New Shared Use Pavement Signed in North Cambridge

Saturday, July 11th, 2015. 2:01am

New sign suggesting the pavement on Fraser Road in Cambridge can now be used by both cyclists and pedestrians.

According to signs which have just been put up on Fraser Road in North Cambridge cyclists are now permitted to use the pavement there.

I suspect bungling council officers, or their contractors, have made a mistake and have put a new set of signs up in the wrong place. I plan to try and draw local councillors’ attention to what’s happened and hope they will investigate and get the signs removed.

One indication the new signage has been installed in error is that it has only been put up at one end of the road.

This newly signed shared use (cycling and walking) pavement appears to have been introduced with no consultation notices either on the street or sent to local residents; had it been legitimate and intended I would have expected to have seen notices.

The adjacent pavement on Milton Road is not a shared use pavement so this isn’t a case of the signs being put the wrong way round on the pole.

I don’t think the pavement on this road is suited to shared use cycling. It’s not very wide and the road itself is relatively quiet as it isn’t a through road.

The road does form part of a well used through cycle route though and I would like to see provision for cyclists improved on the road; perhaps including a clearer marking of the transition between Milton Rd and Fraser Rd. As a regular cyclist on this road the place it feels most dangerous is near the junction with Milton Rd where motor-vehicles often turn the corner quite fast. Drivers entering the road at speed don’t give themselves much time to take in the position, and movements, of road users and the locations of parked vehicles on the road they’re turning into.

In February 2015 Cambridge’s North Area Committee considered proposals to do some maintenance to some of the cycle signage in the area but no proposals relating to this sign, or Fraser Road, were included.

Making a pavement into a shared use cycleway would have required a Traffic Regulation Order. Councillors don’t advertise these online, where they could easily be searched for, but only in small-print at the back of local newspapers. The council does publish information on recent orders and there is not one for Fraser Road there. A local resident, Ben Harris, does what the council doesn’t and publishes information on some of the Traffic Regulation Orders.

Had anyone managed to find out about a proposed order, and objected to it, it would have been considered by the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee; I can say no mention of this newly signed shared use pavement in the papers for that committee either.

I have previously expressed concern about councillors prioritising police enforcement in relation to cycling offences in the area given the poor signage which doesn’t always reflect the law.

As I live near this newly installed sign I feel a particular duty to investigate if it has been, as I suspect, wrongly installed.

Google Maps Streetview confirms that the signs are new since August 2014. I think they were installed within the last few days.

Google Streetview shows there was no shared use sign on the pole in question as of August 2014

8 comments/updates on “New Shared Use Pavement Signed in North Cambridge

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    I’ve emitted some tweets in the hope of prompting some discussion and response:

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    The meaning of the sign in question is given as

    Shared route for pedal cycles and pedestrians only

    on p34 of the Government publication Know Your Traffic Signs.

    It is sign number 956 as defined in Schedule 5 of the The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002

    The directions which apply are:

    • 7 – Signs to be placed only to indicate the effect of a statutory prohibition
    • 8 – The placing of certain signs to indicate the beginning of a restriction, requirement, prohibition or speed limit
    • 11 – Repeater signs (Requiring signs at “regular intervals”)
    • 18(1) and 18(5) – to require the signs to accompany road markings indicating a shared use path (but not to require road markings where there are signs).
    • 21(1) – to permit plate “2602.3″ to be used showing a national cycle route number
  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    I went to have a look to see if any other signs had been installed.

    Near the roundabout where Elizabeth Way meets Milton Road more new signage has been wrongly installed. This time it appears the signs are simply the wrong way round on the pole. The signage as it is wrongly indicates there is a shared use cycle-way in-front of the row of shops containing the chip shop, chemist and co-op.

    It appears rather than making things clearer the new signs have just added confusion.

    This investment in new signs is oddly timed given proposals to spend tens of millions of pounds remodelling the road.

    The shared-used cycle path is defined in this traffic regulation order; discussion and a map can be found in the comments on another article.

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have been attacked by Cambridge Cycling Campaign committee member Colin Rosenstiel for the manner in which I have drawn attention to these apparently wrongly installed signs. Rosenstiel has suggested I’m wrong to say the Milton Road pavement adjacent to the sign on Fraser Rd is not a shared use pavement on which cycling is permitted and has also tweetd:

    I have responded to point to the extensive discussion, including links to the traffic regulation orders, and maps, present on my website.

    I do not think I’ve been overly sure of myself as alleged; the wording used in my article is: “I suspect…” and I have explained my reasoning, with links where appropriate.

    My reason for noting this reaction is that it shows how unpleasant a response can be invoked by even making even the simplest of comments on how the local area is being run. I think the tone, and level, of debate about how we run Cambridge will put people off publicly entering discussions about how we run the city and our society more widely. I think we need to highlight unpleasant behaviour and make clear it is not acceptable so that people don’t fear sharing thoughts and ideas openly.

  5. Tim Burford

    Oh for the days when councils could just do things like this themselves rather than always having to brief contractors from god knows where.

  6. Ben Harris

    I don’t think it’s necessary to make a TRO to make a pavement shared-use. Under section 65(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 the council can create a cycle track by “constructing” it (simultaneously “removing” the footway under section 66(3)), and I’ve seen guidance suggesting that putting up signs would constitute construction. The sign’s requirement for a corresponding statutory prohibition is then met by section 21 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

    In fact, I don’t think a traffic regulation order can itself create a cycle track out of a footway, since it can only regulate the use of a right of way; it can’t create a new right to cycle somewhere where there was previously only a right to go on foot.

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