillors are determined to spend significant sums of money on this bridge; let’s have a wider bridge or a dedicated new bridge for cyclists.
  • I support the proposals to add some tarmac to the desire lines on Stourbridge Common and to extend the parking restrictions at the foot of the bridge on Water Street. I would hope this work could be done very cheaply and ought cost only a couple of hundred pounds.
  • Flush curbs at the Water Street entrance to the bridge would be a welcome improvement.
  • The “cyclists dismount” signs create conflict as they cause some pedestrians to think people cycling over the bridge are breaking the law. I think the signs ought be removed. I don’t think there is a need for any replacement signs. I think “cyclists give way to pedestrians” would be almost as bad as “cyclists dismount”.
  • I would like consideration to be given to improving the safety of the bridge and its approaches in icy weather. Perhaps a high friction textured surface could be used on the ramps and in the adjacent areas, especially where cyclists are going to be carrying out sharp turns. The possibility of heating the surface to melt snow and ice (as occurs on the Carter Bridge between Rustat Road and Devonshire Road over the railway) could also be be considered.
  • Any minor works to the trees could be carried out by volunteers if the council makes clear what it wants and gives permission for the trimming to take place. The opportunity to assist in any such works should not be limited to those given to community sentences or members of local “friends” or “residents’ associations”. If those on community sentences do carry out any of the work I suggest volunteers are sought to work alongside them.
  • I have observed some bridge users having trouble due to the presence of “cows” on the path between the bridge and riverside. Some users turn back, others proceed with obvious concern or fear. I suggest considering restricting the breed and age of “cows” permitted on the common to ensure the animals grazed there are appropriately docile given the level of use. Consideration could also be given to fencing the path from the bridge to riverside off from the rest of the common to separate those transiting through from the “cows”. Moving the water trough could also reduce the impact of the “cows” on the path.
  • There is often a lot of litter on either side, and under, the ramp to the bridge on the Stourbridge Common side. Raising the crowns of the trees and removing the fencing might at least make access easier for litter picking?
  • I note the bridge has just had an expensive refurbishment so this ought really have been considered; it’s a pity these proposals were not considered at that time and the councils appear in such disarray.
  • No end date has been given for the consultation on the notices posted on the bridge.
  • Ward councillor Ian Manning appears to have indicated the consultation is not relevant as decisions have already been made. He has stated the “cyclists dismount” signs are going.
  • I would have liked to have seen the consultation run in a deliberative manner with responses published as they were submitted so others can comment on those responses and respond to points raised.
  • I would like the Cambridge News article: “Pedestrians blockade Cambridge’s Green Dragon bridge to halt cyclists” of the 24th of July 2015, and the comments on it, to be considered alongside the views submitted to this consultation.

8 comments/updates on “Green Dragon Bridge – July 2015 Consultation

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    I considered submitting the following idea; but decided against it:

    • On the basis one function of a consultation is to generate ideas officers and councillors might not have considered – how about providing a user operated chain ferry which would give those pedestrians who don’t like sharing the bridge with cyclists an alternative. This could be a fun feature for the city, restoring a facility similar to the one in place prior to the construction of the bridge. I suspect this would be a maintenance nightmare and would cause an obstruction to the navigation
  2. Hester

    “If councillors are determined to spend significant sums of money on this bridge; let’s have a wider bridge or a dedicated new bridge for cyclists.”

    The problem with any replacement or additional bridge is it would probably be a lot longer. Part of the problem on Green Dragon is caused by how steep the ramps are: some people need momentum to help carry them up, inducing higher speeds and a disinclination to stop on the uphill, and then they are steep going down, also increasing speeds. This also causes a problem for wheelchairs, which means that modern disability legislation would suggest much more gentle ramps, increasing impact on the common.

    A new bridge would cost a lot more than the £100k proposed on this scheme. Riverside bridge cost £3 million a few years ago, the new Chesterton-Abbey bridge is in the millions. And because of the new bridge it is likely usage of Green Dragon will decrease in the short-medium term. Both the new bridge and Riverside would seem preferable routes, unless Green Dragon is directly on someone’s desire line. Which is not to say it will never be a good idea, but there are places I’d rather put new pedestrian/cycle bridges in Cambridge.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      I agree there’s a big gulf between a £100K refurb and a £2-4m new bridge. My point is merely that if councillors want to spend big money here let’s get something for it. I too have said I’d rather the money goes elsewhere – once we’ve done the cheap easy fixes here.

      If we were to have a new bridge – does it need to be so high – is it higher than the railway bridge downstream? Does it need to be level as it crosses the river? Keeping the navigation clear is paramount but we can try and be inventive.

      Why do new bridges have to be so expensive?

      We’ve got a history in Cambridge of spending quite significant amounts on smaller works which don’t really solve the problems; eg. ramping the Lammas Land to Coe Fen bridge in 2006 but not replacing, and widening, the span itsself.

  3. Cllr Ian Manning

    “Ward councillor Ian Manning appears to have indicated the consultation is not relevant as decisions have already been made. He has stated the “cyclists dismount” signs are going.”

    Your normal misrepresentation. The only decision that has been made is to remove the signs, the rest is rather dependent on the results of the consultation, although I have made my views perfectly clear here:

  4. Cllr Ian Manning

    “The removal of the signs is described, in the consultation document, as a proposal. The consultation sought comments on the proposals.”

    Put it another way: I can not imagine anything coming out of the consultation that would see the current sign not being removed.

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