New pedestrian maps for Cambridge city centre

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008. 11:33pm

My comments on the proposed new pedestrian maps for central Cambridge ( :

0. If there are to be any distances on the signs they should be in miles, (or minutes walk), and certainly not kilometers or meters.

1. Which, if any, existing maps and signs are being removed? I note a node is planned for King’s Parade in the location of the 3D maps, I hope the existing 3D maps are not being removed. I hope no existing perfectly good directional signs are being replaced.

2. Ditches around some college fields are as broad as the River Cam, I think this has the potential to be confusing. It is inconsistent then that one of the widest college boundary/drainage ditches – the moat/ditch between Jesus College and Jesus Green which is one of the widest and deepest is not marked at all – this would be particularly confusing if you were standing at the Victoria Avenue node.

3. Could the University / Academic sites have a symbol rather than just the numbered boxes? [I note on the existing maps the University buildings are all coloured yellow, on these new maps the building themselves are not featured leaving lots of blank space on the map of central Cambridge]

4. I would like to suggest an arrow pointing in the direction of Grantchester / Grantchester meadows. There are other common tourist/visitor destinations off the map the direction of which could be indicated including the University’s West Cambridge site and Addenbrookes.

6. Taxi ranks could usefully be marked.

7. The punting platform at the end of the boardwalk, near Jesus Green as been omitted.

8. Graphic of a window is odd and unexplained. Is that going to be the graphic on all the signs? Why? Why not representative images of each area, or images representative of Cambridge?

9. There is no city council logo, I think that, or the words Cambridge City Council could be present.

10. The main entrance of the botanic gardens isn’t marked, and could usefully be indicated.

11. The example Christs’ pieces node directs people to the Grafton centre toilets, when in fact the nearest ones are right behind someone looking at this sign.
The symbol for toilets on the enlarged section of the Christ’s pieces map are located on the opposite side of Burleigh street to the Grafton centre. In situation like this there could usefully be a line from the symbol to the exact location of what it is marking. I would expect that the positioning of the symbols could become more precise in the enlarged “within 5 minutes walk” map section. Where lines are needed they should be used – though minimising the need to use them is good.

12. Mill Road, St. Andrew’s Street and Regent Street are not shaded as a “City Centre Shopping” areas.

13. Free school lane is not a pedestrian area over as long a stretch as is marked.

14. Comments on the consultation: Why is money being wasted on yet another third party company to run the online consultation – I do not think it is acceptable that the council employs officers to run public consultations, and officers to look after the website who cannot produce a web-based survey form themselves. I think the survey could usefully give information on when these designs and proposals will come before city councillors and how people can have their say at that point. This would be a good item to bring to an, or all, area committees, especially if it could be done without incurring excessive costs for officer’s overtime. A mechanism where comments received so far could be made available so they can be built on would also be useful.

15. I think the word “Cambridge” is missing from the signs.

16. I think the symbol for the post office is a non-intuitive choice.

17. An opportunity to draw attention to the new central library is being missed.

18. Should there be a bus stop indicated at the station?

19. Having the current place name in large type on the signs is excellent, is there room for some information about the current place?

20. The All Saint’s garden craft market could be marked.

21. Should Westminster College be listed with the University of Cambridge colleges?

22. I don’t think the “main bus station” (as opposed to “main bus stops”) is prominently enough marked on the map . Similarly the “main post office” is not distinguished from the other post office.

23. King’s college chapel is both a popular destination and landmark – should it have the church symbol, of perhaps even a illustrative symbol to make it easier to locate?

24. The proposed location of the node by the railway station doesn’t appear to be on the line you would take when walking from a train into the City Centre or to a bus or taxi.

25. It would have been interesting to have been able to see what you are proposing to call the various locations of the new signs ie. what will be written on the top of each of them.

26. It would have been interesting as part of the consultation to see how much these signs are going to cost, and what the deal is on the example signs which have already been put up – if there is public demand for change will the supplier fix these for free. Really what’s being done here is a consultation is being run, and some expense, but the options, and choices to be made are not really being put to those of us responding. I feel as if I am generally being asked to endorse or reject the proposals rather than contribute to getting better signage for pedestrians in Cambridge.

27. I tend to look inside bus stops for maps in unfamiliar cities / areas. Perhaps a cheaper option would be to incorporate some of these signs into existing bus stops.

28. There is no proposed sign within the park street car park – a location where visitors would arrive.

29. I would have liked the question of if these signs should be sponsored to have been considered as part of the consultation.

31. Perhaps the node proposed for the Drummer Street / Emmanuel Street junction could be moved towards the bus station; is the current map by the bus station toilets going to be removed? – I think there should be a new map near there – though better located than the existing one.

32. If St.Johns Bridge, King’s Bridge etc. are going to be labelled then shouldn’t the bridges themselves be on the map? This would enable you to mark all bridges on the map. I note Queens’ college’s wooden bridge / mathematical bridge is marked but not labelled. Perhaps this, like King’s chapel would be a candidate for an illustrative symbol.

33. The consultation differentiates between “Residents” and “Students”. The majority of students are residents, and are voters. The attitude of the council which results in disenfranchising vast swathes of the transient population of the city including students and young professionals is appalling and results in bad decisions, particularly on issues like street, and open space lighting where the views of “residents” are given too much weight.

34. Why can’t all respondents be treated equally – why does it matter what my age is, or what my ethnic origin is or if I’m male or female? I think it should have been made more clear these questions were optional.

35. The photo of the trial sign doesn’t look anything like as “bronze” as the sample image, the trial sign in the photo looks bright and white – I prefer the bronze as it is less intrusive to the appearance of the street.

36. The consultation has not included pictures of the proposed directional signs as opposed to the nodes. I don’t see anything wrong with the existing pedestrian directional signs, having two sets of them will confuse things. I would like to see any new signs be similar to those used across the country to indicate a pedestrian route – an arrow shaped sign containing a cartoon figure walking, a place name, and perhaps a distance.

37. Were any high-tech options considered?

Richard Taylor

I have received an acknowledgement of my submission, but no specific answers to the questions raised.

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