Monday, August 12, 2013

Going Dutch in Cambridge

A couple of Posts ago – Cycling - what is it all about, Bikemapper and I discussed ways to achieve what I think is a common goal.  Well the Cambridge News reports “Cycling in Cambridge ‘going Dutch’ with £8.2m investment as David Cameron aims for two-wheeled revolution”. The goal is to increase the proportion of trips made by bike from 22% apparently. As always the devil is in the detail, with the government providing £4.1m, this will be match by Cambridgeshire Country Council, partly using funding from developers. I tend to think of the funding from developers as like a slush fund.

The comment from CCyC is interesting – setting out the stalls of support from the PM and segregated cycleways and the need for the highest possible quality.

There is already a shopping list of items as the County Council refers to is as GC3 – Greater Cambridge Cycling City.  The aim is to provide good quality cycle links to business parks in South Cambridgeshire and segregated lanes on main arterial roads.  Apparently the A10 is also somewhere on the list and the 3,000 bicycles Station car park gets a mention and the Chisholm Trail. This runs up to March 2015.

Phew that is a fair number of projects.  There is an interesting document called Northstowe Area Footpath and Cycleway Network Project (pdf) which indicates budgetary costs for  surfacing a  cycleway – note this was dated 2003.

Surfacing for tarmac cycleway £100k/km

This TfL document (page 43)  suggests that the total cost of the two pilot Cycle superhighways (3 and 7) was £18m with an annual maintenance cost for the two of  £72,000. How long are these routes – well the document doesn’t help except they used an approximate annual maintenance cost of £4,080 per Km per annum. Which suggests that route 3 is around 7.4Km and route 7 is around 10.3Km.  Which means that the two Superhighways cost £18m for a length of 18.1Km or around £1m/Km.

Well all I can say is they were ripped off, either that or £8.1m is not going to get us very far! (£8.1Km in fact). (For reference the Lodes Way cost £2m and is 14 miles long and included two bridges.)

So my observations.

In order to double the number of cycle trips then it is going to have to get those who do cycle to cycle twice as much or to get twice as many people cycling (or a combination). I would imagine that to get those who do cycle then the routes are going to have to make much easier to cycle further for little extra expenditure of energy or time. To get those who don’t cycle to cycle then the routes are routes will either have to open up brand new untapped corridors and been seen as safe and attractive alternatives.  I reckon the low hanging fruit has already been picked in terms of getting those interested in cycling out cycling. From here on in it will need a more professional approach.

  • This means no more half-assed Butt Lane schemes (sorry couldn't resist the pun.
  • More use of continuous and direct cycle routes with segregation and priority over motor traffic. Especially so, where such routes are supposed to attract more schoolchildren to cycle. For example the Horningsea – Fen Ditton cycle route still requires the crossing of an A14 slip road entrance without any form of traffic light control. Why the need for segregation and some flavour of what Going Dutch means – David Hembrow and  “Ten Bus Stop Bypasses for Bicycles. Bikes, buses and bus passengers can be in harmony only when separated
  • The routes will need to be of high-quality – I am concerned that the shopping list is too long and will encourage penny-pinching. I am concerned that politicians seem to operate on a never mind the quality feel the width (of my soundbite) principle. CCC - You’ve taken the money  you now must deliver.
  • Don’t water down the already limited budget by funding other “changes in the name of cycling”
  • The work undertaken should link in with an overall strategic objective for a cycling network around Cambridgeshire. I accept that it cannot all be built immediately. However appropriate thought must be given to ensuring the routes contemplated in the development will tie in with further developments of the cycle network as need and funding allow. (For instance read this excellent CCyC article on the Wing Development and the need to connect with Lodes Way and the new railway station.)
  • It will require commuters not leisure cyclists to achieve the goal and what might be acceptable for a leisure cycling route is not acceptable for a commuting route.
  • The commitment will take infrastructure not training or PR. Read hits article from the Cycling Front blog – Nicewaycode : wake up, time to die.
  • Commuting routes need to be reliable and can’t close because they regularly flood – like the Cambridge Guided Busway cycle way.

Butt Lane Cycle way? Too narrow, too close to the road – this is not segregation – this is encouragement not to cycle

Cyclists need priority: it is safer – NCN51

Green Dragon Bridge – must do better – not acceptable on a proper cycle network

Cycle networks need to be kept free of ice (The Tins)


Sub-standard route from Ditton Meadows to Stourbridge Common

Cycle routes that regularly flood are no joke for commuters

It only encourages stupid and reckless behaviour

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