City Deal Workshop 1B: Gilbert Road to King Hedges Road

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The second of the six ‘workshops‘ organised by Richard Preston (GCCD Project manager) concerns the proposed road layout for Histon Road between Gilbert Road and Kings Hedges Road.

Once again the workshop focusses on the highway and main junction designs. This includes allocated space for cyclists, pedestrians and bus lanes.

The inclusion of bus lanes remains a contentious issue. Land acquisition to facilitate the inclusion of projected bus lanes is opposed by local residents.

The Gilbert Road – Histon Road junction is a key feature of the proposed redesign.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign favour a ‘dutch style’ proposal which provides a safer and more advanced solution to that already proposed by City Deal consultants WSP.

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This workshop is scheduled for Monday 31st October  from 18.30 – 21.00pm at Shirley School. CB4

A limited number of places at each workshop are available for local residents.

Please contact James Rickett, Chair HRARA:  histonroadara@gmail.com

 

Lilian Rundblad, local resident and vice chair of HRARA provides a brief commentary and background to some of the issues:

 Histon Road is a residential road with the southern part closest to the city centre and more of a narrow city street from Victoria/Huntingdon/Histon Junction to Gilbert Road.  The northern side is more of a sub-urban residential road with listed trees and rows of trees and verges from Gilbert Road to Kings Hedges Road.

The northern part needs great improvement for separated wider footpaths and cycle lanes on both sides of the road and that is the prime focus.  There is no room for bus-lanes since there is greater urgency for walking and cycling.  

Trees should form a safe zone for cyclists and pedestrians against motorised traffic. Children, elderly, wheelchair/mobility scooters, parents and carers with pushchairs need drop kerbs and safe places to cross in particular to reach the buses as well as keeping contacts with friends on both sides of Histon road.

All the bus stops should be in vicinity of pedestrian crossings and have shelters on both sides of the road.  The street crossings should have signs or sound for disability persons to use.  

The Warwick Road/Histon Road crossing where many school children pass on route to school should be the Dutch style protected junction. (See design above – courtesy of Matthew Danish CCC). 

There should be no front garden acquisitions for any bus-lane.

Improved crossing by Kings Hedges/Histon Road involving prioritized signals for buses and cyclists.

Better solutions for decreasing travel time for the buses:

  •  No cash payments on buses.  Create a website and app to purchase tickets

  •  Implement smart ticketing for public transports, car parking and cycle hire to facilitate multi-modal journeys

  • Implement Smart Traffic Management making all traffic lights responsive to traffic flows and prioritising emergency service vehicles and buses without widening or building new roads

  • Re-route Citi8 bus in Histon/Impington to speed up travel time

  • New buses using separate entry and departure doors to facilitate faster flow of passenger

Environment

  •  The streetscape with trees articulates a sense of place and provides aesthetic interest, better air, better drainage, and lower flood risk.  They have a considerable amenity value during the seasons.

  •  Air and noise pollution statistics should be analysed and presented at the LLF meeting.

 

Borrowdale Crossing Update

There is currently no pedestrian crossing between the two bus stops on the Histon Road by Borrowdale (the only cycle and pedestrian cut through to Arbury between Gilbert Road and Roseford Road).

In 2015 local councillors applied for, and were awarded, a local highways improvement grant to install a pedestrian crossing at this point. However, this was not installed, in part, ironically, as there is a speed camera nearby.

Following representations at the 8 August meeting local residents met with the County Council, Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Cllr Mike Todd–Jones to look at options for this location.

Unfortunately the Highway Projects and Road Safety Manager that was due to attend could not make the meeting in the end. A further site meeting is being scheduled. Any local people with an interest in supporting a crossing in this location should contact the Histon Road Residents Association.

The bus stops are located immediately adjacent to some flats that are run by the City Council’s City Homes. A number of them are homes to people with disabilities. A local resident who uses a wheelchair joined the discussions when residents met by the roadside. He pointed out that as there is no dropped curb here it makes it especially dangerous for wheelchair uses to cross the Histon Road between the bus stops here.

As the City Deal’s objectives include prioritising pedestrians, cyclists and bus use we will look to explore how improvements to the Histon Road can be made at this point.

Liz Hughes

 

Since this meeting a further meeting at the site was held on October 12th and it was decided that the Crossing point will be raised at the Histon Road Workshop on October 31st as part of the City Deal.

An LHI bid will be drafted to improve the crossing point by introduction of a drop curb on the Castle side and the Borrowdale side should include improved cycle and pedestrian route by the gated area.

