Milton Road Consultation Response – February 2016


Monday, February 22nd, 2016. 3:10pm

Particularly as I live on Milton Road in Cambridge I thought I should respond to a consultation from the Greater Cambridge City Deal on proposals to remodel the road. I’m publishing what I sent in here and will link to others’ submissions below.

I am writing to respond to the current consultation on the proposed remodelling of Milton Road in Cambridge.

    Supporting Action

  1. I support the Government’s policy of investing national resources in Cambridge in an effort to boost the local and national economy. I think it is excellent that the councillors voting on the Greater Cambridge City Deal Board decided to allocate £23m to Milton Road, a sum which is sufficient for a comprehensive remodelling and rejuvenation.
  2. Questions of: “Why expand Cambridge?” and “Why seek to grow the economy?” have been raised by those opposing any changes to Milton Road. Some have even suggested rejecting the investment. If we want to be able to buy things from the rest of the world, including technology which crucial for healthcare, and increasingly for our everyday lives we have to be able to pay our way, we need need to have something to offer. Cambridge’s knowledge based industries are key way we in the UK can pay our way in the world, help us attain the happy and healthy lives we aspire to.
  3. As well as providing purely economic benefits the educational and commercial activities in the Cambridge area are also furthering the endeavours of humanity across a wide spectrum of fields, including gaining a greater understanding of our planet and climate, understanding our place in the universe and furthering our understanding of medicine. Modern university education thrives not only from a close link between teaching and cutting edge research but also from commercial links. Activities which are carried out in Cambridge are worthwhile and worthy of being supported by the highest quality transport infrastructure.
  4. Improving transport infrastructure can make it practical to build more homes in locations which would not otherwise be viable, and can also effectively increase the supply of housing by making travel practical over a wider area. Cambridge has a serious housing problem with the Centre for Cities calculating the ratio of house prices to average earnings in the city reached 15.92 : 1 in 2015. This high cost of property underlies high rents in the city.
  5. High housing costs lead to people living in inappropriate housing can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Many of those who make Cambridge work as teachers, researchers, and health professionals are living in shared houses much longer than they might desire. Unaffordable housing reduces people’s opportunities to achieve what they aspire to and can impact the practicality of having a family.
  6. The Remodelling of Milton Road

  7. I would like to see 2m wide continuous cycleways, with priority over side roads, segregated from motor traffic by trees and planting along the full length of Milton Road from the Science and Business Parks to Mitcham’s Corner where they should connect with a wider city network including the traffic free riverside paths. As evidenced by experience in the Netherlands making cycling safer and more pleasant encourages more people to do it. More people cycling means fewer using motor vehicles, reducing congestion on the roads.
  8. Cycleways can be used by electrically assisted bikes, including trikes. These vehicles are already regularly used on Milton Road and across Cambridge by those who might not otherwise cycle such as couriers (carrying parcels and take-away food) and those whose health might not allow them to use other bikes. Cycleways do serve a wide variety of people and businesses, and in Cambridge those from the very young to the very old cycle.
  9. So that the remodelling of the road is not constrained by the existing trees I would like the City Deal Board to ensure it is properly informed of the current state of the art technology for moving trees and the pros and cons of installing new larger and more established trees. I think there is an opportunity to improve the environment on the road for residents and those passing through with the treatment of trees in the scheme.
  10. My personal view is ornamental cherries have become closely linked with the road especially following repeated campaigns to save and maintain them. Milton Road is known for being bursting with the colour pink and the smell of cherry blossom. I think replacement planting should be predominantly cherry, as currently with a range of blossoming periods. The opportunity should be taken at junctions, and other areas where there is more space, to plant trees which will be expected to grow larger and last longer such as oaks, limes, planes and poplars.
  11. I urge elected representatives to keep a close eye on tree planting proposals and to ensure that good value for money is obtained. Recently in Cambridge many newly planted trees have failed including on Milton Road and in the surrounding streets.
  12. Trees should be planted in, or moved to, specially constructed tree pits so the risk of tree roots damaging the new road, cycleway and pavement surfaces is minimised and the opportunity for trees to thrive is maximised.
  13. I do not think cycleways “segregated” from motor-traffic by only a low curb provide the additional safety, and feeling of safety, required to encourage significantly more cycling which is why I am proposing segregation using trees and planting.
  14. The modelling data produced by the City Deal suggests there is no justification for an outbound bus-lane.
  15. Specific Areas – Approach from the A14

