Pavement and Cycle Lane Proposals for Queen Edith’s Way

Last year the county council asked local people about walking and cycling on Queen Edith’s Way, and 67% of responders wanted improvements; during the past five years there have been 33 accidents along the road, 25 of which have involved a car and a cyclist. Today the council published alternative ways of implementing cycle lanes, including an idea which transplants the grass verge by the houses to separate the pavement and cycle lane. There’s also a plan for an innovative replacement layout for the Fendon Road/Queen Edith’s Way roundabout.

We can only hope that the council has learned big lessons from the seemingly never-ending Hills Road cycleway building project, and that Queen Edith’s Way – if it happens – will go much more smoothly. It also looks like for the Fendon Road roundabout, they’ve come up with something better than the awkward reprofiling of the roundabout on Perne Road. On this earlier project, the designers made the mistake of leaving enough pavement and verge all around the edge for people to park on, and of course that’s exactly what the idiots are doing, driving all over pavements and cycle paths to get to their precious parking spaces. More importantly, it’s tedious for cyclists to get around their separate outer path.

I’d urge anyone who lives on Queen Edith’s Way, or uses it regularly, to let the council have their thoughts on the proposals. The council is trying extremely hard to ensure that as many people as possible know about the project, and to give us the chance to have our say. This is not always the case with this sort of development, so it would be great to see them get a positive response for their efforts.

Things to do now

1. Read the council’s web page on the project, which gives a good summary of the plans;
2. Read the council’s leaflet about the project, if it comes through your door (or see copy below);
3. Visit one of the three exhibitions about the project, at Netherhall Sports Centre, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Concourse or St James? Church in Wulfstan Way; and
4. Read the coverage provided by our local County Councillor, Amanda Taylor.

What to do if you have any comments

1. Complete the online survey by the end of July;
2. Respond on paper – the form will be on the leaflet coming through your door (or see copy below);
3. Talk to the council officers at the exhibitions; or
4. Email the council officers here.

Finally, do feel free to forward this email to any friends, neighbours or families who live on, or frequently use, Queen Edith’s Way.

Here’s the official council leaflet (click to read):


31 Replies to “Pavement and Cycle Lane Proposals for Queen Edith’s Way”

  1. Just back from one of the consultation exhibitions on the proposed changes to Queen Edith’s Way. As somebody who lives, cycles and drives along Queen Edith’s Way I have huge reservations on this scheme from the Fendon Way roundabout to Cherry Hinton Road, from disadvantages that have not been properly explained to residents.

    First, all the cherry trees on the road will be cut down. The more expensive option 2 proposal shows some trees in a new verge, but these are not the current mature trees; these are replacement saplings that would have to be planted. Option 2 also features a major programme of hacking back the pleasant foliage that lines the street. So whether option 1 (no trees) or option 2 (new saplings, hacking back foliage) is chosen, the road will look very much less green and pleasant than is does now. It will be replaced by acres of tarmac of varying hues, with concrete constructions where the relocated bus stops will be. Altogether a very unsuitable industrial look for a residential road.

    Second, some of the safety benefits are illusory. Users of the new-look Hills Road may have noticed buses deviating into the cycle lanes in order to pass one another. But the main carriageway on Hills Road (6m) is 20% wider than the proposed carriageway width (5m) on Queen Edith’s Way. Buses and other large vehicles travelling in opposite directions are expected to pass in the cycle lanes, which is why they appear on the proposals as ADVISORY cycle lanes. A resident has already told me that she will not be cycling in them for that reason.

    Naturally the new streetlights will also have to be relocated.

    Part of the reason for these issues is that both designs include 2m wide pavements and 2m wide cycle lanes on both sides of the road, and there just isn’t sufficient width overall to accommodate these either with a sensible width of main carriageway or with the existing pleasant landscaping.

    So both the designs do not feel appropriate for the road. I think that the council needs to think again and come up with a more sympathetic scheme to the character of the road.

    1. It’s quite (if not entirely) Dutch in chracter. Their hierarchy, from study and from touring a good chunk of the country last week, is:
      1. Pedestrian and cycle space- which of these is more important based on the expected volumes. With the schools plenty of pedestrian space is required.
      2. Space for motor traffic
      3. Landscaping

      most of the street (east of Fendon road) is about 16m wide, tapering down to 14m- though there will be boundary disputes where it is pretty clear that residents have encroached onto the highway land.

