Lancaster Way Roundabout

Lancaster Way Roundabout

Lancaster Way

The County Council is holding a consultation on changes to the Lancaster Way Roundabout. The proposed changes would make walking and cycling more difficult and more dangerous. You can find the County’s explanation of the changes at

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/transport-projects/a10-a142-lancaster-way-roundabout

The deadline for your comments is 18 September. Below are Ely Cycling Campaign observations that we encourage you to check out and use for any response to the Council.

We object to the plans as outlined in this consultation for the Lancaster Way roundabout. They are poor for the reasons listed below, and the project is at risk of losing government funding if it does not comply with the cycling infrastructure requirements outlined in the government’s ‘Gear Change’ policy and Local Transport Note 1/20. Please also see the article on pages 46-47 of the Autumn 2020 (issue 148) Camcycle Magazine

https://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/148/.

Please also reference the planning application 19/01704/FUM correspondence and 6 May East Cambridgeshire Planning Meeting discussion of the inextricably linked application for changes to Lancaster Way.

Currently, the pedestrian crossing of the A142 has a central refuge with one lane of motor traffic in either direction. These plans are designed to increase the volume of motor traffic across the roundabout. They will require pedestrians and cyclists to cross a dualled lane, which is considerably more difficult and dangerous than crossing a single lane. It opens up the angle that eastbound motor drivers on the A142 need to steer around, so drivers will go even faster than they do now at the point of the crossing making the crossing more difficult and dangerous. The slackening of the angle of the turn from the westbound A142 onto Lancaster Way in the approved planning application 19/01704/FUM will allow motor drivers to take this turn faster and will make the crossing of Lancaster Way more difficult and dangerous; although not part of these plans, 19/01704/FUM in combination with these plans will synergise to make this locality hostile to pedestrians and cyclists.

We assert that it is feasible to install a controlled pedestrian and cyclist crossing on a busy rural roundabout. The Greater Cambridge Partnership is building a Toucan crossing on the A1307 by the Babraham Research Park roundabout. There is every reason to put in a controlled pedestrian and cyclist crossing at the Lancaster Way roundabout.

Here are our listed reasons why these plans are poor.

In the first place, the plans fail to satisfy the National Planning Policy Framework (February 2019) -NPPF. Paragraph 84 requires that decisions recognise that it is important to exploit any opportunity to make a location more sustainable, for example by improving the scope for access on foot, by cycling or by public transport. Paragraph 91 requires that layouts encourage walking and cycling. Paragraph 102 requires that opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport be identified and pursued. Paragraph 103 requires a genuine choice of transport modes. Paragraph 110 requires that applications for development give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring areas. These plans fail to comply with all of the above requirements. NPPF is a material consideration in planning decisions. A ‘do minimum’ scheme does not exempt it from NPPF requirements. NPPF does not provide for plans that include a commitment to provide mandated changes in a separate scheme at some time in the future.

The plans fail to satisfy the Combined Authority’s Local Transport Plan (adopted 2020) -LTP, which includes a goal of providing an accessible transport system to ensure everyone can thrive and be healthy. The plans deny this to those who would like to walk or cycle. The LTP has an objective of putting people first and promoting active lifestyles. The plans fail to put people first and hinder an active lifestyle. The LTP also has an overarching strategy that requires all new public transport and highway infrastructure be designed to include parallel cycling and walking corridors with suitable access and crossing points. The existing crossing cannot be considered adequate yet the plans make walking and cycling facilities worse and certainly do not provide parallel arrangements for active travel. A do minimum approach is not an acceptable strategy to exempt any development from LTP requirements. LTP does not provide for plans that include a commitment to provide mandated changes in a separate scheme at some time in the future.

The plans fail the District Council’s Local Plan April 2015 (LP) Strategic Objective 8, which requires greater opportunities to reduce car use. The plans promote motor vehicle use at the expense of active travel. The LP has a Strategic Vision of providing better cycling and pedestrian facilities and links. The plans make for worse cycling and pedestrian facilities. The LP has a Spatial Strategy and Policy of improving pedestrian and cycle networks between settlements. The plans go against the Spatial Strategy and Policy because they make the network worse.