  16. Efforts need to made to deter drivers from using Milton Road when the A14 and M11 would be a practical alternative. Improvements to the A14 will hopefully be improving the consistency of journey times. The City Deal board should work closely with Highways England to ensure drivers are provided with up to date information about the state of traffic and expected journey times eg. from Junction 33 of the A14 (Milton) to Junction 11 of the M11 for Addenbrooke’s and the biomedical campus, so people can make an informed decision on if to drive through the city, round the city, or get on a train.
  17. Opportunities to link the Milton Park and Ride, the Science Park, and the new railway station with off road routes for those walking, cycling should be investigated. They area may suit itself to new technologies such as the driverless pods in use at Heathrow; it should be advertised to developers of novel transport technologies as an area where there is an opportunity for trials.
  18. The City Deal Board should work with Highways England to ensure the extension of the A14 westbound slip is extended back to the Science Park, allowing traffic to more easily leave the Science Park, and Milton Road more generally in the evening peak.
  19. Opportunities to simplify the road layout on Milton Road by the Science and Business Parks should be taken; there are currently three exits for to the Innovation Park, Cowley Road and the Business Park. This could be reduced to one. A simpler road layout would I expect be safer given, as can be seen from any road accident map, more incidents generally occur at junctions than on straight roads.
  20. There needs to be a clear demarcation when traffic approaches the Science Park area from the A14 indicating that a busier area where there are likely to be cyclists and pedestrians present has been reached. This could be achieved via road environment changes including public art such as the large cycle present at the Newmarket Road Park and Ride. The commencement of the segregated cycleways and tree planting could also clearly mark the transition.
  21. The shared use cycle and pedestrian underpass from the business park under the new guided busway spur to the station is a safe option used by many cyclists, but it is not an attractive option for those leaving the Science Park and proceeding into the city as they would have to leave and re-join the road. The Milton Road continuous segregated cycleways should connect to the Science and Business parks.
  22. King’s Hedges Road – Green End Road Junction

  23. Traffic light timing improvements are a major requirement here. Often outbound traffic is queued up here when the road is free flowing beyond. I note the impact of such simple and cheap improvements has not yet been included in the City Deal’s modelling, I expect when it is the case for an outbound bus lane will be further diminished.
  24. There is an awful shared use path connecting the underpass to Green End Road which brings a huge flow of cyclists into conflict with pedestrians. The remodelling must eliminate this.
  25. Narrower roadways which are quicker for cyclists and pedestrians to cross should form part of the newly redesigned junction.
  26. If a right turn from Milton Road into Green End Road is to be retained it ought have a filter arrow, it is currently dangerous as the queue to turn right from Milton Road into King’s Hedges Road obscures the view of oncoming traffic.
  27. Milton Road – Arbury Road – Union Lane

  28. When considering proposals to prevent certain movements at this junction I want to urge the councillor members of the board with a vote to bear in mind that North Cambridge residents often have needs to travel within North Cambridge by motor vehicle and these trips within the local area must not be made too onerous and impractical eg. taking elderly people to a medical appointment or day centre.
  29. Especially at this junction, but in the project as a whole, I think care needs to be taken not to criminalise those who are taking sensible actions to keep themselves safe and to avoid collisions with others. Currently many cyclists quite understandably cross on the pedestrian phase when all traffic is stopped. This appears to be quite effective.
  30. Arbury Road – Highworth Avenue

