The authorities want to build a big Park & Ride site 5-6 miles to the south-east of Cambridge, on the A11. This is aimed at giving places like Haverhill, Linton and the North Uttlesford new town (if it gets built) a fast public transport link to Addenbrookes, the Biomedical Campus and the city.
One of three options on the table (‘Strategy 3’) is that buses from this new Park & Ride site will simply travel along the A1307 (widened with a bus lane) to the front entrance of Addenbrooke’s and then into the city. But this would leave a long walk to work across the Biomedical Campus for the majority of employees and wouldn’t get anyone within 15 minutes’ walk of the new Cambridge South railway station. This is surely a non-starter.
The main two options both involve new bus-only roads. The most ambitious and expensive of these, ‘Strategy 1’, would build a 5-6 mile long bus-only road the whole way from the A11 to the western half of Biomedical Campus, skirting Sawston and Stapleford. ‘Strategy 2’ sends the buses along a bus lane next to the A1307, but from the Shelford Bottom roundabout there would be a short bus-only road across the fields to the Biomedical Campus.
Either strategy faces having to negotiate its way around an enormous elephant in the room: the new ‘bus-based metro’ for Cambridge. How will these projects integrate? Unfortunately nobody can say, because nobody – including the authorities – knows what the ‘metro’ is yet.
Is it going to be a discrete network, presumably incorporating the existing busways? Or just a series of signposts for buses? The authorities surely cannot commit to anything until they have mapped out the bigger picture.
Meanwhile, 5,000 new jobs are coming to the Biomedical Campus by the middle of next year, with no extra transport provision for them. What we need urgently are as many helpful small ideas as possible, and a positive attitude from the County Council to getting the best ones implemented, quickly. Smarter Cambridge Transport will be putting forward a list. If you’ve got any suggestions, let them know.
This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 21 March 2018.