However, there are a number of improvements which are needed to encourage people to cycle and walk instead of using their cars, in line with the Council’s stated aims:
- The main issue is connecting the development to the rest of Ely. The document states that there is ‘already a good level of existing pedestrian and cycle access that would facilitate walking and cycling from the development and local amenities and facilities’. It lists Downham Road as example because it is part of a Sustrans route. We strongly disagree with this and the current very low rates of cycling in Ely support our point. The two major routes from the development into Ely are Downham Road and Lynn Road. Both have no cycle paths at all and they have fast traffic and high levels of traffic. The plans should therefore include the creation of segregated cycle paths on both roads designed to Dutch standards (see our strategy for details: http://elycycle.org.uk/
strategy/segregated-provision/ ). In order to encourage people to leave their cars at home, children, teenagers and adults from the new development should be able to cycle to Ely College and to the city centre and the station.
- Access to the development: There also need to be safe access points to and from the development. We suggest at least two traffic light controlled crossings on Cam Drive. One to link with the existing cycle path which crosses Wissey Way to give safe access to the college and to the Lantern primary school and a second one further east to link with Stour Green and the cycle path towards Dalton Way (and onwards to the city centre). A safe access point on Lynn Road, north of Cam Drive will also be essential. Cyclists and pedestrians are already struggling to cross the road to get to Spring Meadows Primary School and the increase in traffic the new development will bring will make it even more dangerous. We suggest a traffic light controlled crossing to link with the shared use path near Bentham Way. These crossings have to link up with segregated cycle paths within the new development and of course they are another reason for segregated cycle paths on Lynn Road and Cam Drive to allow cyclists to travel further.
- Shared space for residential streets. We are very concerned about this proposal as the shared space will quite likely become dominated by motor traffic and car parking. This area should be redesigned with segregated pavements and cycle paths.
- Primary and secondary roads: Currently the proposal has shared use pavements. These are not acceptable. Shared use footpaths and pavements create unnecessary conflict between pedestrian and cyclists. They should be replaced with segregated pedestrian and cycle provision. The current proposals give a lot of space to the shared paths so segregating them should be no problem. Segregated pavements and cycle paths are essential for these roads. Cycle paths have to be continous and must have priority over side roads, i.e. cycling has to be easier than driving in order to encourage people and to make them feel save on their bikes.
We hope you take our suggestions on board and we would be more than happy to discuss any questions you might have. The alternative is 5000 more cars clogging up our roads and trying to find a parking space in the city centre…
The planning documents can be read and commented on here – http://pa.eastcambs.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MSWRT6GG07G00