  31. Some campaigners appear to be under the misapprehension there is a shared use cycle-pedestrian path in-front of the shops. This is understandable as the signage in the area which has recently been installed incorrectly indicates there is.
  32. The signage was installed after local councillors set anti-social cycling as a local police priority after a couple of vocal and emotive individuals complained about cyclists using the pavement. My view is many of those deemed anti-social were in my view doing the right thing for themselves and wider society by trying to stay alive and uninjured.
  33. The board should ensure where it is, and is not, permissible to cycle in the area is instantly obvious to all including visitors from other countries who may never have ridden a bike before. Cambridge as a whole as a significant population who stay in the city for short periods and don’t stay long enough to visit the County Council offices and digest the intricacies of Traffic Regulation Orders. Even the well established local police sergeant has been confused by the current mishmash of where cycling is and isn’t permitted on and around Milton Road.
  34. Milton Road – Highworth Avenue Roundabout

  35. Currently the roundabout is difficult to navigate as a pedestrian and cyclist. The option of closing Highworth Avenue gives to allow outbound cyclists on Milton Road an unimpeded trip is attractive; as are suggestions to narrow the roadways allowing bikes and pedestrians to cross traffic more quickly.
  36. The proposal for a separated / protection junction from Robin Heydon of the cycling campaign looks worthy of proper consideration. http://www.camcycle.org.uk/blog/2015/10/23/milton-road-elizabeth-way-junction-proposals/
  37. Other Comments

  38. The main cause of significant unexpected congestion on Milton Road is problems on the A14 and M11. When such problems occur, even as far away as Duxford, traffic including heavy goods vehicles uses Milton Road. In order to maintain consistent journey times on Milton Road the use of the road by traffic trying to make progress on the trunk road network needs to be addressed. The police, County Council, Highways England need to rapidly and actively manage the traffic in response to incidents.
  39. The shared use contraflow on the pavement on Milton Road near Chesterton Hall Crescent should be retained to allow cyclists to legally access the crossing when travelling to or from Chesterton Hall Crescent.
  40. I am concerned additional traffic light controlled crossings on the road could introduce extra hazards in an already cluttered road-space.
  41. Currently there is a good mix of pay and display parking, and free time limited parking around Mitcham’s Corner which facilities the use of the local shops by car; I think this should be retained.
  42. The City Deal Board should consider lobbying central government to change the law on which vehicles are permitted to use cycle lanes, including consideration of Segways, “hoverboards” and similar personal transportation devices, as well as motorised wheelchairs. Inviting central government to trial new regulations permitting the use of such personal transport systems, on Milton Road, and in the Science Park, Business Park and Park and Ride area, and perhaps the city’s parks too could enhance Cambridge’s image as a centre of innovation and technology.
  43. I would like to see clarity on the future decision making process in relation to this scheme, in particular if the City Deal Board will take on responsibility for consultation and decisions relating to trees from the councils and if the traffic regulation process will be handled by the board rather than the County Council.
  44. Comments on the Consultation

  45. I think the voting councillors on the City Deal Board should have considered the plans put forward by their consultants in detail before launching a consultation on them. The consultant’s plans have been a distraction to the consultation process. By not considering the plans which were put out to consultation councillors have left members of the public feeling the need to oppose them, making the tone of deliberations around this consultation much more negative than might otherwise have been the case.
  46. I urge the board to beware of their consultant’s lack of local knowledge; for example in suggesting Middleton Close is available for parking when as I understand it it is a private road.
  47. I urge care to be taken when deciding what, if any, weight to put on representations purporting to be from residents associations. I attended the Milton Road residents’ association’s inaugural meeting and signed up to their contact list, and receive mailings from them but I have not been consulted on any of the policy positions the “organisation” has taken.
  48. I note the North Area Committee meeting on the 4th of February 2016 gave special speaking rights to those purporting to be from residents’ associations with no checking of if the associations speakers claimed to represent even existed never mind had come to an agreed position; this impacted who was able to publicly put their views to councillors.
  49. I suggest formally including local councillors and the North Area Committee as consultees and those who will receive information at future stages of consultation on this project.
  50. Rail Connections