Lilian Ruthblad

 

Histon Road Design Workshops

On the 13th of September 2016 Richard Preston, as the project manager for the Histon Road ‘City Deal’ scheme, invited local ‘stakeholders’ to a series of six design workshops to:

‘help inform and influence the design of measures to improve bus, cycling and walking trips along Histon Road’

‘challenge key aspects of the scheme ahead of any firm decisions being taken’

‘consider any necessary measures to mitigate the impact of the scheme’

Following the earlier public ‘Consultation’ by  WSP – Parsons Brinckerhoff revised options for Histon Road and have been presented to the City Deal Executive Board for further appraisal.

The main issues for considerations are contained within the Interim Options Report (PDF, 44 KB)

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The first Workshop scheduled for Monday 17th October 2016 focusses on the main road design considerations for  Histon Road from Victoria Road to Gilbert Road.

Public space

Public health, safety and environmental concerns are paramount. It is hoped, as with the Milton Road scheme, that independent environmental and urban design consultants including architects are employed at every stage of the scheme. Regardless of the intentions of the WSP traffic consultants to establish their aims to improve transportation along Histon Road there is little to inspire confidence that their efforts will, in real terms, improve the lives of local people.

WSP address ‘pedestrian’ concerns thus:

‘To give greater priority to cycle and pedestrian movements across side roads and to create opportunities for localised street scape enhancement

To replace aging signal equipment and to enhance the convenience of transverse cycling and walking trips

It is expected that most footway surfaces will be disrupted by construction work and utility service diversions which creates the opportunity to strengthen and resurface footways to achieve a higher standard of finish to improvement conditions for pedestrians, particularly those with less/limited mobility’

Local councillors have expressed a need for ‘greening’ along the FULL length of Histon Road:
‘Recommends mature tree planting and green landscaping will be implemented and integrated alongside the carriageway along the full length of the road, reflecting and improving the existing public amenity.’

Suggested considerations:

Residents should  further be afforded the opportunity to view and comment upon proposed designs, materials and landscaping.

Enhancement of the junctions and streetscape around the Histon Road shopping parade at the Windsor Road/Histon Road junction.

Histon Road Cemetery provides a green lung and focal point for residents and should be sympathetically augmented by any road scheme or urban landscaping.

Installation of a road crossing close to the passageway alongside Bermuda terrace. This is a popular and well used ‘desire line’ for pedestrians and cyclists in each direction.

Late night weight restrictions on heavy vehicles using Histon Road in the same manner as Victoria Road.

Read public responses to the ‘City Deal’ proposals for Histon Road here.

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Victoria Road Closure.

In order to alleviate congestion and smooth the flow of busses it has been proposed, somewhat controversially, to regulate the flow of traffic into Victoria Road from Histon Road in both directions. This may include restrictions and potential closure. A redesign at the Histon Road/Victoria Road/ Huntingdon Road junction will have major ramifications for all road users including local residents and businesses.

According to WSP:

‘Despite a generally negative response, it is felt that the access restrictions at the Histon Road/Victoria Road junction are pivotal to achieving reliable and reduced bus journey times and improving conditions for cycling. Therefore these measures should be retained in the designs.’

Local Cambridge Labour Councillors support the Victoria Road closure with some reservation and that the proposals require:

‘ further modelling of the proposed permanent closure of the Victoria Road junction to vehicles other than buses and cycles turning left into Victoria Road from Histon Road and turning right out of Victoria Road into Histon Road, including the option of free vehicular access outside of peak hours.’

Residents Parking

According to WSP’s interim report:

The idea of removing carriageway parking on the southern section of Histon Road has received a reasonable level of support although it would impact on some local residents and businesses. Therefore, it is considered that this idea should be developed further for future consultation, including parking management proposals to mitigate the impact on current users.’

The ‘support’ to which WSP refer to in their report (‘57% in support, 31% opposed‘) is based upon the response to their public consultation from all respondents and not necessarily from those that currently make use of the residents parking provision.

The issue of  vehicular parking and/or access arrangements for residents has arisen with some regularity. It is the County Councils  policy to manage the parking provision according to the needs of local residents and businesses. The most recent public consultation (early 2014) by Cambridgeshire Council Highways Services confirmed by a majority view the retention of the current parking arrangements.

In response to the City Deal consultation  local Councillors have stated:

‘The narrow and primarily residential nature of this section of Histon Road is better suited to advisory cycle lanes and the retention of on street parking, albeit during off peak hours’.

Off peak parking for residents and businesses would potentially mitigate the current proposals put forward by WSP.

