Segregated Cycleways for Hills Road

Plan of existing and proposed cycleways for Hills Road - Described in Article
Plan of existing and proposed cycleways for Hills Road (Source).

Improving the cycleways on Hills Road was included in Cambridgeshire County Council’s application to central government for a “Cycle City Ambition Grant”. The grant application was successful, and £4.1m has been announced to “shift cycling up a gear” in the Greater Cambridge area.

It has already been revealed that consultation on the details of another project, Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road, is expected shortly, presumably progress on the others, including a new cycle lane by the Botanic Gardens on Trumpington Road, will follow soon as well.

The description of the project in the grant application states:

Hills Road segregated lanes
Hills Road is a very well used route for cyclists linking the Addenbrooke’s site with the City Centre. There are currently 1.4 metre wide mandator y cycle lanes on both sides of the road and the outbound side of the road has a line segregated facility that loses priority over side roads. It is proposed to remove some of the grass verges to introduce 2.1 metre wide, uni directional cycle lanes that are segregated from motor traffic and that segregate 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.

My thoughts:

  • Presumably this relates only to the stretch of Hills Road between the Sixth Form College and the hospital.
  • I think improving the conditions for cyclists on this stretch of road is an excellent proposal.
  • My main concern is the loss of greenery; I wonder if the new proposed curb could be made wide enough, in some stretches to accommodate trees, to compensate for the lost grass?

I added this article as the one I wrote on Dutch Style Cycleways for Huntingdon Road got a lot of readers and I’m following that “success”/interest.

17 responses to “Segregated Cycleways for Hills Road”

  1. I think this will work; it’ll be a shame to lose the nice greenery between the pavement and the road (where it exists) on one of the nicest approaches to the city, but that’s progress. Although a retrograde step aesthetically, it pales into insignificance compared to the horror of the new “Cambridge’s tallest residence” heaving itself into view as you reach a point halfway between Addenbrookes and Cherry Hinton Road. The outrageous height of that building apart, did anyone appreciate how cheap and dull it was going to look, something we can only see now it’s being “unwrapped”? But I digress. The cycle way proposal will probably be an improvement on the current mixed pavement/cycle path on the west side of Hills Road, where neither cyclist nor pedestrian seems to know who goes where, resulting in most cyclists using the road instead.

    Ironically, of course, the entire stretch of road in question has been resurfaced and remarked over this summer. The new scheme will be advancing the kerb out into the road, so a large part of the resurfaced area will have a rather restricted lifetime.

    Do the drains on the road all have to be moved out to be at the edge of the new – narrower – road, or do they stay where they are, which will now be in the middle of the new cycle paths, with some sort of channel through to them?

    Hills Road seems to have a surprisingly large camber, will that be a problem?

    And finally, something will need to be done about the situation at the Long Road/Hills Road junction, where cyclists coming south out of the city heading for Addenbrooke’s do rather let the side down with their behaviour, veering diagonally across the junction onto the west side pavement to avoid having to go round the Addenbrooke’s roundabout? It’s obvious why they do it, but it’s not pretty, and I’ve seen some fairly horrified pedestrians approaching that junction coming from Addenbrooke’s and seeing large groups of cyclists coming diagonally across the junction straight towards them.

    • Given that that roundabout has claimed two lives (iirc) a re-design of the cycle route (if not the roundabout – though that would be the ideal, of course) would seem like a good idea to me.

  2. Concern was raised at a meeting of Cambridge Cycling Campaign on the 3rd of September that the plans would drop the two way shared use cycle path on the college side of the road. The suggestion was made that this was useful.

    Mike Davies the project manager for the segregated cycleways scheme and personally responsible to government for spending the cash wisely (he signed the declarations on the grant application) tweeted:

  3. 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 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.

    It has been suggested there may be “give way” lines on the cycleway indicating that cyclists should give way to pedestrians:

    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 in respect of Huntington Road; the start of the cycleway as traffic approaches the city from the A14 has not been specifically considered at all.

  4. 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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