  51. Buses from St Ives and Northstowe should stop at the new railway station before proceeding down Milton Road into the city. The City Deal board should work closely with Network Rail and the train operating companies to make a transition from bus to train as smooth as possible, via smart co-ordinated ticketing (and/or use of contactless cards / phones), and ensure the station is well serviced with trains. Making using the train an attractive option to reach the central railway station and travel on to Addenbrooke’s and the Biomedical Campus could reduce the demand for travel down Milton Road.
  52. Impacts from Further Afield

  53. The Greater Cambridge City Deal should promote the enterprise zones at Northstowe and Waterbeach and push for the installation of fibre to the home broadband connections as part of an effort to make these new settlements places people can live and work, only travelling to Cambridge when required. Companies basing themselves in the new settlements can benefit from close links to Cambridge without their staff having to commute daily.
  54. In order to deter people driving down Milton Road to access the other side of the city I agree with proposals to break the inner-ring road. I think the principle which ought be followed is illustrated by the journey required to go from the back of the Guildhall to the front; it’s possible but convoluted. The aim should be to get as much motor vehicle travel around the city via the A14 and M11 as practical. Improved signage encouraging use of the A14 and M11 could help too. Some of the city’s signage still refers to the A45 which has not existed locally since 1994.
  55. Matters Particularly Impacting Residents on Milton Road

  56. Cambridge in general, and North-East Cambridge in particular appears to experience significant surface water flooding from heavy rain. Many properties on Milton Road experience water flowing off the road into them in heavy rain; when the road is remodelled this should be minimised with proper drainage and the use of permeable paving where practical, perhaps on pavements and cycleways.
  57. Before millions are spent on new road surfaces the state of the utilities underneath should be determined, and upgrades should be co-ordinated with the works. Many recent works on Milton Road appear to be connected with upgrading water connections to properties, if it makes sense to do this for those properties which have not yet had it done should be investigated. It may be it ought be an option advertised for property owners to get done at their own expense – but in a co-ordinated fashion.
  58. The remodelled road should be designed with consideration of delivery vehicles in mind given the degree to which internet shopping, including for groceries, is used by local residents.
  59. As far as possible the ability of drivers of motor vehicles to damage grass verges should be designed out.
  60. The ability of residents of Milton Road to easily come and go from their properties by motor vehicle needs consideration. Many comments on this point have been unwarranted concerns that segregated cycleways will involve unsurmountable curbs, these should of course be discounted. Changes to the traffic flow, which currently pulses with the traffic lights at King’s Hedges Road, and Arbury Road, might make egress from properties much more difficult. The positioning of trees should also be carried out mindful of the safety impacts of the positioning. Installing taller trees with higher crowns might help in this regard.

In addition to my own consultation response I would like to offer for consideration videos I have made of meetings at which the plans have been discussed including:

I would also like to see the views of my local councillors, as expressed in a leaflet published to be considered. The leaflet can currently be found at:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZ_verfW0AEa6i4.jpg:large

Linked to Cllr Kevin Price’s tweet at:

https://twitter.com/nivekder/status/692790729589002240

Richard Taylor, Milton Road, Cambridge.

See Also

13 comments/updates on “Milton Road Consultation Response – February 2016

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    The Cambridge Cycling Campaign have published their response at:

    https://www.camcycle.org.uk/images/blog/Camcycle-Milton-Road-Consultation-Response-r5.pdf

    The propose bus priority, including a tidal bus lane, fully segregated cycleways, protected bicycle junctions, and excellent pedestrian facilities whilst retaining an avenue of trees

    The Cycling Campaign call for 2.5m widths on the grounds overtaking safely isn’t possible with just 2m.

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    The Milton Road residents’ association has published their response at:

    http://www.miltonroadra.org/static/files/collective-response.pdf?v=4

    The organisation didn’t consult those on its mailing list and doesn’t appear to have any members.

    It claims a section of the response was endorsed at a meeting on the 29th of January. I’ve published a video of that meeting and invite anyone to point to the endorsement claimed being given. The chair merely urged those present to submit their own responses.

  3. Lucy

    I also responded and as these aren’t available online thought I’d share here. I’m looking forward to seeing other responses.

    My comments below are mainly in response to the Histon road and Milton road consultations. Please do let me know if there is any issue in receiving this response in this format.

