08:47 Tuesday 4th March 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: A brand new type of cycle lane never seen in Cambridge before could be built on two main routes into the city. The County Council wants views on plans to make Huntingdon Road and Hills Road, the busiest cycle routes in the UK, safer for drivers and cyclists. A consultation on the proposals is being launched this morning, and Johnny D has been to find out more.
JOHN DEVINE: Paul, I’m in a very busy part of Cambridge this morning, Huntingdon Road. It’s right near Girton, about two miles from the city centre of Cambridge. But in front of me I’ve got four lanes of traffic that goes down to three. There’s traffic lights in front of me. There is a cycle lane which is about four foot across, not very wide at all. I’ve got with me Mike Davies, Team Leader for Cycling Projects at Cambridgeshire County Council. So what’s happening today then Mike?
MIKE DAVIES: It’s the launch of our Huntingdon Road cycle land and traffic scheme today.
JOHN DEVINE: And you’ve got a table here, a trestle table set up, volunteers handing out leaflets and information. What’s going on?
MIKE DAVIES: We’re giving out information about the scheme, what we’re proposing, some of the options, talking to people, getting them to respond to our questionnaire and just sort of generally launching the whole thing.
JOHN DEVINE: So why do you want to change things? What’s wrong with the layout as it is Mike?
MIKE DAVIES: Well we know there’s a lot of people who would like to cycle to work. There’s probably 25% of people are at the moment, but there’s another 20% who tell us they don’t like mixing with traffic. They feel unsafe near buses. So we’re looking to put much better facilities in for them, so that those people can ride to work and get to school and move around.
JOHN DEVINE: What are the options? What are you thinking of doing?
MIKE DAVIES: We’ve got three options. The first one is a curbed segregated lane. So you’ve got a bit of kerb between you and the live traffic. The second one is a raised cycle lane, so you’re segregated by level differences. Both of those options are 2.1 metres wide, so that’s seven feet wide, so you can wide side-by-side, or overtake slower riders. Mother could cycle along side with her children for instance. And then the third option is a mixture of both, because one part of the road is very wide, and it narrows down. So we could have a segregated section in the wide bit, and then we could go with the raised option in the narrower bit.
JOHN DEVINE: The segregated idea has never been done in Cambridge before. So why consider it now?
MIKE DAVIES: Well it comes back to this thing about perceived safety. If people have got something between them and the live traffic they feel much safer, and they’re much happier cycling in. So we can get a much broader church of cyclists getting involved and getting on their way to work.
JOHN DEVINE: How about funding this? Are any of the options cheaper than any others?
MIKE DAVIES: They’re all about the same really. It’s not really a money thing. The funding we’ve got is from the Department of Transport, as part of the Cycle City Ambition programme. Cambridge was successful alongside six other cities in getting this money, so it’s really great we’ve got this money to use locally.
JOHN DEVINE: Do we know how much money it is?
MIKE DAVIES: Well the whole pot is £4.1 million, but we’re looking to use about £625.000 on this scheme. We’ve got some other schemes. We’ve also got the same sort of proposals kicking off for Hills Road as well, so all of the details for this and the Hills Road one are on our website, which is www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cycling.
JOHN DEVINE: And if your plans go ahead Mike, how far will the actual cycle path go?
MIKE DAVIES: Well for Huntingdon Road, it will go all the way from Girton corner and Girton College through to Oxford Road. And beyond Oxford Road we’ve got an option of perhaps resurfacing the existing lane. So it will take you all the way into Cambridge.