Wednesday 19 September 2012

Francis Crick Avenue Cycling Oddity

Well I say oddity, it's more of an irritation that goes a long way to show how the thinking around cycling provision is so "un-joined up".

Francis Crick Avenue is a new road built for hospital access from junction 11 on the M11. Although it's quite clear that it's also going to be used as an access road to new developments that are likely to fill in the fields between the hospital and Trumpington as it's been built with lots of side road access points.

The road was developed in a similar time frame (albeit a bit quicker) as the guided busway. The guided busway has cycling provision alongside it, which is good (but has it's own issues).

The Google map of the specific area is repeated in JPG form below.

All the cyclepaths that exist at either end of a third of a mile section of Francis Crick Avenue are on one side of the road. The natural thought would be that the developers would have built a single two-way off-road cyclepath to connect these paths up. After all it's only a third of a mile, there's plenty of space, even in the currently used road-space, and it would ensure as much separation as possible. That way, people cycling would have felt safe away from motor traffic. Likewise, people driving would have felt more comfortable having less squishy bodies on the same bit of tarmac as them.

So that's what was built, wasn't it? No. Instead, the space was used to create a ridiculous road layout. with separate on-road cyclepaths in the gutter of each road direction. This is a tad irritating when coming from the south (Addenbrookes Cyclepath Link and the Bridge Cyclepath) as people cycling are dropped into the road. It's infuriating the other way as, for about a minutes worth of riding, people cycling have to cross the main carriageway, twice.

Admittedly, if coming from the north along Francis Crick Avenue, people cycling would naturally come along that side of the road. But if they are going to continue along the cyclepaths they will cross at some point, so why not at the start of this section.

Here's a clip showing exactly how this appears.

The obvious point here is that whilst the developments where happening at roughly the same time, why was the through-provision considered at all? Cambridge is one of the cycling hubs of this country. If it's not got right here, what hope the rest of the country?