The boss of bus company Stagecoach Cambridgeshire says plans to improve bike paths in Cambridge that include ‘floating’ bus stops are “absolutely ludicrous”.
Plans for a major overhaul of bike lanes in Cambridge include bus boarding areas on traffic islands, with a bike lane between the footway and the bus stop. A similar design has been included in the recent extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 and is in common use in Europe.
However, artists’ impressions of the proposed design show the cycle lane passing between a bus shelter and the island, and this is worrying Stagecoach Cambridgeshire managing director Andy Campbell, according to Cambridge News’ Chris Havergal.
The proposed floating bus stop layout
Mr Campbell thinks people will be so excited at the prospect of getting on one of his buses they will leap, lemming-like, into the path of oncoming cyclists.
He told a meeting of the city council’s north area committee: “People, when they see a bus coming, will just walk towards the bus and they will be walking across a cycle path.
“To me that’s absolutely ludicrous. If you’re going to put a cycle lane in, put it behind the bus stop.”
Bus stop on London's Cycle Superhighway 2 extension (CC licensed image by diamond geezer/Flickr)
That’s how the floating stops on the recently-completed extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 have been positioned. Bus stop and shelter are both on the island so bus passengers don’t have to cross the bike lane to board.
The plans show the bus stopping in the main traffic lane rather than pulling into a lay-by, which has raised fears of more queues on routes into the city.
Mr Campbell added that cutting down on road space to slow traffic down would only make congestion worse.
But Cambridge Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Hester Wells says the floating bus stop design is better for both buses and cyclists.
She told road.cc: “Andy Campbell of Stagecoach cited the difficulty of driving among the volume of cyclists in Cambridge. This design removes interaction with cyclists.
“Also, the bus just stops in the road. There’s no waiting to pull into the stop because of cyclists, and no waiting for traffic to pull out.
“Plus there’s the obvious point that congestion is what holds up buses. If cycling is perceived as safer, that can reduce car journeys.”
The plans were unveiled as part of a consultation exercise into new, segregated cycle lanes along Huntingdon Road and Hills Road.
A county council spokesman said: “The feedback of the bus operators as well as comments of hundreds of others has been very useful and will help us shape the final proposals.
“Floating bus stops have been used successfully by the Dutch for decades and have also been introduced in the UK. The idea of the stops is to improve safety for both the bus drivers and cyclists.
“In any detailed design of the stops we would look at the best ways to make them work for all users including where possible keeping traffic moving around stationary buses and the best way to help bus passengers.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.