Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hills Road Bridge Guided Bus works

Just been speaking to the Guided Bus team about a number of issues with the Guided Bus works on Hills Road. The local press have presented this as a traffic nightmare causing complete chaos, I'm not sure it is quite as bad as all that, and the disruption needs to be put into the context of a major improvement to the public transport and cycling infrastructure in South Cambridge.


On the issue of the narrow traffic lanes - these have apparantly been designed such that cars should not be overtaking cyclists. At the moment there is a choice for cyclists between keeping close to the left and making an invitable dodgy overtaking manouvre as safe as possible, and cycling in the middle of the carriageway and risking the ire of impatient motorists. In view of my conversation, I think the latter is the best approach, and I hope that signage or other measures can be taken to ensure cars, taxis and buses understand the situation. For very slow cyclists, I think walking up the pavement might be a sensible second best solution. The signs on the southbound approach concerning cyclists also appear very misleading in view of the advice, so hopefully these can be looked at.

I have also reported the area of new tarmc in the middle of the Brooklands Av/Hills Rd junction, as the hole + ridge combination could be dangerous for cyclists coming off the bridge - hopefully this can be fixed.

I confirmed the working hours - the generally permitted hours are 7am to 7pm Mon-Fri + Sat morning, with some late night/Sunday working by arrangement. I have to say on some of the times I've crossed the bridge recently there hasn't appeared to have been a lot of work going on (although it could be all happening under the bridge...). In view of the disruption, it would be nice to think everything possible was being done to reduce the time taken.

Finally, for a project like this where road conditions change rapidly and there are lots of concerns, I think the Council's standard 2 week response time for emails is just too slow - I hope this can be speeded up in future...

UPDATE: Just seen what looked like a couple of PCSO's stopping people for cycling on the pavement over Hills Road bridge, so to re-iterate this isn't an acceptable option, although I can't help feeling the risk to cyclists on the road from other vehicles is the key safety problem here! The misleading signs also appear to have been taken down.


reader said...

I don't think it makes much sense to allow cyclists on the traffic lane at times a single lane is available for two-directional traffic since slow cyclists + prohibition/inability to overtake them means that very few vehicles make it over the bridge in each direction every time the light opens for them. Cyclists should be required to walk over the bridge via the pedestrian sidewalk as I do when cycling. Also single lane restrictions continue way past 7 pm. Finally how can it take 11 months to widen a bridge with 20 m span

Chris Howell said...

The single lane working is causing problems generally - it is tricky to advise cyclists but if you are fast and confident, staying on the road may be the best plan, slow or unconfident, walking on the footpath is probably better for all concerned. I've asked the Council to look in to if it is necessary for the single lane working to happen for such extended periods of time...