Thursday 13 April 2017

Green End Road - City Deal Wheels Falling Off

Green End Road was always one of those routes that should have been nice to ride a bike on. Its a suburban route, not a 'main road' by design, following an old curve that has been the one that winds up through Chesterton towards Kings Hedges Road for hundreds of years, but of course the colossal growth in road traffic of the last half century or so has turned it into yet another urban rat-run, blighted and dirty, dominated by the same incessant noise as every other urban rat run. Pick a suburban road where you can neither think nor breathe for the fumes and sound of cars - you know Green End Road. 

It should be a handy route to cycle, but it isn't. There's space between the houses for decent quality bike lanes, of course. Here, have a look at it, wander up and down on google street view:

Now obviously traffic congestion on this road is a problem that slows buses and cars down, and encouraging people to ride bikes on this route (especially now we're about to have the cities second railway station at the top end of Chesterton there) is a hugely important part of the solution. So obviously the Greater Cambridge City Deal, tasked with providing great solutions for the growing needs of Cambridge as an economic powerhouse, have decided to give us exactly the kind of high quality cycle lane we need? 


They've given us a crap painted line that encourages close overtaking. Its genuinely awful, look at Rads video of it.

Oh, and people will be able to park in some of it too. Whats that you say, the highway code says you shouldn't park in cycle lanes unless its absolutely unavoidable and that can never mean just popping in for a hair cut? I know that. And you know that. But we also both know this is never enforced unless there's a double yellow line. And the City Deal, alongside the County Council, have decided that the parking next to a chippy and a barbers  is more important than cycle lanes being safe. I've asked the City Deal how I'm meant to object - they say object to TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) and I'll be able to read about that because it'll be posted on a lamp post. Yes, thats right. On a lamp post. Because just telling me would never work. I've got to wait for them to put it on a lamp post and I've presumably got to put my hat, gather up my cane and write a letter of complaint on vellum using a quill pen. Oi, you, serving boy, get me my complaining breeches I've got to communicate 19th century style. Thats how City Deal rolls, you know. I should probably also do it in Latin.

What did we need here? Real segregation, 2m or more wide, without parking in it. And it could have been achieved without much loss in parking at the shops there (parking outside the cycle lane with priority for 1 way traffic at a time on the main carriageway as a worst case scenario). This is worse than no cycle provision, its the classic example of a cycle lane that makes riding more hazardous by luring motorists into passing us within inches, assuming we're protected by a dashed white line. Its a scheme that will discourage, not encourage, cycling - and its failure will be pointed at by opponents of cycle provision as evidence that bike lanes don't work.

Add this to the failing re-hedging scheme on Arbury Road (see this blog, passim) and we're left with a City Deal thats gone beyond faltering and into failure. They're not delivering schemes that we need to increase cycling capacity or reduce the level of hazard we face nor even to divert motorised traffic to more appropriate routes to make streets more efficient and safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Bad cycle lanes make cycling more hazardous, especially if there are parked cars in them. This facility makes cycling worse. Why, City Deal? Why?

1 comment:

  1. unless you take away gardens, there's about 12m highway.

    I too agree that there should be no parking, that's ridiculous. What it needs is a bridge at Cowley Road and the Fen Road level crossing closed, coupled with a bus gate on Chesterton High Street to stop through motor traffic.

    There is going to be a parking ban on some parts, notably near the primary school. That will help a bit- but they're not doing the yellow lines until the bus shelter fro Frank's Lane arrives.