Arbury Road. Its longish, its straighish, its got a 20mph limit but, basically, its a racetrack, on which motons gun their engines to get as fast as possible from one inevitable hold up to the next. Its a killer road. And the only reason it doesn't figure even higher in the list of dangerous roads for cycling in Cambridge is because so few people dare to venture on to it, at least compared with other roads in this city.
Its not the first plan we've seen to 'improve' it for cycling and, in fairness, this is marginally better than the last pile of crap, which was notable mostly for its total lack of imagination and for swiping some of the cash to re-surface some pavements across a park on the pretext it might make them slightly less bollock shaking to ride on. I came up with some suggestions for doing things rather better, which are here and here, but in summary there's a simple way of making a wide, safe, fast route parallel to most of the stretch of Arbury Road thats being looked at, and no one seems to have the nouse to see whats already there on the ground.
The new plans are linked to in three glorious PDF files here. And yeah, they're sort of better, but they're still shit - the plan, in its full colour entirity, completely misses the point.
For a start, they only deal with the North end of Arbury Road - which means the long, straight stretch blighted with parked cars isn't covered by this. Whats the bloody point of making half a road better? We need to make this route appealing to commute all the way down, to connect with anticipated better facilities on Milton Road. Any cycle journey is only as good as its most hostile section, so why the hell leave half of Arbury Road just as hostile as it is now?
I cannot stress enough just how bloody stupid this is - yeah, it'll be a nice touch to make the other end of Arbury Road better, but there's -no need- to put on-road cycle lanes along much of that when there's ample space off road (as described in my suggestions linked to above) to create a truly, fully segregated facility. I don't care for a 1.8m or 2.5m cycle path on road when I can have a better one off road - and there is ample space for that all the way from Campkin Road to the School.
By all means spend money on the frankly terrifying junctions. But for the love of handlebars why the hell are we doing nothing along the Southern end of Arbury Road?
Give us an off-road route as I've outlined North of the Campkin Road junction, and real segregated cycle lanes along the South of the road. Yes, that'll mean losing some car parking, but it'll also mean its safe to cycle. And this scheme saves the hedges on Arbury Road, the Hedges of Kings Hedges. The official one doesn't.
Anything less than that? Then this isn't a scheme for cyclists, its a scheme to appease the guilt of councillors.