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Cycling campaigners urge rethink of Cambridge anti-terrorism barriers

Barriers on King’s Parade – one of UK’s busiest streets for cyclists – become operational tomorrow

Camcycle, the cycling campaign for Cambridge, is urging the city council to rethink anti-terrorism barriers which became operational tomorrow on King’s Parade, one of the busiest roads for bicycle traffic in the UK.

The group says that the barriers, which leave a gap of just 1.2 metres for people riding in both directions when shut, will also cause conflict with pedestrians. It also highlighted that the barriers had been installed without consultation with local residents or councillors.

The barriers, installed just north of the junction with Bene’t Street along with anti-terrorism ‘barges’ and just yards from King’s College Chapel, the city’s busiest tourist attraction, will be operational from 9.30am to 7pm.

In a blog post, Camcycle said: “First appearances are, as we expected, that tourist groups are using the cycle gap, as the footway is not wide enough; at the moment cyclists can pass through the gateway, but there will be a lot of conflict from next Monday when the gate is closed in the day time. What’s more, the cycle gap is right against the kerb, with cobbles and a gutter on half its width.

“It seems all too obvious that all the barriers will do is to create exactly the kind of crowds that a terrorist would want to drive into – especially as the Corpus clock (the Chronophage), which already leads to large groups standing in the middle of the road, is outside the closed zone. And if one was dead-set on attacking right in that iconic location in front of King’s Chapel one would just have to wait until 7pm.

“To add insult to injury, it seems that half the funding has come from the Greater Cambridge Partnership, whose mission is to encourage sustainable transport modes like cycling, not to obstruct them.”

The barriers and associated measures will be trialled for 18 months by Cambridge City Council in partnership with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire Constabulary, ahead of the drawing up of permanent security measures, possibly recessed into the road surface.

Last month, Councillor Lewis Herbert, the Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “As most people would agree, Cambridge is a special place, but sadly, in a time when the UK terror threat level is substantial, the benefits of its global profile are not without risks.

> Anti-terrorism barriers for one of UK’s busiest streets for cycling

“The tragic loss of innocent lives in the London Bridge attacks serves as a further reminder of the need to take appropriate measures to protect people.

“We have recognised this and that is why we sought police advice about King’s Parade, which is our busiest single visitor destination.

“Now that we have received that advice we must act on it in a proportionate way to do all we can to minimise the risks to public safety and help people to move around the city centre as easily as possible.

“We understand that some of the businesses on King’s Parade will feel inconvenienced, but this is a temporary solution and we will continue to discuss the scheme and any potential permanent measures with them.”

Camcycle has pointed out that local residents wishing to object to the barriers can contact the council’s Public Realm Engineering & Project Delivery Team Leader on john.richards [at] cambridge.gov.uk (tel. 01223 458525), or their local councillor whose details can be found at writetothem.com.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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