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Next stage for Milton and Histon Road schemes published

Published: Tuesday, 24th May 2016

The next stage of plans to improve bus, cycle and walking trips on two key routes into Cambridge are now available.

Public consultation on developments along Milton and Histon Roads has seen transport leads adapt parts of the proposals and respond to concerns raised by local residents.

The roads are both key routes into the city for commuters and buses travelling from nearby towns and villages as well as the Milton Park & Ride.

In their reports, officers also recommend pausing any planned improvements under the City Deal to the busy Mitcham’s Corner junction until the impact of the two schemes and other work to reduce congestion can be properly evaluated.

The work is part of a wider strategy, led by the Greater Cambridge City Deal, to support continued economic growth in the area by ensuring sufficient transport infrastructure, housing and skills are in place.

The two proposed schemes intend to make bus, cycle and walking journeys quicker, more reliable, convenient and safer, for people coming from the north and north-west of Cambridge, including Waterbeach,  Milton Park & Ride, the Science Park and new housing at Northstowe.

The schemes will work together with plans to tackle congestion in the city centre to provide shorter, more reliable and seamless trips in and out of Cambridge for those commuting from South Cambridgeshire and beyond.

Reports published today by City Deal transport officers provide an update on the consultation and outline recommended next steps on the two schemes.

A decision will be made by the City Deal Executive Board at a meeting on June 9.

Milton Road

On Milton Road, in response to feedback, officers have recommended a ‘do something’ option which will see in-bound and out-bound bus lane on major junction approaches coupled with use of intelligent traffic signals to keep buses moving and better cycleways.

This option would see segregated cycleways on both sides of the road for the majority of the route from Green End Road to Mitcham’s Corner. ‘Floating bus stops’ would be considered where space allows to avoid cyclists overtaking buses at the stops.

The Elizabeth’s Way roundabout would be replaced by traffic signals to improve safety for cyclists and Union Lane would be closed for general traffic at the Milton Road end, but officers agree previous ideas to ban right-hand turns at Gilbert Road, Arbury Road and King’s Hedges Road junctions can be ruled out.
The report says this option excludes the need for a four-lane carriageway and “offers a better balance of scheme objectives with good improvements in bus journey times coupled with opportunities for streetscape enhancement.”

This option includes removing some trees but with the opportunities to replant and improve the long-term health of the tree stock in the area.

Histon Road

On Histon Road, taking feedback into account, officers have recommended the ‘do maximum’ option because it offers greater benefits to bus journey times than the ‘do something’ option but has very little difference in the impact on the local environment.

This option would see a continuous inbound bus lane from King’s Hedges Road to Gilbert Road together with smart traffic signals, and segregated cycleways on both sides of the route between the Rackham Close junction and King’s Hedges Road with advisory cycle lanes to link to the Victoria Road junction.

The junction for Histon Road and Victoria Road could be re-designed to prevent entry to Victoria Road for general traffic and right turns for traffic into Histon Road from Victoria Road.

However, the report notes that proposals for a banned right hand turn into Warwick Road and the idea of floating bus stops should not be progressed following consultation feedback.

Tidal flow bus lanes

The idea of a ‘tidal flow’ layout which would provide a reversible bus lane which operates in the direction of the peak traffic flow has been considered but is judged as providing no additional value and with a greater visual impact due to the need for over-head signs along the length of the route.

Officers also recommend on-street parking measures to allow for displaced residents parking on the main roads and deter commuter parking on side roads.

Further consultation

A joint Local Liaison Forum for the two schemes is being established with local councillors to provide regular discussion with project managers, to ensure any developments continue to be informed by local views.

The report recommends the Executive Board to choose options that will then be developed into detailed plans for further public consultation in November and December.