Thursday, 7 September 2017
So the new Eddington development is opening in West Cambridge. We had a chance to look around a couple of weeks back. It was still a bit closed off but there was a cycle route through.
It is great that there will be new cycle routes, completely separated from roads into town (through the Cambridge farm site?) and to the north west. And it's great to have a place where everything is so close. People are encouraged to make small trips and it looks distinctly difficult to do by car.
Whilst good work has been done to secure off-road space for people riding, it is quite compromised in places, and quite confusing in others. And that makes all the difference. Routes are only as good as their weakest point.
Here's the map of the site [PDF], which does look good, bar one striking point (below). The map descriptions look like they've done the right things.
However, when actually riding it on the ground, several issues appear that are completely different to the map.
1. "Shared Pedestrian/Cycle Network". This is really not clear at all. Surface separated (by a thin kerb) and marked as separated. Some signs say different, some a few metres away confirm the surface layout. People will see it as the surface is laid out, segregated, it's a much stronger indicator.
2. The resulting segregated areas are narrow. Even if the whole space were shared, it's still narrow, but not by much. Even if the space is legally defined as shared, it's still not going to be the way people see it, creating conflict between walking and riding.
3. It doesn't come out to the road fully at Huntingdon Road, there are clear signs prohibiting riding, differing from the map's diagram.
4. It doesn't have priority of side roads (like Five Acres), differing from the map's diagram.
5. The long straight roads encourage speeding, even if narrow in places. This is something that seems completely at odds with other new developments.
6. This is a through route for people in cars. If I were commuting from North of Cambridge, I've suddenly got a route that takes me to the Madingley Road Park and Ride. The queuing traffic for this place from the south is pretty bad. Isn't this going to create another queue form the north?
Huntingdon Road: surface arrows suggests people should cycle onto the pavement here
Huntingdon Road: signs (other side!) says you can't cycle on the pavement here
No side road priority next to Eddington Avenue
Segregated sign on Turing Way, not shared use space
Two different signs close to each other saying different things
So, why haven't we learnt from previous developments on these issues. It's not like we don't have great examples not very far away.
Just half a mile south of here, on the West Cambridge cyclepath (to Coton), there's a great peice of Pedestrian/Cycle infrastructure. A large kerb, clearly defined space for people walking and riding. And, the really silly things is that it's only a little bit wider than the space given in Eddington.
I work around quite a lot, and see lots of different infrastructure in new developments. Every other new development I've been to recently (Cambourne, Hargate, Red Lodge, and more) have roads that change direction at least every 100 metres. Every time I drive there 20mph seems fast. So that's the speed I don't even want to exceed. We know that long straight roads means motor vehicle speed increases, making it awkward for everyone else to negotiate crossing or joining them.
Saturday, 1 July 2017
As planned, the June ride this year was to The Blue Ball in Granchester looking at a couple of sites along the way. And yes, I've spelt it deliberately like that.
And here's the video of the route!
##CamRideHome Does Cambridge North on 30.06.2017 (Go HD see * below)
0:12 Start up Laundress Lane
0:33 Through a poorly placed No Entry sign to get to two-way cyclepath
0:52 Onto Sheeps Green
1:03 Progress temporarily halted by boggy bit
1:16 The newly rejuvenated "The Rush" stream
2:27 Simon goes for a paddle which interests the locals
2:57 Back onto Fen Causeway shared-use path
3:15 Onto Trumpington Road shared-use path, lane opposite not yet finished
3:25 Floating bus stop still being built
3:45 Onto cyclelane from new crossing place
4:00 Up ramp to shared-use path, is it all the way?
4:22 A little known shared-use path to St Faith's School
4:52 Over and up Lathams Lane
5:25 Back onto the Coe Fen
5:52 Brief rain coat stop
6:19 Simon's bike decides to stop
7:25 Turning over the field to The Blue Ball
So we spotted a No Entry sign that's to stop people cycling and driving the wrong way down Malting Lane. However, it also covers the entrance to the two-way shared-use path along Church Rate Walk.
The first main site was on Sheeps Green. In March they renewed The Rush water course by adding in rocks and building the banks with logs and hazel. It looks like it really does rejuvenate the stream, and I spotted an Egret at the bottom pool. I do find it a little incongruous to have rocks in a stream in a flat, fen area, but it does make the stream work.
UPDATE: More video here.
The second site is the new cyclepath along the east side of Trumpington Road. This change gets rid of the awful doorzone cyclelane and connects to the Brooklands Avenue cyclepath enabling loads of local school kids to avoid the busy main road entirely. Here's Mike Davies talking about the scheme.
