Category Archives: Cycleways

→ Blackfriars new design

David Hembrow writes:

The LCC’s proposal looks not entirely different to how some Dutch provision might have looked 30 years ago. There was a lot to like about 30 year old Dutch cycling infrastructure, so this isn’t entirely a bad thing. However, in the second decade of the 21st century, I really think that London should be copying 21st century solutions and not looking quite so far backward.

I haven’t been keeping up with the Blackfriars Bridge news as of late. It seems to have all quietened down in my Google Reader. But I’ve just had a late look at the London Cycling Campaign’s proposals and by god: they almost look European.

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Harston Surgery’s laughable lack of cycle parking

Before I begin, I’ve put this under the ‘Cambridge’ category even though Harston is a few kilometers outside even the city limit, and I’ve put it under the ‘Cycleways’ category—which I might change to ‘Cycle infrastructure’ or something similar in the future.

Harston Surgery, which is a small, half-a-dozen-doctors doctors’ surgery in Harston, Cambridgeshire. It has zero cycle parking spaces … no stands, not even wheelbenders; nothing. Here’s a picture of where I have to park my bike (most certainly not my Challenge Hurricane as the insurers wouldn’t pay out if it was nicked or damaged; nothing to lock it to you see) on the odd occasion when I have to visit the surgery. I say “odd occasion”; I haven’t been ill-ill for years (perhaps because I cycle a lot) and when it’s something physiological I have to go in for, I usually get a lift.

By the way, they’re just propped-up against the wall of the building and locked to themselves.

I’m not sure why there’s no cycle parking. If dear ol’ David Hembrow finds this post, I wonder if he could tell me how many stands are available at his local surgery in the Netherlands. Maybe it’s a matter of cost; I don’t think it’s a matter of where to put them as I know (and a high-resolution aerial photograph will prove me right) there are plenty of gravel-filled-in-with square plots of a few metres by a few metres at the rear of the building overlooking the approximately twenty-space car park. Car parking is such a problem that the Queens Head PH ’round the corner has offered patients the use of their car park free of charge.

While Harston Surgery has no spaces, but I believe Arbury Road Surgery (on the corner of Arbury and Campkin Roads) in the city has a full twelve spaces—six Sheffield stands, fitting two bikes to a stand.

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A rather badly worded rant at oiks

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of ‘dualling’ all singular cattle grids in Cambridge; I also mentioned in the first paragraph of the post that there was only one double cattle grid in Cambridge—a relatively new installation at the southern end of New Bit, kind of here-ish.

Pretty much the morning after I wrote that post, I stumbled upon another double cattle grid that I’ve been crossing regularly for the best part of two years and a half years. I thought it would be simple enough to find a picture of it on CycleStreets but I could only find one acceptable photograph; you’ll just have to put up with that woman’s backside. As awesome as I’ve made double cattle grids seem, there is one negative recurrence that happens at this particular double cattle grid: some people aren’t as civilised as others and insist on riding up the outside of the queue of waiting-to-cross cyclists (positioned where that lady and her backside are), and then these uncivilised oiks block one’s path when one’s crossing Maids Causeway (the road with the toucan crossing on it) from Fair Street (the road on the far side of the frame).

Now some people might say “Well … look what happens if you have double cattle grids; people resort to dangerous overtaking”; that’s unjustified drivel. What happens at the Fair Street crossing is a minority of cyclists (let’s not get into pedestrians not using the pedestrian crossing; grumble …segregation, road tax, etc.) jump the queue for the lights and piss everyone off—not just people travelling onto the Common but also people crossing Maids Causeway as well; there’s only room for two streams of bikes, not three. This is a problem with the Fair Street crossing, which is a heavily used crossing in its own right and I cannot think what it would be like to use if the double cattle grid was only one bike’s width wide.

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The dualling of cattle grids

I drafted this post a few weeks ago (late November) but having mentioned this yesterday (7th December) at the Cambridge Cycling Campaign monthly meeting, I thought it would be a good idea to write up my proposal. Across Cambridge exist areas of common land: these areas are open to the public and all (that I can think of) have cycleways and footways stretching across them. At all but one site in Cambridge (the exception being the northwest portion of Coe Fen), cattle grids are available for cyclists to use to gain access to the cycleways and footways that cross the commons. Again with the exceptions: apart from one location in Cambridge if my memory serves me correctly, each cattle grid is a single cattle grid—permitting only one vehicle to cross at any one time. It’s a textbook source of congestion (yes: cycle congestion) and a textbook problem warrants a textbook solution: dualling. Yes … my proposal is to dual the most-frequently-used single cattle grids in Cambridge.

