Hills Road cycleway plans on display

Raised Cycle Lane

As reported here previously, plans have been approved for a raised cycleway along Hills Road, and an information display will be held on Thursday 20 November at Rock Road Library, from 3pm to 7.30pm. Project officers will be on hand, we’re told, to answer our questions, and the detailed construction drawings will be available to view. The start of on-road works will be in January, 2015. Proposals include wide cycle lanes on Hills Road between Long Road and Cherry Hinton Road, a new type of bus stop, and removal of two-way cycle lanes on the west side pavement. I’d strongly encourage all local residents to wander over to Rock Road and take a look at the library display. There’s more information on the council website here.

5 Replies to “Hills Road cycleway plans on display”

  1. I would welcome assurance that these new lanes will be LEGALLY usable by licensed 8mph mobility scooters. Otherwise it will be necessary either to join the main carriageway or to mix with pedestrians on the footpath or , as now, do the manifestly sensible thing, ie use the cycle path and ignore an absurd law.

  2. Having viewed the plans, it is difficult to determine the user value for the £1.4M investment. The primary issue associated with cycling along Hills Road is crossing the railway bridge. This issue is not being addressed.

  3. Are residents of Queen’s Edith’s aware of the effect that the new cycleway scheme is likely to have on the ‘green nature’ of Queen Edith’s Way? I understand that the cycleway scheme there is still at ‘consultation stage’. Residents of Hills Road were also ‘consulted’ about the scheme but in our case the consultation process has proved to be completely flawed.

    In July 2014 Graham Hughes, Director of Transport for Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed to the Economy and Environment Committee that ‘most of the Hills Road verges would be retained’ (I have a letter to this effect). The statement still appears on the Council website. But residents of Hills Road have recently learned that this statement is not true. Much of the Hills Road green verges will in fact go. This was not made clear to those who attended the consultation day last November. The Language School on Hills Road has just re-instated the verges that were wrecked by contractors, which was written about on this web-site. It would appear that their newly planted green verges will have to go. I don’t suppose the Language School knew that, otherwise they would not have bothered to replace them.

    There is to be a new lighting scheme on Hills Road – street lights will need to be nearer houses because of the cycleway. Will this require further loss of greenery? It is not at all clear from the plans posted by Cambridge Lighting/Balfour Beatty where the new lights are to go. They cannot go in the cycleway. The lighting contractor Balfour Beatty will ‘work to the contract’. Will they be interested in our trees and hedges? They are allowed to cut back any that do not have TPOs.

    Hills Road residents have asked Amanda Taylor and Heidi Allen to follow this up. We have also written to Julian Huppert. It would help if you could also draw this to the attention of people who live in Queen Edith’s ward. Anyone who cares about the small green spaces and trees that make Cambridge so lovely needs to know what is happening. They should be informed of the potential loss of trees and verges that will need to take place anywhere the cycleway scheme is to be implemented. The cycleway scheme manager told us that trees and verges would need to be ‘moved’ or replaced on Queen Edith’s Way. He confirmed that the outward stretch of Huntingdon Road is also to lose trees and verges. He also mentioned that on Trumpington Road the retention of the grass bank under the Botanic Gardens on which the ducks from Hobson’s Conduit like to sit, had been under discussion – the bank was ‘a health and safety issue for the elderly’. It may be that this bank will be retained, but that is not certain.

    We believe that there has been a serious lack of ‘joined-up thinking’ about what makes Cambridge such a green and pleasant city to live in. Can we do something about this?

  4. Nobody wants to lose trees or greenery along roads, but equally, one of the things that makes cambridge a green and pleaseant place to live is high levels of cycling, and fewer motor vehicles (either moving or parked by roadside they reduce the pleasantness of the public realm).

    There are lots of people who currently don’t cycle because they find cycling in the road with the cars unpleasant and scary. The segregated lanes going in on Hills road are to make cycling more pleasant for these people as well as the ones that already cycle, and for pedestrians (by giving cyclist no reason to be using the pavement), and for buses and cars by leaving the carriageway clearer (when it’s not just a queue :-).

    There is room to do all this on Hills Road and still have some space for greenery. On QE road space is more more constrained, and there is not room to have lots of verge _and_ segragated space for everyone. So it comes down to whether you prefer ever-increasing congestion, noise, fumes and pedestrian/cycle conflict (with verges), or pedestrian/cycle/motor vehicle conflict removed, reduced traffic levels, greatly increased cycling levels, much better walking conditions, without verges.
    The road would probably end up looking something like the main photo on: http://www.makingspaceforcycling.org/
    Is that bad?

  5. I am a regular cyclist, but I think that if Hills Road ends up looking like the main photo in the link above it would be appalling. At least the link photo shows a grass verge alongside the pavement, but Hills Road will have no grass at all. Do we want all roads in Cambridge to look like Newmarket Road or most of London? Aren’t 3 cycle lanes along one stretch of road enough? And what is the point of spending all that money on a short bit of raised cycleway which has to end when the road narrows? The reason many people like to live in Cambridge is because of the green grass everywhere, and we should be given the chance to insist that it remains.

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