Transport links to the east of Cambridge are particularly poor, so it’s good to see the Greater Cambridge Partnership turn its attention in that direction. The options under consideration are difficult to view and interpret online, so here’s a quick overview.
There are proposals to reconfigure bus lanes and junctions on Newmarket Rd to reduce capacity for general traffic. This is the first time we’ve seen specific measures to achieve this. Removal of the pedestrian subway from Elizabeth Way roundabout is on the cards. (Let’s see this put out to a design competition so we get something inspiring there!) A new cycleway would link Barnwell Rd with the Chisholm Trail.
There is an option to relocate Newmarket Road Park and Ride to the east of Airport Way. Five years ago, Smarter Cambridge Transport would have endorsed this. Now we believe P&R has had its day – except for longer-distance visitors and tourists, who need an airport-style transfer to the city at the Girton Interchange.
Longer-term proposals look at where to route buses (and eventually CAM vehicles) from the Stow-cum-Quy A14 interchange via the airport site (due to be redeveloped when Marshall’s moves, possibly to Cranfield). In one option, buses travel via Coldhams Lane and Brooks Rd; in the other, via a new busway along the route of The Tins cycle/footway. In both cases buses would continue along Mill Rd, whereas CAM would go underground to Cambridge station. Provision for cycling along Coldhams Lane and Brooks Rd would also be improved (difficult without rebuilding the narrow railway bridge).
Rail improvements include double-tracking the Newmarket railway line (as part of East West Rail) and adding stations near Coldhams Lane, Fulbourn and Six Mile Bottom.
An option proposed by Smarter Cambridge Transport, but seemingly not evaluated, is to re-route the railway line to Newmarket further to the north, either via the airport, re-joining east of Fulbourn; or along part of the old Mildenhall line north of Barnwell and via the Swaffhams. That would free up the existing line through Cherry Hinton for a higher frequency rail or CAM service.
The consultation closes on 14 December.
This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 4 November 2020.