Thursday, July 9, 2009

Guided Bus Update

This week there was a meeting of the Guided Bus Southern liaison forum, with a few topics of interest to Coleridge raised.

The mobile CCTV on the bridge was discussed. This was hard fought for, and a lack of communication between the Guided Bus team and the City Council nearly meant it didn't happen, but in the event turned out to be as good as useless. The cameras weren't appropriately positioned to monitor the types of problems we wanted to monitor, and the warning signs were all but invisible rendering it useless as a deterrent. I am still trying to get to the bottom of these issues. There was also an incident on the bridge at the start of June in which a young person was seriously injured - currently subject to a police investigation, but when that is concluded, there will be more questions to answer...

There was an estimate of the final date for the removal of the roadworks on Hills Road Bridge - mid September. It is obviously very disappointing that these works have overrun, but hopefully the end is now in sight. A more interesting question is how the bridge is re-instated. I made it clear that residents will be expecting a high quality finish to the road (some contractors seem to think it is acceptable to fill trenches with blobs of plastercine after they have been working on the road - I don't want this to happen here, although the Milton Road re-instatement does seem to be of high quality). More controversially, the County Council is considering trialling a scheme on the bridge to include only one lane going on to the bridge in each direction, widening to two lanes coming off the bridge, to allow space for a wider cycle lane. I think this idea has a lot of merit, (particularly to help cyclists who are currently very vulnerable on the bridge), but could be controversial. If the Council are going to trial this measure, the best time to start the trial is when the roadworks are finally removed, but I would be interested to know what any local residents think about these plans.

Finally, there are some major changes about to happen outside the station to allow the Guided Bus works up to the station to be carried out. The short stay car park will close on 20th July, and move to a new short stay car park. Works for the guideway in the signal box area have commenced, and road construction is underway.

No word yet on final opening date for the southern section - it sounds like there are still major engineering challenges in the Trumpington cutting, where a high pressure gas main under the route needs to be protected by shielding it with concrete, before putting the guideway on top, so full opening will be next year. There is however a good chance of buses running from the station to Addenbrokes earlier, in which case I will be pressing for as much of the cycle route as possible to be open as soon as it is ready.

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