Crossing Milton Road: 3 minutes of your life you won’t get back

If you were building a railway station and most of the passengers were coming and going by foot or cycle wouldn’t you make it most convenient for these people?  Not so the proposed Cambridge Science Park station.

Estimated trips for the station by mode.

Estimated trips for the station by mode.

60% of trips to and from the station are estimated to be by foot or cycle, with just 1200 trips by private car. The Transport Assessment spends 31 pages on a Traffic Impact and a Junction Capacity Assessment, and “traffic” here means motor vehicles.  The assessment looks at queue lengths and delays in 2016 and 2026 at seven junctions/routes.  Pretty comprehensive for <20% of the trips.

But then the Transport Assessment picks up pace and dismisses all other trip modes (80% of trips) in just seven pages with lots of pictures.  Elsewhere the Assessment notes the complex crossing at Milton Road/Cowley Road and the delays caused to pedestrians and cyclists by the signal sequence but dismisses this as “far from significant”.  This is complete rubbish.

Pedestrian route when crossing from Cowley Road to the Science Park.

Pedestrian route when crossing from Cowley Road to the Science Park.

If you are walking from the Science Park station to the, err, Science Park you will walk down Cowley Road and cross Milton Road at the huge junction at the entrance to the Science Park and Cambridge Business Park.  This is a three-stage crossing that apart from being very uninviting causes significant delays.

Red lights and fencing: the hostile environment for pedestrians.

Red lights and fencing: the hostile environment for pedestrians.

The cycle time of the signals is two minutes.  On stage one of the crossing pedestrians have just seven seconds of green.  On stage two there is nine seconds to cross and on stage three 55 seconds.  However due to the phasing you have to stop part way across and so the minimum time to cross is 75 seconds.

If you miss your seven second window to start crossing it could take you 188 seconds, or more than three minutes to cross the road.  None of the motor traffic on major routes has to wait this long to move through the junction.

It should take you only about 10 minutes to walk from the near parts of the Science Park to the station so crossing the road could add 25% to your journey time!  This is very significant and not “far from significant”.

Pedestrians and a cyclist cross Milton Road between queuing traffic because they refuse to wait for the long cycle time of the traffic signals.

Pedestrians and a cyclist cross Milton Road on red between queuing traffic because they refuse to wait for the long cycle time of the traffic signals.

This also matters because if you are rushing to catch a train you will not wait at a crossing, instead you will cross on red against the traffic and potentially put your safety at risk.

The station will be increasing the number of pedestrians in the area but largely ignores their needs; this is also true on several of the other routes to the station.  The Transport Assessment snubs “sustainable” transport modes and instead concentrates on the minority using private cars.

Will Cambridgeshire County Council amend its plans to put pedestrians and cyclists first (in line with its own policies) and make it convenient for the majority traveling to the new station?

Advertisements

Motorism in the County Council elections

Candidate's leaflets, nothing from the Green Party yet.

Candidate’s leaflets, nothing from the Green Party yet.

What is the most important issue in the forthcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections? The £2,000,000 per year interest charge for the Misguided Bus that may never be recovered? No. The £1,000 per pupil funding shortfall for secondary schools? No. How Cambridge will expand over the next decade? No, it’s residents’ parking.

There's a demand for residents' cycle parking in Kite, and other areas.

There’s a demand for residents’ cycle parking in Kite, and other areas.

Sheila Lawlor, the  Conservative candidate in Market Ward, makes the astonishing statement that she will ‘Take whatever action is needed so residents can park.’ I would imagine she is talking about car parking, which is a shame as there is considerable demand for cycle parking too.

Meanwhile Ed Cearns, the Liberal Democrat candidate, believes he can ‘…make the city centre an even better place to live by easing parking problems for residents…’

Labour’s Dan Ratcliffe supports the upgrading of the A14, which is likely to ‘set back a long way‘ public transport, cycling and walking in the city centre according to Tim Bick (leader of the City Council).

This motorism, addiction to motoring, is odd since the lack of cars and traffic is part of what gives the city centre its character.  It’s also odd as we may have reached Peak Car so this expansion of parking is beginning to look like a policy from the last century and not one for the future. The candidates also seem to be re-enforcing the idea that residents own the piece of tarmac outside their house.  It’s not the County Council’s responsibility to find you a place to park your car any more than it is their responsibility to find space for your 42″ TV.

It is also surprising as the March 2011 Census tells us that 40% of households in the Market area do not have a car or van.  So who’s going to represent those against the privatisation of the public highway?