Busway Cycling Meeting

I apologise if the below text is not always clear but it’s a tidied up version of the notes from the meeting and I thought it more important to get the information out and try to make things happen than devote hours to tidying this document. This was the first meeting, more are planned. The focus was on cycling so scheduling, new station and other issues were not raised but I will try to pick those up in the next fortnight and report back see notes at end of document. A follow up cycling meeting is planned in the next month or so.

Topics are highlighted in bold so you can scan through the document.

Busway issues – Meeting about Cycling 21 September 2021 Attendees Cllr Ros Hathorn, Bus way Officer, Camcycle representative

Problem – Many junctions and crossings are very awkward at the moment.

We tried to tackle this junction by junction.

Detectors* were discussed for all junctions.  These are the things that cars have to automatically alert the lights of their presence so that cyclists don’t have to press a button to cross.  Particularly for those with irregular bicycles or young children pressing the button can be difficult.   This was a particular issue for the stretch around Orchard Park by Kings Hedges Road where there are junctions every few hundred metres and the priority of those crossings where buses and cycles were always on a lower priority than cars was also discussed.

* Horningsea have detectors for cyclists same with central Cambridge

Action – to investigate this further. I will take up with Cycling team and investigate how to move forwards.

CRC junction – there are poles and a brick thing– a site visit needed to identify if the layout could be improved, hedge needs to be trimmed back. 

Station Road, Impington junction.   Bishops Development side.  This is where the busway is at the narrowest.  The new Bishop’s Development are keen to open up that whole area and the busway would be very supportive of working with this.  This reverts to South Cambs Planners whether they make they are happy removing the noise barrier to create more space and help with the pinch point behind the shelter.

Action – to follow up status of planning.  I have emailed District Councillors to encourage them to support any plans for this.  Cllr Steve Hunt is taking a site visit and will investigate.

Oakington junction – awkward & a bit confusing, unsure how you’re supposed to cross. Actually possible to get lost. Then very tight turn more than 90 degrees.  Could it be a diagonal crossing?

How do you fund this?  Transport 106 money – we need to find a pot of money. Busway officer will ask the question.

Longstanton Station Road – slightly less twisty than Oakington could be easier, less tight.

Busway Officer; A difficult junction Highest hit rate for cars, lots of delivery vans jumping the lights. One parish council had agreed to try to make this a 30mph (I think it was this junction) but then dropped the plan without informing busway officer.

Requested detectors, paper clips and diagonal crossing.

Dangerous  nature of this crossing a real issue.

Swavesey – OK separation between horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians just needs detectors. Paper clips always open.

Holywell ferry – looking at poles on busway

-will review

Wooden railing at St Ives Park & Ride Harrison way either side of the zebra crossing makes it very tight could just get rid of one on the left

Busway officer agreed to look into removing the knee high wooden railing on one side to increase space

The security of bike storage and lack of obvious bike storage in certain locations (CRC)

Action – to review this.  Cycle storage security is a police issue but will continue to discuss solutions. Also look at storage at CRC.

Level of litter on the busway – a suspicion that as a lot of energy drinks it’s cyclists. The busway team try to regularly tidy rubbish.  Energy drinks likely to be non cyclists as well found more often near urban areas.

Can be a culture clash between cyclists, pedestrians, disabled users, speeding cyclists etc etc.

I suggested a campaign to get cyclists to say ‘hello’ Camcycle reported that they’d tried to do this on an individual basis but the busway is so popular that it gets really hard saying ‘hello’ to hundreds of people.  Similarly although people don’t like silent cyclists rushing up people also complain when they ring their bell at them or shout.  

If people feel this is a really serious issue and people really want to change then the only solution would seem to be some kind of large forum where everyone comes together and discusses and agrees upon a shared culture for using the busway which is then reinforced by a communications campaign.  Whether this is realistic or there is an appetite for this I await to see people’s responses. There would need to be a lot of people prepared to engage on this for it to have any value.

