In a roundabout way, leader believes right decision made on Ely crossing
- Credit: Grovemere Ltd
Council leader Anna Bailey says the pedestrian crossing to be built during the £800,000 redevelopment of Lancaster Way roundabout, Ely, “is the right and legal outcome”.
She said: “I think personally this is a good news story and will offer improved cycling infrastructure.”
Cllr Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, was responding to suggestions that an alternative crossing that was suggested had been ignored during a consultation.
The possibility of replacing the proposed Toucan crossing with a Pegasus crossing had been agreed by a county council highways committee.
But with funding provided, mainly, by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA), and with a contribution from East Cambs Council, the county council was excluded from the final decision.
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“To be honest I don’t know why it ever went to highways committee - it didn't have a role,” said Cllr Bailey.
The county council was, however, and Cllr Bailey agreed, commissioned by CAPCA and her own council to conduct a public survey.
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Commissioned by CAPCA and East Cambs council to undertake a public survey.
Horse riders and cycling groups wanted a Pegasus crossing to the western arm of the roundabout – which would have given horse riders some control over it. The type of crossing was named after Pegasus, the mythical winged horse.
But a special study undertaken by the county council following last November’s highways committee came down firmly in favour of a Toucan crossing on the eastern arm, towards the BP roundabout.
Cllr Bailey said if they had gone ahead with the Pegasus crossing it would have been more expensive but crucially the lack of equine infrastructure such as bridleways would have made it unlawful.
“It is not within the law to provide an equine crossing where there is no infrastructure; we would have needed bridleways each side,” she said.
During a consultation last year, it was confirmed that two nearby stables require users to cross the roundabout in order to access public rights of way
Cllr Bailey said ultimately, she wanted a bridge or underpass under the A10 for cyclists and pedestrians.
She said it was important to remember “the whole thing was done to mitigate Lancaster Way roundabout”.
Hundreds use the park every day and good access was vital, she said.
Between July and September last year, the county council conducted a consultation, with over half (56 per cent) of 200 respondents opposed to the Lancaster Way roundabout proposals.
A council report found that “it was clear that there were concerns about the lack of improvements for cyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians, particularly for crossing the roundabout.
“There were also concerns that the proposals offered no improvements to congestion in the area”.
However, councillors were told that studies had shown that capacity improvements at the Lancaster Way roundabout “would also unlock further benefits” of the improvements to the BP roundabout.
The road will be widened to accommodate two lane entries on the A142 Witchford Road arm of the roundabout.
On Lancaster Way, the two-lane approach is extended further into the business park.
Mayor James Palmer is confident “suggestions from the public” have been included in the overall improvements.
"Feedback resulted in the plans being changed to include a Toucan crossing on the eastern arm of the roundabout, on the A142 towards Ely,” he said.
These reflected ideas from the public about how the journey could be made better for people walking or cycling to Lancaster Way business park.
He believes the new signal-controlled crossing will “improve continuity of the existing pedestrian and cycle route, connecting to shared-use paths”.
And he feels it takes on board the latest ‘active travel’ guidance from the government.
“Lancaster Way business park is a keystone for the economic growth of Ely and East Cambridgeshire, and getting traffic moving more freely round there will unlock huge benefits for Ely and way beyond,” he said.
“We’ve listened carefully to what locals who really know this area had to say about the plans and I’m pleased that their insight means the result will be both people-driven and people-friendly.”
Mayor Palmer said expansion of the Lancaster Way park is expected to generate over 2,500 jobs, with threequarters of these likely to be filled by people living locally.
Four-way temporary traffic lights will be in place on the A142 / Lancaster Way roundabout while work is carried out.
There will also be a temporary road closure on Witchford Road just south of its junction with Stirling Way, 24/7 for the duration of the project.
A temporary 40 mph speed limit will also be in place on the A142 approaches to the roundabout.
The works are expected to last up until the end of April, with five nights at the end of the programme involving full overnight road closures for resurfacing and road markings.