      The street, like many in Cambridge, already has suffered massive loss of green space. The vast majority of front gardens have been paved or gravelled over. This no doubt involved the loss of not just lawns but trees. The verge along much of it is permanently wrecked, not a lush green space but a dirty, muddy, car park.

      The trees proposed to be removed are young and not in great condition The good cherry trees are in gardens that have not been entirely given over to car parking.

      Having said that, the dutch approach would probably go much further. They would probably shut Queen Edith’s Way (and Wulfstan Way) to through motor traffic other than the bus services. They would direct traffic down Cherry Hinton Road and a new eastern outer ring road. But I suspect these measures would be even less popular. But I genuinely think this is about the best that, with the budget constraints and political will, can be delivered here.

      1. Of course you could go much further. You could make the street a shared use play street, closed to all traffic except for access including buses. Then narrow the carriageway and introduce fresh garden features. That would work for me. Is it really feasible to expect all traffic to go round though? I’m not sure there’s capacity on Cherry Hinton Road and Mowbray Road – the roundabout by Budgens is an obvious constraint.

        One of the problems I see with the options offered is that the cycle lanes plus the main carriageway is much wider than the existing carriageway. There will be some visual separation to the cycle lanes, but I wonder if this increased openness may encourage faster, not slower driving.

        I also agree that some of the grass verges are in a poor state due to parking. However, I think that grass predominates overall, and it looks very nice. This view shows the point, for example:
        Note the tree on the right hand side of the image.
        This image is early in the year, so things look even better at other times.

        The solution to the poor state of some verges should not be to remove them, but to think about how to improve them. Community action would help here – I’m sure that most of us want to live in a pleasant environment. Many people already take some pride – my neighbours’ lovely display of daffodils and other seasonal plants in one of verges to be removed is an obvious example.

        When you say that the trees are in poor condition, I wonder if we talking about the same trees. They appear in excellent condition to me, and one of the highlights of the year of living on or near Queen Edith’s Way is the wonderful blossom in the spring, which most residents that I’ve spoken to are very fond of. Has anyone got a photograph?

        Here is a link to another tree that appears to be thriving:
        There are lots more examples of these.

        While these trees are still relatively young, the solution to this is to leave them to grow old, not to cut them down and replace them with even younger trees!

        Another resident made the point that for much of the day, Queen Edith’s Way is relatively quiet, and there are few issues. The scheme feels excessive for the issues that it is trying to address.

  2. Excellent thoughts, and thank you. I look forward to seeing one of the exhibitions myself and will bear your points in mind; I hope others do too. Let us know what you all think here!

  3. Although “67% of responders wanted improvements”, I read somewhere that only about 7% of the residents polled responded, so perhaps the argument for these changes is not as strong as it first appears. I think we should be reluctant to a major redesign in what is, most of the time, a quiet and simple road to cycle along.

    I’ve been riding this road daily from Beaumont Road to the Fendon Road roundabout for the past 20 odd years. IMO there are three problems at the moment:
    1 – speeding cars and little obvious policing of the 30mph limit (all day)
    2 – stationary traffic queuing on QE Way at Fendon Road roundabout (rush hour only)
    3 – cyclist riding on the footpaths in conflict with pedestrians, emerging vehicles and side roads.

    To solve 1, more obvious speed policing measure (speed cameras?) are required. (Simply making it 20mph won’t help!) It would also encourage more people to ride in the road rather than the footpath, where they are actually safer.

    To solve 2, I guess the council’s proposals to filter cyclists around queuing traffic isn’t bad–but I would be sad to see the cherry trees demolished; as other have said, they are well established, and glorious in the spring.

    To solve 3, both options looks good.

    I prefer option 2 (new grass verge and trees) because it maintains lots of green, but I fear that the expense and legal wranglings over cutting back all the vegetation and encroachments, will prevent it being adopted.

    Finally, it would be nice to incorporate the established trees into Option 2.

    The council gardening team don’t help us preserve the existing verges by their policy of spraying wide swathes of weedkiller around everything sticking up in the verges (so that their mowers can cut the rest). Look at the Google Maps links provided above!

  4. Just back from the event at St James Church. I was surprised to learn that the carriageway will not be wide enough for two buses, coming in opposite directions, to pass. One, or both, will have to use part of the cycle lane. Also using the cycke lane will be any delivery vans or builders lorries as the double yellow lines will have no ‘time limit’. The officer at the event confirmed that they are ‘expecting’ this type of parking.. This apparently is, or will be, the case on Hils Rd.

