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Middle of road cycle lane may be tried out in Cambridge

Plan to help cyclist traffic flow follows consultation with road users as Cycling England cash helps boost facilities elsewhere in the city

Cambridgeshire County Council is considering trialling a new cycle lane in the middle of one of the university city’s most heavily used roads.

Since September, the council has been experimenting with cycle lanes on Hills Road Bridge which see bikes pass motorised traffic to the left on lanes between the main carriageway and the kerb.

The trial, which according to The Cambridge News found that more than 18,000 vehicles, 5,000 cyclists and 2,500 pedestrians make use of the road each day, is due to last until December.

But the newspaper reports that transport bosses at the council are already considering what lessons can be learnt from it and how best to implement the cycle paths on a permanent basis, with the middle lane being given serious consideration with a possible trial in the New Year.

Those proposed plans, together with results of the present trial, were put on show at Hills Road Sixth Form College earlier this week.

Alistair Frost, project manager for Cycle Cambridge, which oversees cycling policy in the city as part of Cycling England’s Cycling Towns initiative, said: “"We've had good feedback so far from cyclists and Cambridge Cycling Campaign. In essence the trial layout which was put in to allow traffic to be monitored has received very good public feedback.”

"Unfortunately it does not go far enough in addressing a couple of critical points for the cyclist, hence it cannot be simply left in,” he added.”

Mike Davies at Cycle Cambridge told that consideration was being given to trialling a middle lane as a result of monitoring road users and obtaining feedback from them during the existing trial.

He said that on the approach to the bridge itself – where the road narrows from the existing four to two lanes, meaning the trial cycle paths end – 80% of cyclists went straight on over the bridge, rather than turning left.

As a result, many were moving across into the motorised traffic lane to ensure they had adequate time to cross when the lights turned green, compared to the limited time that would have been available to them had they remained in the cycle lane.

He added that a decision on whether to trial the middle lane proposal would be taken in the New Year.

Cycle Cambridge is looking for feedback about the current trial and suggestions for improvements, with Mr Frost telling The Cambridge News: "We want to encourage everyone to give us feedback on the trial. Fill in an online questionnaire, visit the exhibition, email us your views and let us know what you think.

"The results of these consultations inform councillors and help them to make decisions on the final scheme, so people's views really do count."

A feedback form to enable your views to be taken into consideration can be found here or by emailing the county council. Consultation continues until 23 December.

Meanwhile, The Cambridge News also reports that the city has benefited from a further £80,000 worth of funding from Cycling England under the Cycling Towns initiative.

The money will go on making improvements to an existing cycle route running from Dry Drayton to Bar Hill, as well as the provision of bike parking at schools.

Roy Pegram, Cambridgeshire County Council member for transport, told the newspaper: "Cambridge currently enjoys the highest levels of cycling of anywhere in Britain. However, it is essential this cycling culture is encouraged to grow into outlying villages and new communities.

"Whether they are cycling to school, work or for leisure we need to make sure we provide appropriate infrastructure including cycle parking to support existing cyclists and encourage more people to choose to cycle."

A spoesman for the council added: "The extra funding has been awarded in recognition of a number of successful cycling projects the Cycle Cambridge team are carrying out, including new infrastructure, improvements to cycle routes and cycle training as well as promotion.

"Projects which have been earmarked to receive the funding include improvements to the cycle route from Bar Hill to Dry Drayton and new cycle parking at several local primary schools in the area, Cambridge United Football Club and the Addenbrooke's Hospital site."

Staff and pupils at Bottisham Primary School have already enjoyed the fruits of the extra cash, with Cambridge United mascot Marvin the Moose opening a new bike parking facility.

Simon joined 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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Kevin Steinhardt | 14 years ago

Haven't been over Hills Road bridge for months; I nearly always use Carter Bridge, but I'm not usually in a rush to get anywhere.

cat1commuter | 14 years ago

I use this bridge twice a day on my commute. Proposed layout looks excellent, and seems to be the best that could be done given the space constraints. Central lane will be 2.1 metres wide and provide access to a large advanced stop lane at either end. Bridge used to be two general traffic lanes in each direction, and was a nasty car racetrack.

jobysp | 14 years ago

Lets hope they don't get incidents like this then:

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