    Firstly this is a great opportunity for a growing city and I’m pleased that the consultation are being run mostly concurrently given the final changes will be of city wide benefit . Given the mainly negative feedback I have experienced talking with locals/attending meetings so far, this is a response aimed to pick out the positives of the systems shown with some additional thoughts.

    It is clear that housing costs, job creation will create a burden on traffic which is already at peak volumes during rush hour.

    Overall comments:

    Whatever changes over the city, I think it is important that we incorporate modern technology to assist with traffic management. It would be good to have a responsive traffic system that is able to adjust timings of lights depending on traffic flow, or pick up an issue on the A14 which will then impact on Histon Road/Milton road etc.
    It would be interesting to explore if some kind of laning could be created a little like the current hard shoulder lanes that are used in heavy traffic on the motorway, meaning the space can be used in the direction it’s needed.

    A radical suggestion could be to make Milton road inbound traffic only and Histon outbound only with Kings Hedges road and Gilbert road connection the two.

    I like the emphasis on safe cycling and think the cycling infrastructure on the do maximum models is desirable.

    Histon Road:

    I like the do maximum approach where there is a continuous cycle lane down the road, currently there is a lot of space where cyclists are in the road cycling round parked cars which is unsafe for them and also slows down the traffic.

    Whilst a suggested closure of Victoria Road may help with flow at that junction, I think that whole junction with Huntingdon road needs further exploration. Assuming traffic is still travelling up Victoria road you will still have delays as the Histon road traffic meets the Victoria road traffic and then held turning onto Huntingdon Road.

    Warwick Road/Gilbert Road junction

    Given the Mayfield school is on Warwick Road, it seems like it’s going to be pretty difficult to access this unless you are travelling from the city centre by car. This may be the aim, but I do wonder if you’ll then generate lots of traffic turning in places like the garage/Akeman St etc.

    Rat runs –

    The do maximum approach does appear to possibly generate incentivisation of using rat runs to access Victoria road from Histon Road, measures would need to be taken to reduce this if this occurs. Akeman street does already have a pretty deterrent street system.

    Milton Road
    I’d like to declare an interest that I am a resident of Milton Road

    This is a key north route into Cambridge.

    Options I’d like to see considered:
    A good continuous, safe cycle route the whole length of this road, encouraging cycling for those working on the science park (and those living on this road). At the moment it is at times confusing, terrifying and alright in different places with cyclists coming off the road then back on in seemingly random intervals.

    Make sure existing cycling cut through – such as Warren Road – Eastfield, Union Lane etc. are retained and remain easily accessible to prevent creation of a cycle super highway and spread the cycle traffic round the area.

    Science Park

    At the moment there are numerous junctions coming into the city for the science and business park. If all traffic accessed Cowley Road, St. John’s Innovation centre and the business park using one entrance (perhaps current Taylor Vinters road) then this could streamline the traffic at this point. One lane for this traffic, one for city and then what is spare for the right turn into the science park – unless is there any ability to run a lane into the science park off the A14 roundabout next to NAPP site?

    Cambridge North station

    Ideally this should be a potential option for people to use to travel around the city – i.e. it needs to be viable to buy a cheap ticket to access the main train station as an option for heading to the south of the city without a car.

    King’s Hedges/Green End Road

    I think improvements to traffic signals is a good thing. This is a nice wide junction. I’d like to see cycle priority lights in this junction. At the moment crossing this junction as a cyclist is very unnerving.

    Arbury Road

    I agree with stopping the right hand turn into Arbury road from Milton Road. It does seem to block the road, particularly when you have large vehicles either turning or trying to pass by the turning vehicle.

    Union Lane

    If you close union lane, then I’m not currently clear as a cyclist how I would turn onto Milton road either going out of or into the city. I mainly don’t have an issue with this as currently it is a pretty horrible cycle to cross to the other side with traffic chasing behind.