Safety for disabled people (particularly sight impaired) accessing the cycle path from non standard locations e.g. the woods near Railway Vue or football ground. 

This is an ongoing challenge the busway is fully aware of. Solutions are very hard.  There isn’t space and if you were to make these entry points more formalised people might step onto the cycle path more confidently which might be more dangerous.   If anyone has any ideas about how to resolve this please get in touch.

Flooding towards St Ives making it unusable for 4 months a year potentially. There is no alternative route so people start walking/cycling on the track. From Viaduct to well beyond Holywell Ferry. 7-8 big flood areas.  Have to cover all of them.

Project manager on the Green Way schemes is looking at this and there is work and some money available (allegedly).  They are considering a raised platform or raised causeway like St Neots.  The project is now reverting to the Environment Agency about what can and can’t be done as it will need to be signed off by them.

Busway officer will chase this up.

Communicating busway closures

We discussed having signage earlier along the busway (all the way back to Cambridge North) advising people to refer to the internet to find the detail of busway closures.  Apart from flooding maintenance closures are always planned for weekends.  Both need signage.

Paper Clip Gates –  these are the gates installed along the busway including the Park Lane junction.  They don’t stop small motorised vehicles illegally using the cycle path and are against current design advice which is to replace them with LTN 120 bollards

-busway officer very happy to look into that will report back at next meeting.  Possibly budget for this.

Barriers between track and path where super narrow

Would need funding and very expensive

Track becoming quite seriously bumpy with tree routes – Primrose Lane (jam factory) past the substation to Histon Wood. The busway team are trying to keep up with doing infill. Cracks in both directions.  Resurfacing is wildly expensive.  Busway team will continue to keep an eye on it. Maintenance officer monitoring on a monthly basis.

Plants sprawling – near St Ives , near Milton Road junction, crossing near Railway Vue (all mentioned).  An ongoing issue the busway team try to keep an eye on this and combine hedge cutting etc with maintenance work to minimise busway closures.

Nb. Milton road corner trimmed other week.  Try to coordinate with other closures getting grounds maintenance out there so that as few closures as possible.

Action – Ros realised after meeting I should have asked about mechanism for reporting this type of issue- will follow up

Lack of lighting between OP and Histon personal safety issue (or perception of particularly affecting women using the cycle path)

– sounds wonderful the cost would probably be upwards of £400,000 

Action – can Histon and Impington think of any creative solutions e.g. places where lighting could be installed by the Parish Council in partnership with other organisations?  Unless a massive campaign/ new source of funding very unlikely to happy.  Can we find creative alternatives? Does anyone want to start a very large campaign?

The crossing near St Audrey’s Close to the other side of the busway seems quite dangerous – you can’t see if a bus is coming unless you basically go ONTO the busway. It would be good if there was some hedge trimming or some way to alert people if a bus was coming. Plus it isn’t necessarily that obvious that it is the busway you are literally about to step onto if you’re new/a kid…so maybe some kind of barrier (but one people/bikes etc could get through) would be useful? 

Things have been tried. Extra signage tried, try to trim hedge regularly, mirrors actually made it seem less dangerous than it is so they were removed.  It’s really tricky no obvious solutions. 

-I think if a working party came up with some tangible ideas to increase safety they would be taken seriously but they have to be better than those tried already.

Just Eat delivery guys on electric scooters (not escooters ones like motor scooters)/ quad bikes, electric scooters on busway. – This is a police issue, keep an eye on this report it.  Report it if it gets worse.

Questions to ask in separate meeting

Removal of tree guards.

Is there now a bus to Cambridge North station which stops at OP.

Cambridge North – Orchard Park bus stop

Bus stop at north end of busway Histon

More signage to encourage shared use pedestrians/ bikes/ horses

Check status of replacement glass in bus stops. (may have been fixed already).

Busway cycle path will get busier – are there any plans to respond to that

Sprawling plants – is there a reporting mechanism for locations with big problems.

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