    The whole thing seems expensive overkill( Option 2 is hardly mentioned) for a wide road which is quite nice to cycle along currently, even during the very limited busy times for traffic. I be,ieve that the ‘shared use’ cycke lanes, if they go ahead, will not be pleasant to cycle in.

    The whole emphasis is about cycling. Nothing about making life easier for pedestrians or residents. The resulting traffic buildup ( a d slowing down of buses) is also seen as insignificant.

    1. Dara,

      I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. You’re right that vehicles on Hills Road swing into the cycle lanes – you see it particularly with buses passing each other – but the effect will be much worse on Queen Edith’s Way because the main carriageway on Hills Road is 20% wider than the carriageway in either option proposed for Queen Edith’s Way. My daughter is just 9; I’m happy for her to cycle along the footpath where she is away from the traffic, but I do not think that she or I will be happy with cycling in the new ‘advisory’ cycle lanes where she could be scooped up at any moment by a passing double-decker bus.

      DavidG made a good point about cars entering and leaving driveways; my daughter is well-briefed on this risk and in practice it is very rarely an issue.

      DavidG also made a good point about wanting the existing trees incorporated into the plan. A glance at both of the current options show why this is not possible: in both cases the cycle lane occupies precisely the line of the verge with the existing trees.

      All this shows that there isn’t the overall width required to properly implement the scheme, but the council are determined to force it on us anyway. The reduced width means that it cannot offer the same benefit as wider roads such as Hills Road, and perhaps even the section of Queen Edith’s Way to the west of the roundabout. And the cost is much greater since we will lose the pleasant residential character of the street and the many nice trees.

      There is also much more loss of verge than is revealed in the images provided by the council. You have to look at the technical drawings on the website ( to see the true scale of the vandalism proposed. For example, my neighbours were dismayed when I revealed to them that the roadside verge outside their house was to become a concrete island bus stop, the pavement was to become the cycle path, and the new pavement would be in what is now the hedge bordering their garden. And that’s the supposedly garden-friendly option 1! Option 2 is worse. Of course nobody in the council has discussed this huge change with them. The officer at the event I attended made some rather telling remarks which revealed that they started with a budget and looked for a problem to solve with it. The mindset is all about looking for ways to spend our money rather than ways to save it.

      We must all spread the word on this inappropriate scheme and encourage other residents to register the concerns during the consultation period this month e.g. at The sooner the council realise that these designs are simply not right for this road, the better.

      1. MLJ,
        Nicely put.
        I do think that the County Council first decided on putting in dedicated cycle lanes, then decided what the benefits might be, and then thought about how to implement the plan,. They seem to think that ‘better’ cycle lanes on QEW will go some way towards solving the transport issues which will be caused by the growth of Addenbrookes. This is their main midunderstanding because QEW is already fine for adult, confident cyclists.

        We could make life easier for younger cyclists, less confident cyclists and pedestrians by simply improving the footpath all along QEW, even removing SOME of the green verge ( up to the middle where the trees are, say? ) and thus widening the footpath/shared cycle path. No need to move any lamposts ot telegraph poles, and who knows, perhaps saving ?2.5 of the ?3 milion pound estimated cost?

        I have written to my 3 local councillors with this suggestion. Awaiting replies.

      2. Hi Dara,

        Your suggestion of improving the existing pavement is an excellent one. It seems to be the obvious solution to a few people (some people at the consultation event and us). I particularly like the point that you make about confident cyclists and less confident cyclists being segregated – this can be important for both groups. My daughter was nearly mown down by some cyclists on the busway cycle path once. I don’t blame either group – it’s just that a young child wobbling about the lane doesn’t mix very well with an adult on their racing machine trying to get to work at a pace.

        The confident group is, as you say, already well catered for on Queen Edith’s Way, especially if you hold the view that the 20 mph limit helps (I think it’s marginal). My daughter would be better served by an improved pavement, at a fraction of the cost, disruption and loss of amenity.

        Incidentally, did you notice that the picture on the cover of the leaflet shows the only moment where you get more than a couple of people on the whole street: outside Netherhall School gates at the end of the school day. Even that dissipates in about 5 mins. Such a blatant attempt to be misleading!

  5. I use QEW daily to cycle to work. Like other posters I like the way it looks, with quite a lot of green, and I agree that for two weeks a year the cherry trees look marvellous. However I don’t agree with the idea that there is no problem to solve. Almost half the people cycling use the rather lumpy pavements, the other half use the much smoother road, but it’s not a pleasant experience because the 6m carriageway means that people in cars cannot pass until there is an oncoming gap. There is enough traffic that being followed, and quite often too-closely overtaken, is common.

