Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road

Friday, August 30th, 2013. 11:43pm

Proposed cycle lanes for Huntingdon Road

Plan of existing and proposed cycleways for Huntingdon Road (Source).

Cllr John Hipkin’s latest email newsletter (which he doesn’t publish on the web) carried an article headlined ” Dutch style cycleways on the Huntingdon Road?”. The message, sent on the 30th of August 2013 stated:

Please keep a lookout for consultation documents hitting your doormat in the next few weeks and do go to the trouble of letting County officials know your views when the time comes.

The plans are included in the county council’s successful applications for central government “Cycle City Ambition Grants”. The section on Huntingdon Road states:

Huntingdon Road city bound segregated lane

Huntingdon Road is a key route into the city for cyclists. There are currently 1.4 metre wide mandatory on road cycle lanes in place. It is proposed to remove some of the grass verge so as to be able to construct a 2.1 metre wide, uni directional cycle lane that is segregated from motor traffic and that segregates cyclists from pedestrians. Cyclists would be segregated by use of a kerbed island. There would be breaks in the island where private accesses or side roads are encountered – in these situations the lane would continue as an on road lane, thus maintaining priority across junctions. A width of 2.1 metres allows faster cyclists to overtake slower cyclists in busier conditions and allows for cyclists to ride two abreast in quieter conditions. The proposal is shown on Plan 1. Constructing the city-bound facility would only require two trees to be removed, many more would need to be felled to accommodate a similar level of provision in the out-bound direction. It is hoped that building one side in advance, would help to build the case to provide the other direction in the future

The plan is to keep the road width the same and reallocate some pavement/verge to cyclists. Hopefully much more detailed proposals will be available when the County Council begins its consultation; it’s not currently clear how far into the city such a lane would run for example.

I hope the consultation is not limited to local residents; and all those who use the road as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will have the opportunity to comment.

A 60cm curb is proposed to separate cyclists from motor traffic. I suspect that’s not quite enough for grass or trees.

Cllr Hipkin’s newsletter added:

To develop a satisfactory design will require lots of work and engagement with local residents, businesses and other establishments, to ascertain their needs in terms of deliveries, access and parking, and also their concerns about how the scheme will look, drainage arrangements, details at bus stops and so on.

See also:

11 comments/updates on “Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    Some discussion on Twitter:

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    I can’t see any trees which would need to be removed for the installation of the proposed cycleway towards the city centre.

    There are no trees which could encroach on the cycleway; and those which do encroach on the footpath already do so.

    As for the out of town direction the existing footpath could be widened to provide a 2.1m cycle path as proposed on the other side, and a pedestrian footpath placed outside the trees.

    I’d like to see as much grass kept as possible. In the relatively low foot-traffic areas could strengthened grass be used as pavement?

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    Armadillos (in two sizes) attended Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s open meeting on the 3rd of September 2013. These things, which look a bit like fancy chocolates, could be used to segregate cyclists from pedestrians on Huntingdon Road and elsewhere in Cambridge.

    armadillo shaped thing; looks like a chocolate

    They have advantages over curbs including being cheap and easy to fit; and cars can easily drive over or with their wheels between them if they have to get out of the main carriageway to let an emergency vehicle past.

    They could be fixed parallel or at an angle to the direction of travel.

    No decisions have yet been made; there is to be much consultation and deliberation yet to come on all the segregated cycleway proposals.

    An example of armadillos in use can be seen in the image captioned “Northbound track near the south end” in a blog article about new Royal College Street (London) cycle lanes

    The manufacturer a Spanish company calls the product “cebra” which is Spanish for Zebra although they don’t look like Zebras

  4. Rad Wagon

    There’s a lot of positives with armadillos and they could do well on Huntingdon Road.

    The one slight note of concern would be that do you expect the design to be similar to the picture above? Because I’d worry it’d be a lot less than that. More like straight line along the current single white line of the cyclelane. This won’t overcome large vehicles knocking riders sideways with the airwash as they speed past a foot away. Mind you, kerb-based segregation wouldn’t solve that either. At least this will give some sense of safety from being hit from behind as a vehicle “accidentally” travels into the cyclelane. What is needed is the same “dead” space in between the different mode lanes.

    So, we need to see design before getting very excited about it. Still think it’s a good idea, though!

  5. Hester

    As I mentioned yesterday, having traveled along Royal College St using the new lane. the zebras helped subjective safety somewhat, but still didn’t feel entirely separated. However they have them positioned vertically and spaced out. Having now seen pictures of them placed more closely together and diagonally, I think that looks like a good option, with the additional advantage over a continuous curb that cyclists can easily bail out of the lane if necessary.

    They certainly appear to be good value for money and I think could be put to effective use in some schemes in Cambridge.

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    My view is the armadillos, however robust, look and feel temporary; ideal for testing out an idea perhaps but not for a permanent remodelling of the city’s streetscapes. Where we’re to have segregated cycle lanes I’d like to see substantial separation of cycle and motor traffic, using curbs rather than the armadillos. Where practical I’d like to see the new islands incorporating grass, planting and even new trees.

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    The decision to go-ahead with the scheme or not is up before councillors at the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee on Tuesday the 27th of May. The relevant report, and links to the other meeting papers, is at:


    An interesting element of the proposals is the treatment of the floating bus stops. The proposal is the cycle-lanes will narrow; and there will be a bump in them to raise them to the level of the pavement at the point intended for pedestrians to cross.

    Cllr Amanda Taylor has, in relation to Hills Road, writen an article which says:

    Pedestrians to have priority over cyclists when accessing floating bus stops. The intersection point will be ramped, making it obvious and meaning cyclists will have to slow down.

    Raising the cycleway very slowly to the level of the pavement so that pedestrians, and other pavement users, who will prefer level access such as the infirm as well pushchair and wheelchair users would I think be reasonable; but placing something akin to speed bumps in the cycle way would I think detract from their usefulness and might deter some cyclists from using the new lanes.

    I hope councillors make sure the expectations, or requirements, on both cyclists and pedestrians are clear to avoid conflict being created through misunderstanding and differing expectations.

    I am surprised by the lack of detail in the report. There is a cross section, but no plan of the length of the road.

    One key area I suggested needed careful treatment; the start of the cycleway as traffic approaches the city from the A14 has not been specifically considered at all.

  8. Richard Taylor Article author

    I observed the meeting on the 27th of May which considered the segregated cycleways on Hills and Huntingdon Roads.

    Councillors decided to defer the decision until the 8th of July. Cllr Walsh, who seconded the proposal to defer stated he felt the report before the committee could be improved substantially.

    Cambridge Cycling Campaign proposed a compromise position of gently raising the level of the cycleways to the level of the pavement at the crossing point to the floating cycleways.

    Video of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign contribution:

    Tweets from the meeting

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