According to the Campaign, the installation of a single cattle grid costs £4000—though I’m not sure when that quote dates from. Cattle grids at the entrances to common land are “one of the most popular innovations made in Cambridge”, though that quote is probably only true because alternatives include the universally-hated pram handles. Using my U grade in Maths, I can work out that 2 × £4000 is £8000; I do understand it doesn’t quite work like that but then-again: some additional costs could well be offset by the savings made by doing two lots of works at the same time—if you get what I’m hinting at. I haven’t done any censuses or premedial work—yeah, it’s a word—but I guarantee that the dualling of at least the cattle grids around (and also on) Midsummer Common will make commuting by bike in Cambridge just that little bit easier (though commuters will talk to each other just that little bit less).

Before you ask, I *am* joking with the right-hand one

 

You know what cattle grids look like; also note that it’s an unaccompanied horse on that poorly-Illustrator’d sign. Yeah: attention to detail (that I had to point out but, still; yeah).

Guided busway thoughts, plus the Chisholm Trail

I think about my commute more than most people perhaps. I was thinking this afternoon about the guided busway (after reading the latest Cambridge Cycling Campaign newsletter) and how, when the southern section opens, I’ll be able to whisk myself from Trumpington to the station without having to use god-awful infrastructure (the Trumpington shared-use up-and-down nightmare that is the Trumpington shared-use up-and-down nightmare) and getting stuck behind eight-year-olds doing 10 kph weaving all across the path … and it’s a segregated shared-use path, so the (let me think …) western side is technically a pavement. It’s a horrible piece of cycleway and the worst part is is that (even though I know I don’t have to) I feel I need to use it. I do occasionally cycle on Trumpington Road itself but that’s only to overtake said eight-year-old shitcakes and their shitcake parents (CONTROL YOUR FUCKING CHILDREN and set a good example by cycling legally; thank you) …but I go back onto the cycleway afterwards. During the autumn, it’s mulchy; during the winter, it’s icy; during the spring and summer, it’s (only just) acceptable. The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will hopefully change this situation—no side roads, no traffic signals and a 3.0 (or so) metre-wide unsegregated cycleway. Not a shared-use path; a cycleway: a piece of infrastructure I’m proud to call a cycleway.

Then there’s the Chisholm Trail which is a proposal to build a cycleway between the northern end of Cambridge station’s car park—I guess—and Milton Road (at the point at which the old railway would have crossed the road; now, opposite the start of the guided busway’s northern section). There’s a “spare” arch on the western side of Mill Road’s bridge over the Fen Line; I’m not 100% sure how much space there is under the Coldhams Lane and Newmarket Road bridges, and there’s also the problem of building a bridge alongside the current bridge which takes said Fen Line over the Cam south of Fen Road. (You know where I’m talking about; don’t lie.)

Cambridge cycleways (with annotation)

Travelling northwards: ...solid line next to A10: awful shared-use path that I never use. Dashed line crossing M11 northwest of 'Westfield' roundabout: proposed cycleway across fields and ex-PBI land. Dashed line curving smoothly into town from the south: guided busway's maintenance track, to be opened and surfaced 'shortly'. Dashed line between Cambridge station (blue square, south of Petersfield) and Milton Road: the proposed Chisholm Trail. Short solid line north/northeast of Kings Hedges: currently open (but unsurfaced) busway maintenance track. Base of image is CC BY-SA 2.0, OpenStreetMap.org contributors.

Now … the Chisholm Trail is, unfortunately, a long way off being built (I think) but—the southern section of the guided busway is looking increasingly ‘ready’ every day. Yesterday (Friday 26th) at Trumpington Park & Ride, warning bells (similar to the kind you find at some level crossings; see diagram 781 at bottom of linked image) had been hung from a bar that had gone in on Thursday(?) which had been installed onto two upright bars, which were installed on Wednesday(?). Warning bells have also been installed on the eastern side of the railway where the busway meets Francis Crick Avenue. These are relatively trivial busway features to point out to you but the developers are progressing with the construction of (at least) the southern section. The northern section of the busway looks finished and because of this, perhaps, many are wondering “just when is it going to open?” (by which they mean “when are buses going to start running?” and I mean “when are you going to surface the maintenance track?”).

The point of this post was to illustrate that if the Council upgraded the pathetic excuse for a shared-use path between the B1368/A10 junction (the northern of the two B1368/A10 junctions in the country) on the outskirts of Harston and the southern section of the CBG, and then if a route existed between Cambridge station and the end of the northern section of the busway, and then if the Council surfaced the maintenance track alongside the busway between Milton Road and Kings Hedges Drive … and then I guess if Cambridge Regional College surfaced what they term Railway Avenue, which is currently a sandy muddy track … if these four things were in place, I’d have an alright route to college. Never happy, am I?

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