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Disputed Cambridge cycle safety scheme goes to the vote

Councillors to decide whether to adopt cycling safety measures on 15 June

A hotly disputed cycling safety scheme for Cambridge goes before councillors next week.

In an attempt to stop cars parking on a cycle lane along the busy Gilbert Road, Cambridgeshire County Council officers are recommending widening the existing cycle lane from 1.3 to 1.7 metres and adding double yellow lines to prohibit parking in the cycle lane and on the verge. A traffic calming scheme using speed cushions and raised tables would also be included. 

The measure has been backed by cyclists and nearby schools, but it’s been opposed by some residents who are concerned about the loss of parking spaces on the road. One of them, Doctor Henry Tribe, told the Cambridge News, “I’m not against cycling by any means – I’ve cycled all my life. But I and many other residents are against the changes being proposed. In my view, the speed humps and speed cushions being proposed are completely over the top.”

Residents in some neighbouring streets have also objected because of the fear that displaced traffic would use their roads instead.

Klaas Brümann of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, said, “The measures are I understand in compliance with DfT guidelines and supported by Cycling England but a resident calls them over the top. I suppose it depends whether this resident on this 3/4 mile long and unusually wide road for Cambridge cares about speeding traffic in an area with four schools attended by 1800 pupils.”

Surveys found about 20 vehicles are parked in the Gilbert Road cycle lanes at any time, with a concentration at the Milton Road end. Some of these are believed to be cars belonging to commuters rather than residents or their visitors.

Roy Pegram, cabinet member for growth, told the Cambridge News, "We have listened carefully to local residents and cyclists over this issue and I am sure this will be well debated at cabinet. It is incredibly difficult to meet the needs of all groups while reducing congestion for the city. We will again look closely at all the arguments before making any decision."

The authority's cabinet will decide the matter next Tuesday (15 June).

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign has published an online gallery of photographs showing what cyclists are up against on Gilbert Road.

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine ( 

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cat1commuter | 13 years ago

Exciting Cabinet meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 15th June, at 10:00 AM at Shire Hall, if you're in Cambridge and feel inclined (turn up 30 min before). Sadly, I don't think you'll be allowed to heckle the Labour councillor (Mike Todd-Jones) who is opposing the scheme. If the decision gets delayed, then we loose the money from Cycling England.

therevokid | 13 years ago

we have mandatory cycle lands (solid line ones) yet
shoppers, commuters, vans and even police all stop in
them - I've given up riding in them now and use the
middle of the lane just as if driving my car !

cat1commuter | 13 years ago

The cycle lanes are currently advisory (dashed lines) and will, hopefully, be made mandatory (solid lines).

I'm always amazed how much opposition there is to simple changes in Cambridge which would make life better for cyclists. It took loads of campaigning to get a few one way streets opened for two way cycling, and even here there was a compromise in the number of streets which were converted. If this happens here in the place with the highest proportion of cyclists in the UK, I can only imagine how hard it is elsewhere.

oadatapa | 13 years ago

The local resident and retired academic Dr Tribe is a cyclist. The real danger for this project and the Cycling England funding for Cambridge in general comes from the local Labour party that in all its brilliance and after one year of consultation and negotiation comes up in the last possible minute with a petition to stop the scheme to investigate "better alternatives" - knowing all to well that the DfT funds paying for most of the scheme have a time limit, will go away and never come back.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign has prepared an FAQ section for the scheme :

Denzil Dexter | 13 years ago

yes, I bet some of his best friends are cyclists too

LondonCalling | 13 years ago

To say "I’m not against cycling" and then opose a scheme that would take cars off the cycle lanes is a bit supid. IMO.

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