Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cambridge = Congestion and it will get worse

Thursday Monday, 27th January 2014: Well despite the fact we have had more rain this January than last I have been reasonably lucky in avoiding it. Mind you I am able to cycle when the weather looks promising – or at least when a gap seems to appear.

It looks like a tragic accident was avoided on the busway when a young cyclist was involved in a collision with a bus. From the reports it is not completely clear quite what happened, but it looks as if the cyclist might have skidded of the path onto the concrete track, the bike was damaged but she jumped off.

Whilst I reckon that the CGB cycleway is pretty good it does allow cyclists and buses to get pretty close to each other.  Whether she was hit by a gust of wind, or skidded or was caught by the draught from the bus I don’t know. But it is a reminder that good cycle infrastructure properly segregates the different users, bad cycle infrastructure gives the illusion of segregation.  I find the whole concept of advisory cycle lanes to be a con perpetrated on cyclists by penny-pinching councils.  To quote the DFT Cycle Infrastructure Guidelines (2008).

7.3.1 Advisory cycle lanes marked on the carriageway (diagrams 1004 and 1057) signify that other vehicles should not enter unless it is safe to do so. Advisory lanes are not recommended where they are likely to be blocked by parked vehicles. They can work in circumstances where kerbside parking is
restricted during peak times but available at other

We have them along the Cherry Hinton Road in Cambridge –check this Streetview link (I can’t seem to embed Streetview pictures at the mo.). The picture shows a vehicle heading towards Fulbourn coming up to a bicycle. In order for the car to overtake the bicycle then it will encroach onto the other side of the road. This then forces the vehicle to move into the advisory cycle lane, which in the Streetview picture is clear. Is that is what is intended? Because that is what happens.

What i find also happens with both Advisory and Mandatory Cycle lanes (ACL, MCL) on these types of roads is that motor vehicles leave lass of a gap when overtaking. It would be interesting to see if there is any data on how vehicles overtake cyclists in ACLs or is that just my prejudiced view.

It looks as if the roads will get more congested as “Proposals for new town at Waterbeach and village at Bourn airfield set to be sent to government”. The chart does not include the some of the current developments nor the catchment area for commuters such as Burwell or Northstowe.  On the chart alone there are going to be around 8,000 additional houses. So welcome all you drivers, to a world of congestion. Unless some pretty major steps are taken to sort out the transport system ready for the inevitable increase in cars.

When I cycle around during the evening rush hour most points of the compass are already pretty chocker – it will get worse unless there is a positive effort to improve the alternatives to driving rather than just rely on a number of those motorists switching because they are fed up with he queues.  This needs proper joined up high quality cycle routes with priority over motor vehicles. Not the half-assed shared-use excuses that are being built at the moment.

An example of how fragile our road system is – “Histon Road in Cambridge turned into ‘battle zone’ by diverted A14 traffic”. Or the calls from something to be done at Cambridge’s Fendon Road.  Despite the huge amount of development no-one seems to be planning for it?

At the moment all I can say is that I hope that the strategic planning includes green space and that the NT are able to connect up some more of the Wicken Vision.

It might be flat around the Fens, there is wildlife though. I am not the most observant though – unlike the Wicken Fen Rangers.  

Lodes Way – Sun breaking through the clouds

Trees being beamed up – Lodes Way

Headlake Drove – a few patches of road amongst the puddles

I seem to hear helicopters most days when out in the Fens at the moment. This time there were three.

Helicopters in the Skies above Lodes Way


As close as I could get with the shorter zoom lens (14-140mm or 28mm – 280mm in 35mm speak)

There seem to be RAF Helicopters out running training sorties at the moment.

The light changes as the clouds move around and the sun dips in the sky. One minute it is quite dark.

Bare trees silhouetted against the sky

Leaning Telegraph Pole – a common sight in the Fens

Leaning Telegraph Pole – a common sight in the Fens

Although there was rain around might route guided me around it fortunately. As I cycled through Wicken Fen I saw a chap taking a picture of something or other – when I looked it turned out to be this rainbow.

Rainbow at the end of Monks Lode

My Shadow in the reed alongside Monk’s Lode

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