Cycling provision and speed reduction  

The WSP proposals are as follows:

Consideration given to using 1.5m advisory cycle lane in either direction – however, this would leave only 5.4m for both traffic lanes. One of the design principles for this scheme is that the minimum traffic lane width should be 3.0m. Further investigation is required to determine whether a 5.4m carriageway for traffic would be acceptable. Further investigation to be given to requirement for/type of speed reduction measures needed to compliment current proposals as to use in combination with 1.5m advisory cycle lanes & 5.4m carriageway.

These reflect the position expressed by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign in their response to the City Deal ‘Consultation’:

Aldi to Victoria Rd: we accept 1.5m advisory lanes on both sides due to limited width. Speed limit here should be 20mph to reflect increased risks to people cycling due to proximity to traffic.’

‘Advisory’ cycle lanes are in themselves an unsatisfactory solution. Separation from traffic is essential to provide a safe environment suited to all cyclists. Compromise on such a new scheme is an unacceptable solution.

A traffic speed reduction is also suggested for this section of Histon Road by the local pressure group Smarter Cambridge Transport:

‘Where the cycle lane is adjacent to the carriageway, the road speed limit should not be more than 30mph, and not more than 20mph where the cycle lane is less than 1.5m wide.’

Local residents cycle in large numbers. However their routes or ‘desire lines’ follow a whole variety of pleasant local paths, parks and side roads either side of Histon Road.

Cycling provision within Cambridge should, rather than promote piecemeal solutions, focus funds on supporting safer more inclusive cycle routes.

A reduction in traffic speed  is desirable regardless of the cycling issue.

There is little to differentiate, in real terms, the Southern stretch of Histon Road from Victoria Road. It remains a narrow street composed in the most part of older style Victorian residential houses and falls, in part, within the Castle Hill Conservation Area.


The Aldi  ‘junction’
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The Aldi supermarket is a popular destination for both local people and residents city wide.
Increasingly there is a cause for concern. The cluster of businesses situated in the location has created a hive of activity. Pedestrian safety is increasingly compromised.

Given the proximity to turnings and space available there appears to be some difficulty in installing a pedestrian crossing close to the Aldi.  However WSP, in their interim revision report have said :  ‘This idea will be explored as part of the next design stage’.

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Bus lanes

There are no bus lanes planned for Histon Road South of Gilbert Road. However this particular subject is likely to be a bone of contention for later Workshops.

Design Workshop schedule:

Monday 17th October 2016 – Workshop 1A Victoria Road to Gilbert Road
Monday 31st October 2016 – Workshop 1B North of Gilbert Road to Kings Hedges Road
Highway and main junctions design considerations. Bus lane lengths.

Monday 7th November 2016 – Workshop 2A Victoria Road to Gilbert Road
Monday 14th November 2016 – Workshop 2B North of Gilbert Road to Kings Hedges Road
Detailed design issues: Side road junctions, bus stops, landscape materials,
local traffic/parking issues, crossings,drainage, street furniture.

Monday 28th November 2016 – Review Workshop
Key Elements i.e. Victoria Road junction. Bus lane.

Monday 5th December 2016 -Mitigation Workshop
Local parking issues.

All workshops are conducted from 18.30 to 21.00.

For further information please contact either:
James Rickett or  Lillian Rundblad
histonroadara@gmail.com

 

City Deal LLFs – Update

The Greater Cambridge City Deal website has been updated to include notes, minutes and agendas pertaining to the current Local Liaison Forums and Workshops.

http://www.gccitydeal.co.uk/citydeal/info/2/transport/10/local_liaison_fora

This provides the current documents relating to local discussions regarding the Histon Road City Deal proposals.

Local Resident Associations provided a joint statement (below) to the Histon Road LLF and which was brought to the attention of the ‘City Deal’ Executive board by Cllr. Scutt at their most recent meeting.

‘In accepting co-option on to the Histon Road LLF, the Histon Road Area, the Benson Area and the Windsor Road Residents Associations
are not to be taken as endorsing the “Do Maximum” Histon Road proposal and its terms, including acceptance of bus-lanes at the expense of front yards, trees and verges. The residents associations are willing to participate in the Local Liasion Forum and contribute local knowledge and experience to its workshops on this understanding.’

Lilian Rundblad (Histon Road Area Residents Association) Anna Crutchley (Benson Area Residents Association) Mary Wheater (Windsor Road Residents Association)

City Congestion Survey

Have you completed the current ‘City Deal’ survey on peak time traffic congestion in Cambridge?

Does the idea of peak time road closures rock your boat?

How will the proposals affect your normal travel arrangements within the city?

