Petitioning Chairman, Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board Francis Burkitt and 1 other

Please progress the Comberton Greenway for walking/cycling/horses, but make it busway free

The petition :

1) We the undersigned support the concept of using the Wimpole Way from Cambridge to create a (predominantly) motorised vehicle free route to Comberton via Coton and Hardwick, and wish to encourage the Greater Cambridge Partnership to support and progress this particular Greenway route as swiftly as possible.

2) As far as is practicable this route should be optimised for walking, cycling and horse riding, in addition to providing an important wildlife corridor between the city and neighbouring villages.

3) In order to meet these aims, and be suitable for use by children and less confident cyclists; we believe that this route should avoid off-road busways, light-rail and roads with speed limits > 20mph.

4) Given items 2 & 3; it is important that the Comberton Greenway is considered now, before the preferred route for the Cambourne busway is selected and put forward for further public consultation, because both schemes are considering using the same green corridor between Cambridge and Coton, through the West Fields.

 

Background information for readers :

The Comberton Greenway, is one of 12 walking/cycling/equestrian Greenway routes being considered by the Greater Cambridge Partnership. Initially just the routes to Fulbourn and Waterbeach have been put forward to public consultation, with the remaining 10 due for public consultation before the end of 2019.

The Greenways are hard surfaced, all-weather paths. Preferably these are on attractive routes away from traffic which provide wildlife corridors and a chance for users to connect with nature. Where they follow roads, the roads must be quiet, ideally with 20mph limits. Where busy roads must be crossed, safe means of crossing are to be provided.

The proposed route for the Comberton Greenway uses the existing, nationally recognised, Wimpole Way from the historic centre of Cambridge, via Coton to Hardwick. From Hardwick it is proposed that the route then leaves the Wimpole Way and makes a direct line to Comberton.  Links to other villages such as Caldecote, Toft and Little Eversden (possibly even Bourn Airfield and Cambourne) are being considered as potential extensions to the proposed Greenway.

Given that Comberton is a major village, which hosts a number of services used by surrounding villages such as the local Secondary school, doctor's surgery, dentist's practice and sports centre, the Comberton Greenway is as valuable for providing a route to Comberton as it is for providing a route to the University's West site and central Cambridge. Combined with the growth of employment and housing to the west of Cambridge, the Comberton Greenway has the potential to be a critical link in Cambridgeshire's cycling infrastructure.

The Wimpole Way itself is a popular walking and cycling route used by local residents, students and visitors alike. From the city centre it runs through the Backs, past the University Library, up Adam's road, across the West Fields, past the University's West site and then onto Coton, Hardwick and eventually Wimpole. A map of the route can be found on visitcambridge.org. This route is also part of the Harcamlow Way, and Greenwich Meridian Trail. The Harcamlow Way is a 227km long distance walking route through sites of historic interest in Cambridge, Essex and Hertfordshire. The Greenwich Meridian Trail is a 439km route from Peacehaven in East Sussex to Sand le Mere in East Yorkshire, following the line of the Prime Meridian. Done correctly, the Greenway will be an enhancement to all of these routes and increase the levels of usage.

Although busways often have an adjacent cycling surface, such routes are generally only suitable for confident cyclists, who wish to get from A to B quickly. Whilst there is no doubt that the route alongside the St Ives guided busway is well used, it is likely that a busway free cycling route would see higher utilisation, particularly by the young and less confident. The main issue here is that outside of built-up areas, buses move more quickly, and the blast/suction of air on cyclists is at best unpleasant, and at worst dangerous. Given that the buses are infrequent, it is also easy for the unobservant and/or young to be unaware of approaching buses. In addition, such routes tend by their nature to be relatively straight and uninteresting for those cycling along them. An off-road walking/cycling/equestrian route on it's own is therefore far preferable to one run alongside a busway.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently considering two main route options for the Cambourne busway to get into Cambridge. The first follows the A428 and A1303 (Madingley Road) to get into Cambridge, using priority bus measures/lanes to ensure rapid and reliable transport. The second is a more expensive off-road route, past Coton and through the West Fields to get onto Grange Road. It is the latter of these two options which potentially clashes/overlaps with the proposed Comberton Greenway. Other routes have been suggested for the Cambourne busway, for example along the north of the A428 to the Girton Interchange, however these alternatives are not currently on the table.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Chairman, Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board
    Francis Burkitt
  • Chairman, Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly
    Cllr Kevin Price

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