    One consideration is the location of the out of hours medical service. This is often accessed at times buses aren’t running and people are often unwell meaning they rightly will probably opt to travel in personal vehicles rather than cycle etc. Closing the access may have an impact given the other routes all involve low speed travel. I also wonder if there will be an impact on the doctors cars that travel from there accessing patients at a slower speed?

    Elizabeth way roundabout

    I have no issues with changing this from a roundabout to a junction and believe this may have an impact on the flow of the road. This often gets blocked when the lights at the Arbury rd/Milton rd junction are red at busy times. It would be great to have a model where all cyclists can cross at the same time – I believe some modelling has been done to show this works and much more timely than a conventional crossing.

    I agree with closing off Highworth Avenue to cars. This should then be a primary cycling route onto Arbury road, meaning no cycle preference on the left hand turn into Arbury road is then needed.

    Gilbert Road

    The no right turn at Gilbert Road (although I can see the sense in terms of it slowing traffic down at this point) concerns me as it is a quick way to access Huntingdon Road, that said removing this would change behaviour and possibly move more traffic onto the A14 at the milton Road junction.

    Buses

    My concern with this bus heavy infrastructure is that there is no incentive to use the buses. The geographical circle in which people are traveling from means that people are leaving homes in their cars, and are being encouraged onto a bus from the P&R then changing in the city centre meaning over-long journeys. I understand why people choose to drive.

    I note Lewis Herbert at the 4 February North Area Committee mentioned the possibility of buses not using Drummer street and creating radial routes – I think this would be fantastic and should be part of any future plans.

    Stagecoach should very much be part of any future meetings regarding Milton/Histon road as given a different infrastructure I suspect they will want to change their bus routes.

    My other concern is that it is pretty hard to catch a bus on Milton Road (I suspect you will hear this numerous times!) so frustrating to have more coming past with no more collection points. I’d like to see the current collection point on the Milton Road/Arbury Road junction moved or possibly recessed into the closed Union lane area (giving safe space to cyclists round this) so that buses stopping there don’t slow down the traffic.

    One benefit of two bus lanes is that the rubbish collection on Milton Road on a Thursday will be less disruptive to traffic, along with stopping any buses who do actually collect passengers on this road holding up the traffic.

    Given the amount of people accessing roads/driveways I would be very keen not to see bus lane cameras as I suspect local residents would be routinely penalised for simply accessing their properties.

    A tidal busway may be desirable given the nature of the congestion on this road meaning less disruption and more space for cycles/people.

    Cycles

    Whilst I recognise not everyone can cycle or are in jobs where they can cycle, I think it’s great that the schemes seem to be looking at cycling best practice and trying to incorporate it. I’d like to see world class cycling facilities not a make do, on the road/off the road approach. It needs to be safe and convenient to encourage cycling. At the moment there is no incentive to use the milton P&R site, I’d like to see it being totally feasible and safe to park your car at all P&R sites and cycle to work from there.

    It would be great at the entrance to Histon Road/ Milton Road/by the A14 to have signs saying City of Cyclists and perhaps a small statue etc. reminding people of cyclists etc. and to be proud of what a great cycling city we are!

    I’d like to see cycle counters on both Milton and Histon Road (and further round the city) to complement the already existing one at Gonville Place.

    Parking

    Some businesses do require parking – I know there are many trades/offices where people need to move around and out of the city using a car either because they are carrying lots of equipment (in my case this is sometimes true), or someone is popping into the Cambridge office prior to travelling to another city/town. In these cases it would be good to use office car parks – but perhaps businesses should have to pay a fee for having this privilege which either they can pass onto their workers or absorb the costs themselves. This money should go towards maintaining the infrastructure or running costs of smart traffic systems.

    Trees

    I think it’s very important given the nature of Milton Road that this environment is maintained – the cherry trees when in full blossom are pretty spectacular and really are a feature of north Cambridge. Where possible I think trees should remain part of the streetscape although I am aware that the final plan will almost inevitably involve trees moving from where they currently are.

    I’d like to see where viable either mature specimens or movement of current healthy/suitably size trees to their new locations.

    It would be great to use trees to create some of the delineation of the space, along with creating a nice space for walking down the road. The set up of trees as shown on Riverside (where trees are surrounded by hard paving but have room to grow below) would create space.