    Essentially the cycling experience is poor. There is no particular place to be, so people are half using the car lane and half using the pedestrian space. Many people drive from Cherry Hinton to Addenbrookes because they don’t feel safe to cycle down here (nor through the Robin hood junction). Only about 18% of the traffic down here is bikes, when it should be more like 40-50% on a 20mph local feeder road like this. Conditions need to be improved to get more of those people to switch from car to bike, and the consultation responses supported that strongly.

    The major advantage of the scheme is that a designated place to cycle in is provided, which is what is needed to make it both convenient and feel safe. And this is what ~70% of the respondents to the survey said they wanted. I don’t think worrying about the 7% response rate is very significant – that’s absolutely normal for this sort of consultation. Just because 90% of people are busy doesn’t make the results unrepresentative.

    The existing highway is 16m wide between fences most of the way along, and significantly wider in parts (we measured it) . Leaving the existing 6m carriageway and taking 2m+2m each side for footway plus cycletrack, leaves 2m for verge – that’s 1m either side. Taking the council’s proposed 5m carriageway gives 1,5m either side, which is pretty much what the current roadside verge is.

    I do think that the proposed 5m carriageway+ 2m advisory lanes is a poor compromise. It is not actual segregation, which is what makes Dutch cycling facilities so nice, and what gets non-cyclists out of their cars. The Dutch would have road, verge, cycleway, footway, and laying it out that way would leave the character much more like it is now, with the trees and grass next to the road. It would also be _much_ cheaper as you don’t have to move the kerbs along the whole length (although ideally it would be 6m, not the current 6.2m, but that extra 20cm of grass is probably not worth the expense in this case). This would need hedges cutting back to get the footway next to the highway edge, but I think that’s worthwhile to preserve the verge+trees look, and to provide proper segregation between motor vehicles and cycles (as pedestrians currently have). In the wider sections there will still be some greenery between footway and hedge/fence on the north side.

    The 5m carriageway+red advisory lanes will necessarily involve buses and lorries encroaching on the cycle lanes, because buses need 3m each to pass. The buses are 6/hr each way daytime, 2/hr each way after 8pm, and all Sunday. I’m not sure how much of a problem this will be in practice. It works terribly on the lower end of Cherry Hinton Rd, for example.

    However it will overall be 9m, which is nearly 1.5m wider per side than it is now, and it is now a 20mph road which should help. But as someone said, even with red lanes this may well look like a wider, faster road, which is why I think keeping the existing 6.2m carriageway, and properly segregating the cycle lanes with a kerb and verge is the way to provide decent facilities but keep the road looking the same width and similar character to how it is now. Unfortunately we have not been given this option, just two almost identical variants of the 5m carriageway concept.

    I do think that it’s very short-term thinking to decide that you can never make cycling a first-class option (i.e with its own space) if there are any trees. These trees are small and quite young, and putting in some new ones (or moving these) will look just the same within 5-10 years. That’s as nothing compared to the huge problems of traffic, obesity and climate change, all of which are addressed by making cycling a genuinely attractive option, not an afterthought with nowhere to be.

  6. With M L-J I have today been distributing along parts of Queen Edith’s Way a note encouraging local residents to indicate to the Council their opposition to both of the options offered to us in the recent consultation. Our arguments echo a number of those posted on this site. The text of the note reads as follows:

    A number of local residents are unhappy with both of the options put forward and want to ask the Council to think again or to leave things as they are with minor improvements to the pathway. (We note that with the introduction of a 20 mile an hour limit confident cyclists have in any case a preference for riding on the road.) There are a number of grounds for this opposition to the proposals (which affect different households in different ways) but the main reasons we offer are:

    (i) Both schemes involve a loss of grassy verges, cutting down 58 cherry trees and, in one case the savage up-rooting or cutting back of hedgerows and other planting ? and their replacement by a 13 metre width of tarmac (option 1). Apart from the environmental impact, this will change drastically the green and residential character of Queen Ediths Way and turn it into simply a traffic thoroughfare.

    (ii) The plans provide for an even narrower road for cars (5 metres) than the one we have at the moment ? narrower than Hills Road (6 metres). It is acknowledged by the Council that the narrowness of the road will mean that when wide vehicles meet they will need to pass by driving onto the cycle way, making the cycle way less well protected from traffic than the existing one.

    In short, the benefits offered by either of the options we have been offered are minimal compared with the disadvantages and will in any case come at enormous cost. Using Hills Road as a guide, we would expect about 2 years of disruption, including the relocation of the recently installed streetlights.

