Novel Traffic Control Experiment Proposed at Addenbrookes


Wednesday, April 1st, 2009. 5:10am

Addenbrookes link road under construction

Speaking at a public session of the Cambridgeshire Transport Commission on the 26th of March 2009 Roger Cutting, Addenbrookes’ planning and development officer, gave what I believe was the first public description of the scheme currently proposed to prevent the new Addenbrookes’ link road being being used by people wanting to access the south of the city (rather than just the hospital site) from the M11.

He described a system involving number plate reading cameras. Sets of cameras would be located on the new road, and there would be others on the city side of the Addenbrookes site. Mr Cutting explained that there would be enforcement action taken against anyone passing the second set within fifteen minutes of the first. Quite what law would be “enforced” wasn’t clear, though Mr Cutting said he didn’t envy the challenge Cambridgeshire Police will no doubt have in trying to implement the proposed scheme.

I do not know of any similar scheme elsewhere in the world; though I have been driven down Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where there is a camera system enforcing a “no cruising” law; if you pass the same check-point twice within a certain period you are fined.

I think this will be something that will be very difficult to explain to tourists and visitors to the city, and it is not clear if the scheme will catch those seeking to use the new road drop people off at the Hospital and then leave the way that they came.

On a very serious point, David Monk, the Ambulance Service manager for Cambridge said that he wanted ambulances automatically exempt from any such scheme from day one. He said it was not acceptable to introduce a system such as that for speed cameras where, following an activation, the driver needs to complete lots of paperwork, including supplying license details etc.,. Management also have to complete paperwork including getting their control room to print them off information about the call. I have personally seen Ambulances in Cambridge driving fast with blue lights and sirens slow down for speed cameras, I wondered why they did it and now I know. This is clearly unacceptable, I would like to suggest that the first person who sees a speeding ticket for an ambulance which clearly has its blue lights flashing ought be given the authority to tear it up on the spot. There should be no need for the driver to be caused any hassle.

David Monk also said he wanted ambulances to be able to use the new road from day one. Clearly it has the potential to enable Ambulances to reach the M11/A14 and many other places much more quickly from the Ambulance station on the Addenbrooke’s site. There is a need to ensure that this opportunity is taken as soon as possible.

Clearly as soon as it’s possible to get ambulances out from the ambulance station quickly onto the M11 via the new road they should be able to use it.

Earlier this year when I observed the transport AJC deciding the speed limits for this new link road there was no mention by councillors or officers about this scheme; they talked about people accessing a possible new waste site and new developments but not about big-brother technology to control usage of the road. My impression was that councillors and officers didn’t know this was proposed. Many current plans have the new road terminating the the middle of a field (on which new parts of Addenbrookes’ are to be built). There is already a small construction track connecting the existing campus road to the new road, I have no idea what the state of the connection will be when the link road opens.

17 comments/updates on “Novel Traffic Control Experiment Proposed at Addenbrookes

  1. Brian Johnson

    The current number plate reading cameras (the ‘vultures’) are simply not good enough for this. They will have to do what they are currently doing along the A14 — employ 2 people (one for each direction) to write down car numberplates.

  2. Chris Humphris

    but seriously, if the County are funding the road, even through a Section 106 scheme, then all traffic should be allowed to use it – what is the basis for restricted access?

  3. Richard Article author

    This is one of a number of potential articles I could have written which come under the could have been an April Fool but aren’t category. Everything I’ve written is true. These are the current proposals as reported to the transport commission last week. Quite what the police make of them is yet to be seen. There is a South Cambridge Area Committee tomorrow (Thursday 2nd April), which the police are attending if anyone wants to put the question to them.

    One would assume that cyclists would be exempt, but given the ambulance staff are campaigning in all seriousness to ensure they are exempt I would suggest assuming those making the decisions are behaving rationally would be dangerous.

    Others candidates included the council’s plans to fill in bus stops (lay-bys) in the city and get the new guided bus vehicles to stop in the road instead. I also considered reporting on Cllr Blair’s campaign to undo two thousand years of history and remove the “Arbury” name from the new development in North Cambridge.

  4. David Hollingsbee

    I was always under the impression that this was going to be the “Addenbrookes access road”, specifically to improve access to and from the M11 and Trumpington (avoiding Long Road), rather than a free-for-all rat run passing through the hospital site.

    Many cities have two ring roads – an inner and an outer. Oxford has just an outer. Cambridge has a full inner but the outer (which includes trunk routes such as the M11 and A14, as well as arterial entry/exit routes such as Ditton Lane) is only partially complete.