The plans fail the guidance provided in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, Road Layout Design CD 116 Geometric design of roundabouts Revision 2. Paragraph 8.2 states that where there is demand or the desire to encourage pedestrians, cyclists and/or equestrians at roundabouts, these users shall be provided for.

The plans fail to comply with Local Transport Note 1/20. The introduction to Chapter 10 requires that the needs of cyclists be taken into account in the design of improved junctions and that crossings are provided where cycle routes continue across busy highways. These plans downgrade the existing crossing. The rest of Chapter 10 provides other guidance that the improved roundabout fails to follow. Table 10-2 lists out the options that even a do minimum scheme needs to follow.

The plans fail to follow the Government’s Gear Change report, which points out that increased walking and cycling can decrease motor vehicle congestion if changes are designed well enough to encourage modal shift (see report page 16). These plans are designed to achieve a modal shift away from active travel. Note that Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) are becoming popular and could be an easy way travel to and from Ely. Additionally, electrically-assisted micromobility devices (eg scooters) could help. These electrically-assisted travel options could be made more feasible by making the crossing of the A142 less difficult and less dangerous.

We do not believe that these plans will reduce congestion for very long. The A142 is a major thoroughfare for long-distance journeys. By increasing its capacity, the road will become busier with vehicles undertaking long-distance journeys. This phenomenon of induced traffic has been known since 1925 and there have been multiple confirmatory reports since. The Department of Transport Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment took evidence on trunk roads and the generation of traffic and published an authoritative report in 1994. A key conclusion from that report was that increasing road capacity quite extensively induces people to make more and longer trips although the effect varies widely according to the circumstances. The configuration of traffic flows in the Cambridgeshire road network, taking into account the upgraded A14, points to increased capacity at this roundabout increasing long-distance travel on the A142, not to shortened commuter travel times.

The plans fail to address the climate crisis. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2019 Summary for Policymakers (IPCC) shows that limiting global warming sufficiently to be manageable (1.5°C) requires rapid and far-reaching changes in transport as well as other polluting activities. Carbon dioxide emissions need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 to achieve the target. In the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Agreement as adopted in 2015 (Paris Agreement), the Government committed to a reduction of 2030 greenhouse emissions by at least 40% compared with 1990. The Cambridgeshire July 2015 Local Transport Plan provided an updated climate change target (LTP 11) of a 34% drop in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 figures by 2020. This was a target that would be compatible with IPPC but it has not been achieved. Quite the opposite. The Government has a target of stopping internal combustion engine vehicle sales but this will be in 2035 and cars new in 2035 will continue in use for at least ten years. It is clear that electrically-powered motor vehicles are not going to contribute significantly to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions for many years. Note that electrically-powered motor vehicles provide no benefit for congestion unless they are restricted in size. And they also produce particulate pollution from the braking system. These plans focus entirely on increasing the capacity for motor vehicle movements and therefore more pollution, including carbon dioxide emissions, for many years to come. Note that NPPF requires that planning decisions reflect relevant international obligations.

The LTP has an Objective of reducing emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050 to minimise the impact of transport and travel on climate change. Increasing motor vehicle capacity with schemes like these plans make even this Objective more of a challenge. Increasing motor vehicle capacity with schemes like these plans make even this Objective more of a challenge. Doing minimum now and coming back later to do it better will almost certainly cause more environment damage than doing it once, properly.

According to paragraph 7.22 of the Lancaster Way Site Wide Travel Plan (October 2010), a Section 106 Agreement requires provision of a pedestrian and cyclist crossings of both the A142 and the A10.

These plans clearly make the pedestrian and cycle crossing of the A142 near the Lancaster Way roundabout both more difficult and more dangerous. There are many regulations and guidances that require the pedestrian and cyclist crossing not be degraded and there is every reason to believe that if the crossing were improved that congestion on the road would be lessened by encouraging modal shift to active travel as well as EAPCs and maybe electrically-assisted micromobility devices. Increased road capacity will not help with congestion for very long. These plans will exacerbate pollution and run counter to climate change mitigation. The Lancaster Way Business Park developer reports a Section 106 commitment to fund a pedestrian and cyclist crossing of the A142.

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