    You can of course submit your views on the consultation document that the Council has issued, though this does not offer as a clear option 3 which is the rejection of both schemes. This needs to be submitted by August 1st. But if you would like to join other local residents in making your objection please complete this form and return it to 97 Queen Edith’s Way CB1 8PL by Thursday 28th July at the latest. Please encourage all members of your household to sign ? and encourage as many of your neighbours as possible to do the same!

    1. My reply to the consultation – hope the road-marking reference could be useful.

      With the 20mph speed limits in place, there is no need to make alterations on Queen Edith’s Way between Fendon Road roundabout and Cherry Hinton Road. Cyclists can use the road or pavements – and the lack of road markings remains a proven positive (see this for example).

      In summary – you could consider some extra signs to remind people that they can cycle on the existing pathways if they prefer (and to be considerate to other users esp. pedestrians), but overall please save some money and leave Queen Edith’s Way as it is… it’s best for everyone. Thanks.

  7. Learn from the disastrous mistakes made in Hills Road. Uglification at its worst and less safe cycle ways than before. I have had to give up cycling as I no longer feel safe. Farcical attempts at ‘greening’ with roof sedum that promptly died. Anyone with any knowledge of plants could have told the council. A farce even if it had not cost anything, with 18 months disruption. Getting off the bus and stepping into the cycle way is just another accident waiting to happen. Leave Queen Edith’s Way as it is.
    – Hills Road resident.

    1. Cambridge Evening News is going to be covering the dispute – and would like to photograph some residents who are objecting to the proposals in the road. If you can spare the time, meet outside 97 Queen Ediths Way at 3.30 tomorrow, Tuesday 26th July.

      And please can all those who have received a flier/petition and who wish to support opposition to both options put forward by the council, return their signed sheet to 97 Queen Ediths Way by Thursday 28th. Thank you!

    2. Thank you Rosamund! Maybe at some point, if the story is covered in the Cambridge News, you might find time to copy these comments to the letters page?

  8. David said:
    “With M L-J I have today been distributing along parts of Queen Edith’s Way a note encouraging local residents to indicate to the Council their opposition to both of the options offered to us in the recent consultation”.

    It would have been good to have talked to the cycle campaign before doing this. They too are not happy with the proposed options 1 and 2, and ask for an option3, but it is not ‘do nothing’ as you support. It is for a properly segregated cycleway alongside the footway, with a verge separating both those from a 5m carriageway – more or less as I described in my response above. This gives proper segregation of people cycling from motor vehicles, and also from pedestrians, but also retains the verge.,C21ru_,T10___,G25_u_,G25_d_,T10___,C21rd_,F20r__

    If both residents and Camcycle could agree to support one option I think we’d be a lot more likely to get what we ask for. If the two groups are both asking for different ‘option 3’s we’ll probably just get the existing plan.

    I also think it’s hopelessly emotive to describe the removal of vegetation growing beyond people’s gardens into the highway as “savage”. The highway is not actually for people to extend their gardens into – it’s supposed to be a highway. It’s quite hypocritical to complain about reduced greenery in the highway, if they’ve reduced a great deal of their own greenery to make a car park, as very many QEW properties have done.

    We all agree that greenery is nice, but most of that along the road is not the narrow grass verge and small cherry trees – it’s the mature gardens either side. Look at the pic at the top of this article – the overall impression is still very green. I think it’s entirely possible to have good cycle lanes and still retain a very pleasant streetscape. We should try and work out how to do that, not just be NIMBY objectors.

    One thing I am interested in. How did those who are now objecting answer the original consultation-in-principle? Did you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to ‘cycle lanes, even if it means a reduction in verge widths, with relocated trees’? Have you changed your minds on seeing the actual details, or did you always object to this on principle?

    1. Hello Wookey,

      Some interesting and thoughtful points, thanks.

      I am also a cyclist. We have a few bikes, including a tandem which we bought primarily to take our daughter to school when she was small. She has recently started to use her own bike now that she is old enough. So I am certainly not saying that cycle lanes are bad in themselves.

      But you cannot take favouring cycle lanes in isolation. A balance has to be struck. We are not talking merely about a ‘reduction in verge widths’, which many residents have said that they would tolerate, particularly on the pavement side, but the total removal of verges with the associated trees.

      I note your concerns about options 1 & 2 from a cycling point of view, which I share. The thought of my daughter using one of these proposed lanes when she could be scooped up at any moment by a passing bus fills me with fear.

