[ABD Logo]The Association of British Drivers
Local Issues — Cambridgeshire

ABD Local Representative: Sean Houlihane Email: cambridgeshire @ abd.org.uk

2007 October 8
ABD Cambridge Road Tax Blog

2007 November 19
New traffic lights in Duxford

At the T-junction of Woburn Place (leading to a closed development of houses and a couple of industrial buildings) and the A505 (the major route between Royston and the M11) as a scheme to make it look like our roads are more congested than they really are.

Up until now, the only time this road has been congested has been due to slow-moving farm vehicles and the ubiquitous Sainsbury's lorries. Being a standard, non-dual carriageway A-road, there is barely any opportunity to overtake, but the worst I have had to endure in seven years of driving this way to work is being stuck behind one of these vehicles, adding a couple of minutes onto my journey.

On Friday, the new traffic lights went live next to the airfield in Duxford. At 7.50am there was a tailback of 0.7 miles heading towards the M11.

This morning, I was stuck in first-gear traffic for 1.7 miles, taking 15 minutes to get to the traffic lights.

The only reason I can see for the traffic lights is the new brown-field development of houses around the Woburn Place junction, but this is effectively a no-through road as only a farm road heads out of the back of the development. The lights have three phases - going from the M11 is no problem as two of the three phases allow traffic to go straight on. Heading towards the M11 is a different matter, however, as only one of the phases allows you to go straight on.

Given that the T-junction serves a small residential area, it seems that this is a sledgehammer trying to crack a nut. A mini roundabout would have been sufficient to allow the new residents to get out of the side road, but it now looks like there is going to be more evidence of congestion due to all these  people queueing to get through Duxford of a morning.

2007 July 17
Congestion Charging comes to Cambridge

I'm starting to get a steady stream of enquiries about cars being damaged by speed bumps. Just as with any other loss caused by the road surface, a claim against the council is in order. When claiming, remember to remind them that there is no 'approved' style of hump, there are only guidelines. If they chose to design a road which damages your car, it is up to them to foot the bill.

An interesting quote form a Staffordshire village's web site says that 'claims against the County Council for damage to vehicle’s suspensions, steering and exhausts are being settled without dispute.

It's finally started. There are proposals to modify the 10 year plan for Cambridge to introduce congestion charging on top of all the other problems facing commuters in Cambridge. It's not definite yet, but the debate has started...

See http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/db/speedlim.nsf/index.htm?OpenForm for a list of speed limit reductions which are in progress or have been implemented. By far the most common of these are reductions from 40mph to 30mph. In general, these sections are mostly long lengths of road, with short localised hazards. There are 50mph sections, and sections which are below 30mph. Currently, a 40mph limit is a good compromise, and is likely to have a downward influence on average speed. A 30 limit is more likely to be ignored, and certainly won't increase the number of people travelling at less than 30mph in the really dangerous short sections. If you live near one of these areas, see the main ABD site for details on how to take part in the democtatic process of determining speed limits. Remember - there is a mandatory consultation process, and you have a duty to be involved!

We have a section of the website with full details here

In order to comply with the guidelines for introducing speed limits, it appears that the County Council intends to introduce sufficient obstruction into the road that average speeds drop, before implementing speed limit changes. So they are intentionally making the roads more dangerous.

From the Cambridge Evening News: Traffic jam fines are 'Mickey Mouse'. This is the most blatant anti-car measure yet. There are no sound reasons to believe that this will have a significant impact on polution, or that indeed polution is a problem. The council claim that this is only intended to be applied, for example, to buses parked at a stop for a significant period of time. We can only wait to see if this is true. A similar scheme is also being rolled out in Oxford.

Speed cameras in Cambridgeshire are supposed to be painted yellow, not obscured by trees or road furniture, and only placed at locations where there have been a significant number of accidents caused by speed in the past.

Although the City of Cambridge is set to expand, the transport infrastructure is woefully inadequate. There seems to be a desire to encourage more and more people to travel into the city, whilst at the same time preventing anyone from making that journey by car. This includes access to the DIY and domestic warehouse retail outlets, which are situated on one of the busiest and least accessible parts of the 'ring'road'.

The majority of the city centre is now inaccessible to traffic (and cyclists!) as a result of road closures, enforced in places by the infamous rising bollards which have the power to write-off any vehicle which strays into their domain, with no warning! See the letters page of the Cambridge Evening News for more details. Searching for my name should bring up a few!

The A14 has one of the worst accident reccords of all the roads in the country, which may be the justification behind the large number of speed cameras on the A14. No consideration seems to have been given to the possibility that it is the volume of traffic using the road that may be the major cause. After all, at most times of the day, it is impossible to speed on most the A14 where the cameras are located

Even though air quality in Cambridgeshire seems to be good, and improving, there seems to be a belief within the council that air quality alone is a sufficient reason to restrict car use within Cambridge.

My personal view on cycling. Note that I left the Cambridge Cycling Campaign because they assumed that my membership was a vote in favour of ther biggoted anti-car policies. We must be grateful to them though, as this was one of the factors that led me to join the ABD. As a cyclist, road safety is a key concern of mine - but I like to be able to choose when I cycle! Trafic calming is another serious safety issue, which is starting to affect my choice of route!

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