    Innovation/Light

    I think where possible we should be bold with our choices, using modern proven technology to create a road that will work into the future as well as the next few years. We should be looking for smart, effective and creative solutions to the street scape.

    There is lots of fun creative space being created with use of light (such as the building on Station Road which changes as people use the space) and it would be great to see some of this being built into the environment – why not have a colour changing ‘cats eyes’ on the pedestrian/cycle areas showing how many people have travelled over the day or changes colour over night – to make the area fun, desirable and safe to travel through.

    Why not where trees can’t be replaced create some structure/sculptures to follow this theme of being a fun space. Perhaps a tree like canopy over the pedestrian and cycle space.

    Car space should be tight/small and basic, bus/cycle and pedestrian space should be bigger, pleasant and generally more desirable to be in.

    Bottleneck into the city
    The one thing I’m not entirely clear on is if we make both Histon and Milton road travel faster that this is only going to cause knock on impacts on Drummer Street, East road (for cars) etc. There is no point creating a great road that has no exit to deal with the traffic coming into Cambridge.

    Consultation feedback

    I am pleased to see effort has gone into contacting bus users and non residents of these areas. Although I am a local resident, I think it is hugely important to canvas the opinions of people who use this route to get to Cambridge.

    I also feel that there is a genuine effort to listen to views and I want to thank the City Deal members for that. I don’t feel this is a ‘done’ deal. I, however, would like to have seen this a bit more on the online / printed information as this feeling has come more from members who have spoken at various meetings.

    North Area Committee

    I appreciate the effort made to have a single topic meeting at the North Area Committee. Personally I felt the opportunity to discuss was restricted with a long time spent on giving presentations that could have been made available beforehand. We heard very little from our councillors (other than the chair), and I felt the officers were quite antagonistic in their responses at times.

    I would like to see a similar meeting at the point of final plans being put forward (although I don’t envy the chair/officers who have to speak at that meeting!) as it will be an effective way to learn about the plans. If this happens I’d like to request a bigger room is booked given the amount of people who turned up for the last one.

    If this happens I’d like the option to submit question in advance – I felt disenfranchised by not being a member of a residents association (who were allocated a lot of the Question time) as well as often those who were asked questions were either rambling/talking about a very specific personal issue. A poll of questions being submitted might mean that questions being asked about a specific area by many people could be addressed first.

    I look forward to hearing the results of the consultation – it is clear this is a massive project which has lots of stakeholders.

  4. A Milbourn

    Richard,
    I don’t think preserving a good quality environment and the development of hi-tech industries are mutually exclusive. A lot of technical experts who work in these industries live in the area, and I know quite a few of them. The industries have to compete with places like Nice (Sophia Antipolis) and Switzerland to provide a good living environment for these people. Turning parts of Cambridge into something like Birmingham is not going to help at all with this.

    I don’t think anyone would argue with the idea of providing affordable housing for local workers. However, it would help if the council made at least some effort to insist on housing which is relevant to them. It would appear that the vast majority of new build in Cambridge in the recent past has been directly marketed at overseas students, London commuters and overseas investors. Having a, frankly bonkers, planning policy cannot be rectified by turning Milton Road into a dual carriageway.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      turning Milton Road into a dual carriageway.

      That has never been a proposal. It is something party political campaigners have opposed, but no one has ever been proposing it.

      In January 2015 I asked the city deal board “…cutting down all the trees and turning Milton Road into a dual carriageway. … is that scaremongering or is that something that could really happen.”

      The answer from the senior officer asked to reply was clear: “There are certainly no proposals and I think it is scaremongering “.

      I don’t think anyone would argue with the idea of providing affordable housing for local workers.