      There is no option 3 on the table at the moment; the only way that we can get an option 3 is by rejecting options 1 & 2. Please note my closing remark in my opening post above: “I think that the council needs to think again and come up with a more sympathetic scheme to the character of the road.” My fear is that the consultation has been framed deliberately as a closed question, and that residents may feel that they are obliged to vote for the least bad alternative in case they end up with the worse one. As such, it is biased towards accepting one of the variants presented and away from either the status quo or a third option. It is a shame that lessons appear not to have been learned from recent complaint that was upheld against the process of another consultation in the city.

      So actually I think that we should be on the same side for different reasons. Let’s reject the current proposals as a bodge that satisfies nobody’s needs, and then get together for a proper think to see if we can strike a better balance.

      1. Yes, MLJ, I agree entirely! Neither of the current options is satisfactory (or in my view a significant improvement on what we have at the moment) but all we can do in the consultation is reject both. It needs further constructive discussion that includes local residents (who were not invited to the initial planning meeting)

  9. . I should explain, however that those residents whop have been challenging the two options offered by the Council is not a group; it has no organisational infrastructure; and neither of the people who drafted the petition has any involvement in local politics. Nor have we previously heard or seen anything about Cancycle, though it sounds as if it would be good for Camcycle to engage with local residents to look for a third way, if it is not already too late. (One councillor referred to the options as ‘a done deal’).
    I agree that a verge provides importantprotection and am in favour of retaining as much as possible. Ideally one would have a clear separation between pedestrians, and cyclists and cars etc, but clearly there is no space for this. The rationale I have heard for having the cycleway immediately next to the road is that this will allow space for wide vehicles to move into when they meet on the roadway, which will otherwise be too narrow. I do not imagine that cyclists will be very thrilled at this prospect — and it would certainly not pass the test put forward by one of our neighbours:’Would I allow my nine year old to use this cycleway to cycle to school by herself?

    It is facile to accuse people who are concerned about the environment in which they live and move every day of Nimbyism. Over the last year some 27 residents’ associations have sprung up all over Cambridge — all Nimbyists perhaps — or perhaps a measure of the failure of those drawing up more grandiose schemes to take account of their impact on the people who have to live with the consequences on a daily basis, as distinct from those who wish to pass through the area as quickly as they possibly can

  10. The County Council envisage, with good reason, that there will be a substantial increase in traffic along Queen Ediths Way in the near future. They wish as much of that increased traffic as possible to be cycle traffic, again with good reason. Cycle traffic is best encouraged by providing smooth, well-maintained, cycle paths, alongside the road so that cars entering from side roads have to give way to cyclists. Cyclists will then chose to use those paths instead of the pavement (having to give way at side roads) or the carriageway (the edge of which tends to be rough and poorly maintained). Hence Options 1 and 2.

    I can appreciate that people living on Queen Ediths Way regret the changes that are proposed, but do they really want the increase in traffic to be all motorised?

    1. Actually, Donald, the council is quite keen to limit traffic growth on the section of Queen Ediths Way between Fendon Way and Cherry Hinton Road. They rightly regard Queen Edith’s Way as a residential street, and prefer through traffic to use alternative routes. This is part of the justification for introducing the 20 mph limit and being able to get away with a reduced width main carriageway (option 1 and 2). However this scheme would open up the route visually and actually make it more free-flowing for motorised traffic, which is expected to have the use of the extra total width, including the ‘advisory cycle lanes’. As it stands, the current proposal variants are much more likely to draw in additional motorised traffic rather than cycles, and so are counter-productive.

      I think that it’s important to consider much more carefully what any changes are trying to achieve, and design a scheme that does that. A scheme that is similar to an arterial route such as the current proposal may not be appropriate. A scheme that limited motorised traffic would be much more likely to attract cyclists.

      1. Perhaps we should be making all these excellent points to the Transport chiefs at Cambs CC, and to all our local councillors who, the transport officers say, are behind the scheme?

  11. I wonder why the cycle tracks are in ugly red, could they be pleasant green colour. If QE W is cycle patched will Long Road be next? Or indeed any of the main arterial roads in Cambridge.

    It all appears a sledgehammer to crack a nut

    1. Red is what the Dutch use.

      But for a more technical answer, the red asphalt is made using naturally red rock with a red binder. using coloured asphalt is vastly superior to paint. The red won’t fade.

      Green asphalt is only available as a dyed product. The colour would fade rapidly and look tatty.

