Consultation: The cycle path

This page forms part of the public consultation which runs until December 14, 2018. We want your ideas so that we can together create a wonderful garden for the Clay Farm community.

Currently (October 2018) the garden is mostly a 'blank canvas'. Its area is outlined in red below. The garden is split by Hobson Avenue running north-south. It will also be split by a cycleway (to be constructed) running east-west following the line of the gas main (solid purple).

In the area between the dashed purple lines ('the easement') planting is limited according to this guidance document.


We believe that the cycle path will have a chicane design at each end to slow cyclists at junction points. Here are some questions about the cycle path:

  • How can the design ensure safety at the Hobson Road crossing?
  • What should the four entrances/exits be like? Designs are being drawn up for arches, watch this space for drawings coming soon.
  • What garden features should there be along the cycle path’s route?
  • Should there be lighting?

What other questions occur to you about the cycle path, and what answers can you offer?

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11 thoughts on “Consultation: The cycle path”

  1. Given the burglaries in the neighbourhood and incidents along the busway cyclecpath and other paths, good visibility (including lighting and no hidden areas – e.g. behind bushes) is essential.
    The cyclists should to be forced to slow down as peatons may be in the garden.

  2. Good visibility is essential without intruding on the nearby houses. Movement lamps on building? Cats eye lighting as a minimum on the bike path.
    The surface should be durable and not liable to flooding or turning to mud in bad weather.
    There should be some kind of measure to slow down cyclists and prevent children running straight into the road when crossing from one side to the other, but to allow enough space for cycles with baggage or Bakfiets to pass through.
    The rest of the enclosure should ensure that footpath users go through the pathway entrances not through any fence/hedging.
    Extra speed retarding on Hobson Road to slow down traffic.
    If it is possible to make slightly winding paths this would slow down potentially speeding cyclists.
    The 4 entrances could be archways to support climbing plants (scented, flowering or colourful leaves).

  3. The perimeter does need to prevent people coming onto the garden from all directions, the pathway and the entrances need to be very clearly the way in and out. So some impressive and beautiful arches with the name of the garden visible would help make this clear.

    Lighting needs to be good enough for cyclists to feel safe and to discourage any anti-social shenanigans but with minimum impact on wildlife. I suspect this is a tricky balance.

    Cyclists should feel that they are in a GARDEN that is primarily for pedestrians and their behaviour should therefore be that of a secondary user. Curved paths and perhaps some raised beds rather than hedging along the route of the path could reinforce this.

  4. I think that the cycle path should be a route that cyclists take if they are not in a hurry, but want to enjoy going through a garden area. It should not be primarily a short cut or ‘rat run’ for someone coming down the path beside the chicken plots aiming for Paragon or Addenbrooke’s.
    If there are bends in the path, and an assumption that pedestrians take precedence, this might mean that cyclists familiar with the options would choose to go down Hobson’s Avenue if they are in a hurry.
    Maybe it shouldn’t be designated as a cycle path, but just a path!

  5. As a regular cyclist I am always pleased to hear about new routes, but share Philippa Slatter’s concern that it may become too popular. Therefore I would prefer narrow and meandering with stony rather than asphalt surfacing so that it is used mainly by locals/people wanting access to the site itself.

  6. I also like the idea of a meandering cycle path which will reduce the ‘rat run’ or the introduction of measures to slow cyclists down (bumps, narrower parts, raised borders).
    There are some low level ‘street lights’ in Clay Farm Drive (by the hedge) which would be effective without causing as much light pollution than the high level street lighting?
    I query the use of stones (although I fully appreciate and understand the sentiment) as this may deter the younger kids using this route? I am perhaps not visualising the stones properly, I suspect there are many different types of stony surface available.

  7. There should be a gate at the busway end of the garden and where the garden crosses Hobson Road. Not sure that one is needed where it joins the allotment area. The cycle path must have a chicane so that cyclists do not travel too speedily through the garden. Raised beds along the cycle path would create a barrier and prevent small children rushing across the cycle way. Low level lighting would be welcome as the area near the busway is very dark. In addition, there will need to be gates across the cycle way to allow access to the building and other parts of the site.

