MILTON ROAD BUS PRIORITY SCHEME RECOMMENDATIONS

Findings from the initial City Deal consultation on Milton Road were published on 24th May, and the reports can be downloaded from the City Deal website (see links on right). There was a briefing session for residents' associations, etc., and a video is available on Richard Taylor's YouTube page. The consultants are recommending a modified form of the 'Do Something' option:

  • A three-lane carriageway with a single bus lane, mostly on the City-bound side of the road.
  • A single 'tidal' bus lane was considered but rejected by the consultants
  • Major junctions will have a bus lane leading into the junction for both inbound and outbound directions.
  • Floating bus stops wherever possible.
  • Cycleways on both sides.
  • Replacement of the Elizabeth Way roundabout with a signalled junction.
  • No vehicular access to Union Lane, but no other banning of turns at junctions.

The news for Mitcham's Corner is mixed. The junction is now a focus of interest for both the City Deal and for local planners, but the cost and complexity of making the required changes to the road system mean that Mitcham's Corner is unlikely to be included in this phase of City Deal projects. It is proposed instead that the Corner should be included within the second tranche of projects, i.e. after 2020. This, it is argued, will give time for detailed modelling and the development of a Master Plan for the area; it will also enable any changes to be coordinated with City-wide highway developments arising from the just-published Cambridge Access Study.

The City Deal will consider the report's recommendations in two meetings, on the 2nd and 9th of June see our News listings for details of these meetings. The Executive Board will decide which ideas to take forward, and there will be a second round of consultation in November or December 2016.

Background – the City Deal

The Greater Cambridge City Deal was signed by Central Government, the City Council, Cambs and South Cambs County Councils, local businesses and the University of Cambridge, and aims to invest hundreds of millions of pounds of government money in transport infrastructure and housing. The first tranche of 100 million will be for transport improvements over the next five years. For more on the City Deal see www.gccitydeal.co.uk.

First round of consultation: main features

The Milton Road Bus Priority Scheme is a 20+ million project to "make travelling by bus more reliable and travelling by bike and on foot easier and safer, in order to avoid congestion". The Milton Road scheme – and a similar one for Histon Road – have been included in the first phase of the City Deal. Further details are provided on the City Deal website (see links on right), but the key points are as follows:

  • improved and additional bus lanes to make buses more reliable and quicker (at present 40% of buses run late)
  • traffic lights to give priority to buses
  • changes to junctions and replacement of Elizabeth Way roundabout with traffic lights (see below)
  • separate cycleways to improve safety
  • improved pavements
  • loss of some parking spaces in the short term – to be replaced later
  • it is hoped these measures will stabilise or reduce car traffic and reduce congestion.

Two options were proposed for discussion. 'Do Maximum' involves building a bus lane on each side of Milton Road, whereas 'Do Something' only proposes a single bus lane (into the City). A schematic cross section of the more ambitious scheme is shown below; this would require using considerable 'land outside the highway', with the loss of verges and trees. The consultation claims to be open to alternative ideas.

Cross section of Milton Road showing bus lanes

The 'Do Something' option

The 'Do Something' option for Milton Road

 

The 'Do Maximum' option

The 'Do Maximum' option for Milton Road

Proposals for Mitcham's Corner and for junctions on Milton Road

The scheme does not offer any major benefits to Mitcham's Corner. There would be "measures to improve cycling and walking movements throughout the junction" but the gyratory system would remain. It appears this issue is being shelved for future action by the City Council; the Milton Road scheme would merely "seek to integrate transport improvements on Milton Road with City Council led future proposals for Mitcham's Corner. These include possible highway changes to create an improved and more friendly public space."

Both of the options include significant changes to junctions on Milton Road which are likely to have negative effects on local residents:

  • replace Elizabeth Way roundabout with traffic lights
  • close Highworth Avenue to motor vehicles (access via Leys Road)
  • close Union Lane to motor vehicles
  • ban southbound vehicles from turning right into Gilbert Road or into Arbury Road
  • ban northbound vehicles from turning left into Kings Hedges Road.
The Milton Road scheme