      Councillors and MPs have put policies in place which make it harder to provide such housing, for example heavy taxes on new developments which the current Government are now cutting to encourage house building.
      Requirements for the provision of social housing make it cost more to provide housing for the open market.
      While no elected representative would say they were against providing affordable housing for local workers, their actions do often result in the housing supply being more restricted than it otherwise would be.

      vast majority of new build in Cambridge in the recent past has been directly marketed at overseas students,

      The development tax levied on non-student residential developments has made student accommodation more attractive to investors. Students are residents of the city too, and there is an under-provision of student rooms, especially for Anglia Ruskin University; I am concerned though that the accommodation is not university run and accessible but largely expensive luxury accommodation provided by private investment companies.

      I don’t think preserving a good quality environment and the development of hi-tech industries are mutually exclusive.

      I don’t think anyone has suggested they are.
      Ensuring Cambridge remains a pleasant and attractive place to live is in everyone’s interests and no-one is actively trying to destroy that.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    A response to the consultation from King’s Hedges’ councillors has been published by the Cambridge News

    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276453/binaries/Labour%20Milton%20Road%20response.pdf

    They say:

    • We need segregated cycle lanes and pavements on Milton Road to encourage cycling, prevent clashes with cars and pedestrians and cut air pollution on the road
    • 2 bus lanes are not needed on Milton Road. Single Bus Lanes should be provided where they improve the flow of buses, typically leading up to junctions
    • The potential for a morning and evening peaktime tidal flow central bus lane should be investigated.
    • High quality trees, verges and pavements are an essential part of retaining and improving the residential nature of Milton Road for local people
  6. David

    I have seen an image of a dual carriageway – 2 bus lanes and 2 lanes for general motor traffic, 4 lanes in total. That’s a dual carriageway in most people’s book. Just because some of the lanes are painted red like on Elizabeth Way and Newmarket Road, doesn’t stop it being a dual carriageway.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      Well that was one of the consultant’s suggestions; while the councillors on the City Deal board and assembly nodded them through to go to consultation they didn’t consider them in detail and don’t appear to support them any more. (eg. Cllr Price has signed up to the Labour response which doesn’t support them. As for Cllr Herbert:

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    City Deal officers are proposing to go with the “do something” plans prepared by their consultants, they are suggesting spending only £6m of the £23m allocated to Milton Road. The plans will result in the loss of most of Milton Road’s trees and grass verges, to be replaced along most of the length with only a small strip of planting or parking along one side of the road.

    The officer’s proposals appear to go against the unanimous views of local elected representatives who have supported maintaining the tree-lined environment of the road.

    Officers have listened to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s comments on the junction with Elizabeth Way and appear prepared to take account of ideas to improve that junction, and are even considering banning a right turn into Elizabeth Way.

    The recommendation states:

    Take forward the initial ideas in the ‘Do Something’ option for further design work including the Union Lane closure and Elizabeth Way roundabout ideas and ‘floating’ bus stops (where highway space permits) but excluding the ideas for banned turns at the Gilbert Road, Arbury Road and King’s Hedges Road junctions

    Agenda:
    http://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=6641&x=1
    Report:
    http://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s94672/Milton%20Road%20report.pdf

  8. Richard Taylor Article author

    At Cambridgeshire County Council on the 19th of June 2016 the majority of councillors voted against a statement opposing the removal of the majority of trees from Milton Road

    Cllr Manning’s statement:

    This council wishes to express its opposition to any plan which would result in the removal of the majority of trees from Milton Road. Further council believes the measures contained within the City Deal do not represent efficient or desirable ways of cutting congestion and ask that more options be considered in the public consultation.

    The statement was rejected : 22 in favour 33 against.

    See about 50 minutes into the video at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_eiX6f25gI

  9. Richard Taylor Article author

    At the 19th of June 2016 meeting councillors also voted to pass on a petition about the Milton Road trees to the Greater Cambridge City Deal board, endorsing the petition with their support. The petition text according to councillors’ papers was:

    Save our Trees and Verges
    The Greater Cambridge City Deal plan to widen Milton Road to four lanes of traffic. To do this they want to remove 83% of our lovely flowering trees. There are alternatives.”

    This can’t be the online petition with over 2K responses at https://www.change.org/p/save-the-trees-and-verges-on-milton-road-cambridge-uk as that has different text.

    I wonder how carefully officers validate petitions.

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