Back in August Cambridgeshire County Council promised us a “high quality, safe and accessible cycle infrastructure along Cowley Road” as part of its Transport Assessment for the proposed Science Park station and I expressed my skepticism about what “high quality” would mean on the ground. Now an illustrative proposal shows a shared-use with five give ways in ¼ mile. So high quality = shared-use to the County despite people on foot and on cycles hating it and cyclists being fined or getting a criminal record for being confused about where they can and can’t cycle on pavements.
I’m not going to dwell on how rubbish this is, it’s a design from the last century. Instead I will highlight the high risk of death and serious injury that people on cycles will face at the junction where Cowley Road turns north while the station access road continues east.
Here’s the proposed layout:
The priority is changing so the north arm of the junction will have to give way, as will people on cycles traveling to the station, which is east of this junction.
Here’s the proposal with the lorry and bus movements superimposed. Note that the Stagecoach bus depot is to the north while the Hanson aggregates terminal is on the north east corner so there are a lot of large and heavy vehicles at this junction. Most of this traffic turns the corner.
There is a fence adjacent to the north west corner so visibility is poor.
As part of the THINK! campaign, Transport for London are advising cyclist not to go on the left on lorries because of lorry blind spots. As @NotDanEllis (strong language) pointed out “Good point TFL. So why did you build a … cycle lane there then?!”. (The low visibility is disputed, at least for modern lorries.)
The junction on Cowley Road will have a similar layout with people on cycles using the shared-use path likely to be in the blind spot of turning lorries. As the lorry slows to turn the corner a cyclist could move alongside it and become invisible.
The illustrative proposal is neither safe nor high quality, I look forward to the next iteration.
Update: The planning application for the station was approved at the Joint Development Control Committee on 18 December 2013 subject to various conditions (as recommended by Tim Watkins, Head of Planning Services) including:
The development shall not be occupied until details of the footways/cycle ways have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and have been implemented including a route to a minimum width of 2.5 metres along Cowley Road.
Although this does mean the County has to agreed details with itself it is very disappointing that the minimum width specified is less than Department for Transport guidance.