    Take a look at a map of the City and it’s clear that this new road could form the missing link that virtually completes the outer ring.

    If through access were allowed to all motor traffic, there would be enormous and unpredictable changes to traffic patterns and levels across the City – some good, some bad.

    There are those who argue that increasing road capacity alleviates congestion, and others who believe this only makes the problem worse in the long run (for lots of different reasons).

    I guess the thing to remember is that, if this road were to become part of the outer ring road, then a busy stream of through traffic would be crossing a hospital site, as well as residential areas across Queen Ediths.

    If such access is to be prevented, then clearly some kind of enforcement system will be required.

  5. David Hollingsbee

    To expand on my post #8 above, here is a map which shows more clearly why the new access road could become such a popular short cut.

    It is the “missing link” of Cambridge’s unofficial outer ring road (which continues north/east either along the route shown or through Cherry Hinton).


    View Larger Map

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    The below has been passed to me:

    Subject: Long Road Sixth Form College – New Addenbrookes Access Road
    Dear Parent/Carer,
    New Addenbrookes Access Road
    We have been informed by Addenbrookes that the new access road will open on October 27 2010, during the half term break. Given the proximity of the Cambridge Hospital Campus (CUP) to the College we thought it would be helpful to provide a briefing on the new arrangements and their implications for staff, students and visitors to the College. The following details have been provided by CUP.
    The new road, known as Addenbrooke’s Road, links CUP (Addenbrookes and the Rosie) and Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) to Trumpington, Shelford and the M11. The road was constructed by Cambridgeshire County Council. The purpose of the new road is to improve access to the campus, to help reduce traffic congestion and to provide a direct and safe route for cyclists and pedestrians along Addenbrooke’s Road
    At the same time, new traffic restrictions come into force on the campus. These restrictions were a planning condition required by the Cambridgeshire County and City Councils in order to ensure that the new road did not become a short cut route and to prevent rat-running through the campus. Details are as follows
    * Restrictions will apply from the campus boundary at all the entrances on Addenbrookes Road, Hills Road and Robinson Way
    * Restrictions are designed to prevent motorists using the campus as a through route and will therefore apply when a motorist goes in one entrance and out another within a short period of time.
    * Motorists who go in and the out of the campus by the same entrance are not at risk of a penalty. Consequently parents dropping students off at the College on Robinson way can still enter the campus, turn at the roundabout and exit the campus.
    * Those who have legitimate business on the hospital campus will not be penalised
    and only those who persistently use the road as a short-cut will be investigated by the police
    * Cameras have been installed at the entrances to the campus. The camera on Robinson Way is situated just past the entrance to the College which therefore allows access without passing through a camera
    * The cameras operate on a number plate recognition system. We are informed that the restrictions and the enforcement arrangements will apply to cars and motorcycles
    * The camera system will involve penalties and any fines will be issued by Cambridgeshire Police
    In conclusion then – the key implications of these changes for College staff, students and visitors from 27 October are:

    * No restrictions on cyclists and pedestrians

    * Access to the College will be onto Robinson Way via Long Road and not through the campus via the Hills Road or Addenbrookes Road entrances
    Sandra Hamilton-Fox

    The interesting section states: “Those who have legitimate business on the hospital campus will not be penalised and only those who persistently use the road as a short-cut will be investigated by the police” it appears that perhaps the enforcement will not be entirely automatic and perhaps prosecutions will only follow police investigations?

    There’s a South Area Committee on Thursday, with the police present, where clarification might reasonably be sought:

    http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/democracy/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=371

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    At the South Area Committee in April 2009 in response to a public question I had asked Sgt. Morgenthaler told me the system would be entirely automated and would therefore not use up any police time at all.

    At tonight’s South Area committee I will seek to clarify if that position has changed or if the Long Road 6th Form College email is accurate and there is no automated enforcement but data from the cameras is to be used to prompt investigations.

    I will also seek to ask:

    * Are the cameras in operation yet.
    * Who owns the cameras, and who is responsible for the data collected?
    * For what reason(s) is data being collected. ie. is it only to police the Traffic Regulation Order
    * Are there whitelists in operation; are all ambulances and other emergency vehicles on the whitelist?
    * Is it local neighbourhood police officers, officers who would otherwise be policing the hospital, traffic police, or civilian police staff who are investigating possible breaches of the traffic regulation order.

  8. Rupert Moss-Eccardt

    The cameras are owned and operated by Addenbrookes. The officers of the Safety Camera Partnership will do the ‘police’ bit.
    The data will be collected for the ‘prevention of crime’.

    Its a mess and will cost police time and, eventually, court time and money.

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