      With red cycle ways already built in the city it is a good idea to be consistent in colouring.

        1. The red colouring does fade, I suppose from use

          In some place around the city dyed-red cyclelane surfacing products (and painted-on surfacing) have been used as well as the actual red ashphalt used on (for example) Hills Rd. So if you have seen faded example they may have been dyed, or be a surface coating that has worn off? The road surface does get dirtied and UV-discoloured over time, so even the red tarmac fades somewhat, as even does black tarmac (to grey).

          Nevertherless, this red tarmac is the most durable option, and so far as I know the council tries very hard not to use the surface-applied stuff anymore, because it’s lumpy and doesn’t last long.

  12. So, I’ve thought some more about this, and it seems to me that if you accept the need for a decent cycleway, then actually the Council’s scheme is the one that provides the widest remaining verge, because it minimises the width of carriageway+cycleway. On that basis, whilst it is a long way from perfect, I actually think it’s the least-bad solution. Here is my reasoning:

    There is going to be large employment growth at both ends of QEW (Biomedical Campus and ARM). That will bring a load more traffic. If the cycling arrangements are not greatly improved, then most of that growth is likely to be private cars. We all agree that preserving the green and residential character as much as possible is important. That is the reason why just leaving it as-is isn’t going to work – it”ll just become very full of cars and thus noisy congested and unpleasant. The more people are cycling and walking the nicer it will be, and the more reliable the buses.

    The road is 16.5m wide at the roundabout end, 15.5m wide as far as Netherhall 14.5m wide to Greystoke Rd, and only 14m for the last 80m to the traffic lights. Trees cannot be closer than 0.6m to the main carriageway as they will be truncated by passing buses.

    5m carriageway with 2m cycle lanes and 2m footways takes 13m, leaving 3.5m for verge at the wide end, and 1.5m at the narrow end. Trees can be close to this because vehicles will not be going right to the edge. Buses need 5.5m to pass each other (Bus is 2.55m wide+0.4m clearance). That leaves a solid 1.5m of cyclelane which should not be encroached-upon, so it should actually work quite well. The floating-bus-stop alignment will help keep vehicles in-lane.

    To have segregated lanes the carriageway would need to be 6m – i.e with an overall width 1m wider: 14m. That leaves only 2.5m for verge at the wide end and 0.5m at the narrow end. 0.5m (0.25 each side) is not enough to put trees in, so there would be none beyond Netherhall, unless they encroached into the footway (possibly OK with 2m footways?).

    1.8m footways (still acceptable, especially as no longer shared with bikes) at least at the narrow end, would give and extra 0.4m of verge. getting us back to 1m at the narrow end. Just enough for trees, but not if the verge is next to the road.

    Taking the council’s 5+2+2 scheme, and narrowing footways to 1.8m at the narrower end gives 3.5m for verge at wide end, and 2m at the narrow end. That is enough for a reasonable verge (between 1.7m and 1m each side – i.e. much as it is now, between carriageway and footway all the way along. I reckon that’s the best compromise of road wide enough for buses, decent cycle provision, verge+trees more or less as now, and decently wide footway, (no longer full of bicycles).

    Everything else gives either much-reduced verge or terrible cycle provision, leading to much increased traffic.

    Happy to discuss the details of all this further. There is an interesting question about to what degree the ‘green streetscape’ is provided by a) the grass verge+small trees, b) people’s hedges and c) matures trees and shrubs inside people’s property lines. Above I have concentrated on a) as much has been made of the cherry trees. I actually think that c) is the most important and that will not change, whatever scheme is implemented. But there is some trade-off between a) and b). More of one tends to mean less of the other. Especially the segment past Netherhall which currently has a lot of smaller trees and shrubbery as the edge of h highway boundary (not on the verge). That is the section that would be most affected by cutting back the highway edge to the actual edge. Mature trees would remain, and you’d be able to see the playing fields. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing? Or maybe it’d be better to keep that bit and lose the verge for 200m instead?

    So, those are my thoughts after much deliberation. If people haven’t responded yet – maybe that will help.

  13. This was my (personal) comment on the consultation:

    It does not increase safety to have people cycling right next to a 2.5m motor vehicle lane. HGVs and buses (up to 2.6m* wide, excluding mirrors) will regularly encroach into the cycle lane, making it intimidating and dangerous for young and unconfident cyclists.