The Greater Cambridge City Deal Board are keen to hear your views and ‘travel stories’.

Use the on line link below to ‘have your say’.

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/5GK2S/

 

The potential benefits of the peak time closure scheme have been compared to those achieved with the existing city centre traffic arrangements.

Streetfilms Snippets – Filtered Permeability & Rising Bollards from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Histon Road Local Liaison Forum

Yesterday’s Greater Cambridge City Deal local liaison forum for Histon Road held at St Luke’s church provided a lively platform for a large number of local residents to express their fears and misgivings:

The essential premises on which the planned changes to the transport infrastructure for Histon Road are based are flawed.

Participation in the forum does not imply, in any shape or form, endorsement of the stated aims of the forum. HRARA provided a public statement to the board to that effect.

Alternative solutions to those proposed by the road engineers need to be considered.

Investing public money into additional bus lanes is highly questionable. Especially when this involves the degradation of the environment and street scene.

HRARA vice chair Lilian Rundblad has been appointed as Vice Chair for the Histon Road Local Liaison Forum.

Richard Taylor has kindly filmed the proceedings:

Public Meeting (City Deal LLF)

PUBLIC MEETING

6-9 pm Monday 8 August 2016

St. Luke’s Church Centre, corner of Victoria Road

The GC City Deal are determined to widen HISTON ROAD for a bus lane. 
We will lose GARDENS, TREES and VERGES. 

 For an interactive map and more information visit:

http://www.smartertransport.uk/histon-rd-do-maximum.php

The red area on the map demonstrates the public land, trees, verges and private gardens that will be lost in the persuit of saving, at best, a few minutes from an inward bus journey. 

As part of the City Deal, Local Liaison Forums (LLF) have been set up to listen to residents’ views. 

If you want your say about the future of Histon Road, please attend. 
 

Our natural heritage.

 

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Local residents write to Daniel Zeichner MP:

Dear Mr Zeichner

We attach a photograph of a stretch of Histon Road between Roseford Road and Carisbrooke Road, which is subject to the road-widening proposals published under City Deal. These involve compulsory purchase of a portion of garden from the houses on the east side of the road. This will result in the removal of several important trees which are currently subject to preservation orders and contribute to the atmosphere and appearance of the entire road.

The oldest tree, a Lombardy poplar, towers above the houses and has a basal circumference (bole) of a surprising 18 feet. It was a mature tree of at least 30 years of age when we took up residence over 40 years ago.

The householders in the affected area are few in number, and do not have the collective voice to gain substantial public support, yet we feel that this support would be forthcoming if the matter is brought to light. It is for this reason that we appeal to you, as our elected representative who carries a significant voice, to add your support to our plight. Substantial amounts of public money will be involved in these proposals for this short stretch of road alone. The cost of contracting work, removing and replacing garden walls, hedges, trees, drains, street lighting, and compensation for loss of gardens, must be weighed up against the potential returns of these proposals: i.e. a possible 3-minute shortening of bus journeys.

Yours sincerely

John and Molly Sneddon
312 Histon Road

SAVE THE LISTED TREES ON HISTON ROAD 


The damage to Histon road in the proposed City Deal is enormous. This represents a huge loss of green space and trees, including peoples front gardens. One of the residents is Molly Sneddon who told me about the listed tree in her front garden. Their home was originally a Market Nursery Garden surrounded by a hedge of Poplars and when they moved in some 40 years ago their poplar was already as tall as today. Soon after they moved in they received an enforced Tree Preservation Order TPO from Shire Hall and had to have a permission from the preservation officer every time they had to ensure the safety of the tree. The officers have recently judged that the tree is more than 100 years old. But in the City Deal proposal a part of Mollys garden including the listed tree will be acquired for the tarmac of the bus lane. It is not only the destruction of the tree that is a worry but also the water damage it might cause since the front garden is in a high water table area. Molly and her husband have written several letters to councillors and MP but have had limited replies regarding their objection to destroy the listed poplar and the effect on the local area. The listed poplar has now been decorated with Yellow Ribbons to raise awareness of the danger to its 100 years life cycle by Molly and her daughter.

Lilian Ruthblad

Histon Road Local Liaison Forum – Public Meeting

The next Histon Road Local Liaison Forum will take place on Monday the 8th of August
from 6-9pm in Ramsey hall, at St Luke’s Church. 

The meeting is open to the public but any public speaking will be at the discretion of the Chairman: Cllr. Mike Todd-Jones. 

 A copy of the agenda, terms of reference, and other LLF documents are available at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/citydeal/info/2/transport/10/local_liaison_fora