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, 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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