Much has been said locally about 'The Chisolm Trail'.
The idea is that we could connect the for the most part good Guided Bus cycle route (when its not flooded...) with the South of Cambridge is a good one. No one could disapprove the concept of linking the new Chesterton railway station to the City (although I'd argue this trail fails to do so), nor would anyone say that safe, direct cycling to the Science Park from Cambridge Station isn't beneficial. Good on you Cambridge Cycle Campaign for this idea. But lets take a step back and ask what this is really for.
In the cold light of day we've got to to work every day. That might mean Arbury Road, where most vehicles are travelling well above 30mph,
looking to squeeze cyclists into parked vehicles. It might mean Milton
Road, where if I want to go straight on at the roundabout I’ve got to
negotiate my way out of the cycle lane into fast moving traffic that
wants to turn left, right through me. It could be Histon Road, where the shockinly narrow cycle lane provides no protection whatsoever from articulated lorries as they thunder by. Or the claustrophobically narrow Mill Road, on which Cambridgeshire Constabulary have publically given up policing the speed limit. These big project cycle routes are
great, but please can we get back to an emphasis on making ALL routes
safe for cyclists in this city? Cambridge has many access points from many directions and we're getting het up over something that largely skirts around the outside of the city?
The route of the Chisolm Trail can be thought of as a bypass for cyclists. It isn't taking us into the City Centre, its not directing us to most of the University departments of collegest (and the University is our largest employer). Its taking cyclists around the city from the station to the Science Park. And for those living out in, say, Petersfield or Romsey it'll be a lovely way to go to such locations without at any stage giving them access to the shops or employment of the city centre.
We’re meant to be a great cycling city, and by British standards we
are. But globally? Until ‘Cambridge’ can be named in the same breath as
‘Assen’ or ‘Copenhagen’ then we’ve got nothing to boast about. What I’m
missing from schemes such as this is how we intend to make safe,
efficient, enjoyable cycling the norm on ALL of our roads. Good luck
with the Chisolm trail, but please, a little reality check, a little
reminder that we need safety for the rest of our roads. Lets have less emphasis on 'big ticket' cycling projects, why aren't we claiming ALL of the roads for safer cycling?
The Chisolm Tail is a creative way of explouting a potential route that is potentially there. The fact is, unless you're on that route, its not very helpful.