    (*2.55m, except for refrigerated HGVs:

    Segregation of cycle lanes is essential if we are to encourage people who do not currently cycle to start doing so. A separation strip between the carriageway and cycle lane means:

    1) People cycling are safer.
    2) Pedestrians can cross the road more safely in stages – particularly an issue when the cycle lanes and carriageway are busy.
    3) Cycle lanes do not need to be as wide (as the separation strip provides a buffer zone from motor traffic and a handlebar overhang space when cyclists are overtaking each other). 1.5m is sufficient in these circumstances (and commonplace in Amsterdam).

    We should also review the footway width. A 2m footway is deemd to be necessary for two wheelchair users to pass. A wheelchair is typically up to about 700mm wide. The minimum width for a wheelchair-accessible doorway is 32in (813mm). Therefore 1.6m is sufficient for two wheelchair users to pass without scraping knuckles.

    Adding this all together and we have:
    (1.6m footway + 1.5m cycle lane + (0.5m separation strip min) + 3m carriageway) x 2 = 13.2m

    This compares with 15.5m available on most of Queen Edith’s Way and 17m at the Hills Road end.

    That still leaves at least 2.3m available, which can be allocated as appropriate to verge, a wider separation strip, or greater width for the carriageway, cycle lane or footway at points where this is appropriate (junctions, crossings, bus stops, busy sections, etc.)

    Given the problem of having trees adjacent to the carriageway, it makes most sense to allocate the space to a wide verge or separation strip between the cycle lane and footway. These can then be planted with trees.

    There is absolutely no need for a consistent or symmetric cross-section of the highway. Indeed there should be variations in the road alignment and width to adapt to local requirements, discourage speeding, and add interest.

    1. Without checking the measurements you mention, it seems a very sensible suggestion to look again at the exact measurements proposed for pavemeny, cycle path and road, and also not to have a one size fits all for the whole length of the road.
      Two comments though.
      I have never seen a single wheelchair user on QEW, let alone two at the same time. It’s a very long road, and a wheelchair user woukd have to be very fit to be travelling anywhere other than to the nearest bus stop.
      Secondly, I question the assertion( perticularly from the transport officials) that a dedicated cycle way will encourage many more cyclists to use QEW.
      Where are they going to be travelling from, and to? Schoolkids at Netherhall and families going to the two local primary schools already use the safe dual pavement/cycle path. The propose extra thousands of commuters at Addenbrookes woukd have to live in Cherry Hinton or Fulbourn to be within cycling distance along a QEW cycle route.

      The County Council plans for QEW really don’t stand up to logic.

  14. I was just about to write something quite a lot like Edward has written, having seen discussion elsewhere. I am not convinced about 1.5m cycle lanes – that is the width behind the bus-stops on Hills Rd, and with the posts there is definitely too narrow too pass another cyclist. If there is genuinely no obstruction within 0.3m on _both_ sides then it can work, but it does imply sharing the pedestrian space to some degree. 1.8m would remove this conflict entirely.

    1.6m footway, 1.8m cycleway, verge, 3m carriageway, results in 12.8m of tarmac, which is slightly narrower than the councils option 1 and 2 proposals (13m), whilst also providing proper segregation throughout, with between 1.9m and 0.9m of verge either side, which means this is (just) room for small trees like the existing ones all the way to Greystoke Rd.

    So that’s swapping narrower footway and cycleway for full segregation (and the carriagway being essentially the same as it is now). Has anyone checked the current footway width? I guess it’s around 1.6m.

    This would still involve some reduction in verge and/or hedge, but a little less than the existing proposal, and would produce a properly-safe cycling option that everyone should be happy with, and pedestrians get the same as they do now, but no longer full of cycles. motor-vehicle users and buses get the same width as now, but again with the cycles removed.

  15. First, I’d just like to say that the quality of this debate is high – lots of genuinely thoughtful ideas, with none of the unpleasant vitriol seen elsewhere on the internet. All contributors seem well-intentioned, and I for one am very grateful for that.

    A couple of quick points:

    1) Wookey says buses need 5.5 m to pass. Unfortunately I’ve seen evidence with my own eyes that contradicts this – buses on Hills Road regularly go into the cycle lane, particularly when one is at one of the new bus stops. I’m not the only one to have noticed this either. The main carriageway on Hills Road is 6m. So I fear that the cycle lane encroachment would be much worse on Queen Edith’s Way with either of the current proposals – more than 1 m based on the Hills Road experience.

    2) All of these variants proposed by Wookey, Edward Leigh and others are different to options 1 and 2. If we want an option 3, then we must reject options 1 and 2 first. Then we can have a proper exercise to discuss the way forwards.

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