Cambridge Council have unveiled a £7.2m package of improvements that it is hoped will boost cycling and help turn Cambridge into a Cycling Demonstration City. Half the money will come from the Government with the council confident it can raise the rest. Highlights of the scheme include:
• New Cottenham to Histon cycle path
• Cycle training for children and adults
• Speed reviews in residential areas and links
• Chisholm Trail feasibility study
• Cycle Parking: review and new facilities
• Interactive and additional signing
• Refreshing and improving existing facilities
• Rapid response crew; dedicated works team to carry out small-scale minor work.
Historically the city has long been one of the UK's cycling hotspots, along with Oxford, so it may come as a surprise that it isn't already one of Cycle England's cycling cities.
The list of improvements was drawn up by following a visit to Cambridge by experts from Cycling England who toured the city and surrounding areas with councillors and council officials. The idea of the scheme is to not only to improve conditions for cyclists in Cambridge itself but to link the surrounding villages into the city's cycling infrastructure as well and it does seem to reflect the sorts of improvements that cyclists like to see - possibly a reflection of the fact that cycling has long played a part in the life of the city.
The biggest new facility to be announced in the scheme is a new traffic free cycle route linking Cottenham to Histon with the option of then continuing it on into Cambridge itself.
The other item to catch the eye is the possible opening of a 'supercycleway'. The "Chisholm Trail" named after Jim Chisholm of Cambridge Cycle Campaign, whose idea it was for a major new cycle route bisecting Cambridge from north to south on land alongside the railway line. For the moment though the council has only earmarked funds for a feasability study.
More prosaic measures on the list of improvements such as better signage and refreshing and improving existing facilities, and more cycle parking should improve the cycling experience in the city for new and existing cyclists alike. The combination of speed reviews in residential areas and cycle training for children and adults should also boost the numbers of new cyclists on Cambridge's streets.