We do note that the west side of the road still needs completing as they intend to widen the offroad route. Also, the floating bus stop area isn't yet complete, that should improve it even more. Let's see how the end of Bateman Street works, with loads of school traffic coming out in busy times. It's good to see that they have already removed the railings on the west side shared-use path, there's now a lot more space.
At the end of these sights of sites we'll take a leisurely ride across Granchester Meadows to the delightful little independent Blue Ball pub with it's excellent atmosphere and great beers. Simon's bike decided to give us a little fun as we almost get onto Grantchester Meadows. And we were shamed that none of us were carrying spanners!
* How to go HD.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
So for the June ride this year we are making our way to The Blue Ball in Granchester seeing the sites along the way. And yes, I've spelt it deliberately like that.
UPDATE: Video and story here.
The first site at The Rush on Sheeps Green where in March they renewed the water course by adding in rocks and building the banks with hazel. I remember seeing the work taking place and thought it well worth a look to see how this improves the widllife habitat [PDF].
The second site is the new cyclepath along the east side of Trumpington Road. This change gets rid of the awful doorzone cyclelane and connects to the Brooklands Avenue cyclepath enabling loads of local school kids to avoid the busy main road entirely. Here's Mike Davies talking about the scheme. We can note that the west side of the road still needs completing as they intend to widen the offroad route.
At the end of these sights of sites we'll take a leisurely ride across Granchester Meadows to the delightful little independent Blue Ball pub with it's excellent atmosphere and great beers.
Monday, 29 May 2017
For the Bank Holiday weekend, #CamRideHome explored the new North Cambridge station, the supporting cycle infra, and some useful links in the locality.
And here's the video of the route, with pictures along the way!
##CamRideHome Does Cambridge North on 26.05.2017 (Go HD see * below)
0:12 Setting off
0:22 Small child behind parent (wrong way round!)
0:47 Park Terrace cycleroute
1:08 Turning down Mud Lane to wiggle through to the Grafton
1:47 Heading across Midsummer Common and up the river
2:25 Past a busy Thirsty bar
2:58 Using new Water Street cyclepath and river path to get down Fen Road
3:30 Turning into Moss Bank and through to the new connection to the station
3:46 The station and cycle parking appears, some desire lines are going to take riders wrong here
3:55 Up the Guided Busway cyclepath, with connections to the left
4:25 Down into the underpass to get round, this may change
4:41 Turning down the Cowley Road cyclepath, without any connections to the businesses here, sigh
5:19 Back to the station
5:39 Second time through, taking the link to Nuffield Road
5:44 Turning down Discovery Way to go through Bramblefields Nature Reserve
6:08 Heading along Bourne Road and a cut through to Anglers Way
6:23 A missed cycle cut through to Franks Lane
6:35 A brief stop to look at the floating bus stop on Green End Road
7:03 Turning along a brief section of cyclepath on Milton Road
7:25 A final cut through from Warren Road to Eastfield
8:00 Finishing with a pint in the Haymakers
* How to go HD.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
This is a notoriously bad space for people riding bikes. It's always made me feel nervous on it, and I'm quite an experienced, confident rider. Quite how anyone who's not confident is meant to use it is, well, reason to upgrade the space!
So, I was really pleased to hear that there was a plan to do this, and really pleased to start seeing paintwork appearing. My assumption was that it'd be a high quality physically segregated build, putting into practise what was learnt through the Hills Road and Huntingdon Road developments.
I'd not been up it in a while and was very disappointed when I did. All that's been done is a low grade, just paint, adaption of the road space. This will do nothing to improve the road space for riding.
We should have learnt, from Cherry Hinton Road, from Milton's Cambridge Road, and many other places, that a simple paint job doesn't protect people riding in the slightest. People regularly just drive along in the cyclelane.
It's even likely to make the space MORE risky to people riding. People driving sometimes think a cyclelane is a separated space, as this PR disaster from Sainsburys shows. And this leads to horribly dangerous close passes.
The reasons for Highway Code Rules 163 and 213 do not suddenly disappear when a cyclelane appears.
"give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car"
"Motorcyclists and cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make."
Anyway, how does the space work on Green End Road? Let's take a look at a few of my experiences from the road. Note that these aren't rare events, they are quite regular.
Go HD see * at bottom
Open in YouTube
So, these new lanes are an unfortunate backwards step. I'd recommend that people ride centre lane & ignore them. It's likely some people driving will take exception to this and hassle people riding to be out of "their space". That's still preferable to having them ignoring you completely, close passing, not quite judging it to the millimetre, and clipping you. And that could be with you anywhere in that cyclelane.
Sadly yet more infrastructure that doesn't learn from the Goverment guidelines and training about how to ride a bike.
* How to go HD.