  8. Camcycle is a volunteer-led charity with over 1,300 members that works for more, better and safer cycling and walking for all ages and abilities in the Cambridge region. We have been asked to respond to this consultation for a walking and cycling route via the Clay Farm Garden.

    Under the Equality Act of 2010, there is a duty to ensure that pathways must be safe and usable by all intended users, whether they be walking or riding a bike, trike, cargo cycle, recumbent cycle, tandem cycle, handcycle, adapted cycle or mobility scooter. Furthermore, the city has policies to promote walking and cycling, and pathways should comply with those policies through high-quality design that respects people walking and cycling.

    The goal, as always, is to create good, healthy and attractive places for people where everyone is welcome, whether they be on foot, using a mobility device or cycling.

    Therefore, dangerous and illegal barriers such as ‘chicanes’ must be removed from any route intended for people cycling. A chicane is a type of checkpoint that only allows passage of confident and agile cyclists while threatening serious injury to hesitant or less able riders, and it causes unnecessary conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. Crossing points with roads should use standard designs that are widely deployed and used all around Cambridge by thousands of people every day without incident. The configuration of this particular site is reminiscent of the recently-approved Jubilee Cycleway through Wing Development (S/1004/18/RM), which will cross two primary streets in a similar manner: using an informal crossing at a section of narrowed carriageway.

    Please consult either ‘Designing for Cycle Traffic’ (Parkin, 2018) or Interim Advice Note 195/16 (Highways England, 2016) for the details of crossings and geometric design of cycle routes.

    For our full letter please see the link https://www.camcycle.org.uk/images/blog/2018dec_clay_farm_garden_path.pdf

    Thank you.

    • hi Matthew, thank you very much for your detailed comments.
      I would disagree only on one detail in your full letter, where you suggest a grassed area several metres wide alongside the path on both sides, to facilitate keeping the path open if and when the path gets dug up to work on the gas main. My reasoning is that this completely prevents any interesting/varied garden design in something like 10-15% of the total garden space available. It’s clear that a substantial grassed area is needed, but that should be an area suitable for holding events (rather than long strips).
      If the path does ever need digging up (and hopefully that is extremely rare) then the path should simply be closed – there is an alternative route available via Hobson Avenue close by anyway.
      However open areas without visual obstruction near the exits/entrances definitely make sense as you say.

  9. The path should be 3m wide so bikes/prams/wheelbarrows/whatever can coexist in comfort. There’s plenty of space. And with a good surface for cycling on, including fast. I really don’t agree with other comments about slowing cyclists by making them swerve around or cope with a loose stony surface.
    It turns out on closer inspection that the design already attempts to slow traffic on Hobson Avenue (restricted width at the crossing) and to slow bikes (detour away from the line of the gas main as it approaches Hobson Ave, on both E & W sides.) This explains the unexpected positioning of those Sheffield bike stands on the W side – they’re correct after all. I spoke to a CPL chap there the other day who explained that. He also said they’re thinking of a gently curving cycle path rather than a sharp detour: I like that. NB The hedging could extend into the easement, towards the crossing.
    Visibility will be critical for safety at that crossing.

  10. The original plan envisages a fence along both sides of the cycle path. That would be highly inconvenient for gardeners working the site.
    It needs to be easy to get between north and south parts, across the cycle path with a wheelbarrow, all the way along the path. Simply putting gates in a fence does not fix that (no matter how many gates).
    In the absence of a fence we should consider which garden features line the path. Cannot be trees in the easement. However discussions with CPL (IIRC) suggested raised beds might be acceptable in the easement. If constructed similarly these could work to visually link the garden together along its disjointed length and perhaps address some of the concerns of those who want the garden to look formal and designed. Would need to consider carefully how far from the path they could be, and with reflector strips on the vertical corners to make sure they were visible to nighttime cyclists. I suggest these raised beds should be about 1m wide and 5m long (internal dimensions) and various heights and spaced about 2m apart.
    I hope the four entrances along the cycle path can have similar artwork, again linking the garden together visually. Something similar in form to the bird screens by the lake? (And incidentally aim to add a similar entrance at the new allotments.) The entrances along Hobson Avenue are at a crossroads – maybe these are the right places for a noticeboard? Or a produce swap table? Or a compostable waste collecting bin? If so let’s build that into the design of the artworks.

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