A Cambridge Infrastructure Safari

On a snowy and bitterly cold day last weekend, the Embassy had the pleasure of being taken on a Infrastructure Safari around Cambridge by the city's Cycle Campaign, along with other cycling bloggers and campaigners.

We saw some excellent connecting links, joining up parts of the network. Bridges provided safe, comfortable routes across large roads, and across rivers.

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There were good connecting links away from roads too. DSCN9845 DSCN9856

... including the new guided busway, which has a parallel service road that makes an excellent connecting link for cycling.DSCN9804

There was plenty of filtered permeability, creating useful, pleasant routes for cycling on streets that had little or no motor traffic. DSCN9776 DSCN9730 DSCN9778

Many city centre streets were largely free of motor traffic, with bicycle access maintained on a number of streets. DSCN9870 DSCN9877 DSCN9879 DSCN9880

It seemed to us that you can make your way around Cambridge in reasonable comfort and safety, using a network of separate routes, links and genuinely 'quiet' residential streets.

The next big issue, however - and one acknowledged by Cambridge Cycling Campaign - is that of cycling on the main roads of Cambridge. Our impression was that the experience of cycling on these roads in Cambridge is no better than on main roads elsewhere. DSCN9765 DSCN9798 DSCN9763 DSCN9835 DSCN9840 DSCN9859 DSCN9888

Provision on these roads was often non-existent, or limited to the (legal) use of pavements, as you can see in several of these photographs.

Creating good conditions for cycling on these main roads is important, not just because it will often be impossible to avoid using them while making journeys on the 'secondary' network, but also because they form the most useful, direct and obvious routes in their own right.

This will naturally be harder to achieve than the creation of a network that bypasses or skirts these roads, particularly in places where councils are intransigent or disinclined to spend serious money on cycling. But they have to be addressed.

Our thanks to Cambridge Cycling Campaign for an informative and enjoyable day