Cambridge commuters support thread

(32 Posts)
1000piecepuzzle Tue 07-Nov-17 18:01:30

Another day, another queue. I commute from hardwick to fulbourn and it's just awful. A428, m11, a14 it's all fucked and will remain so until 2020. Aaaargh. Anyone else want to join me on a mutual whinge thread?

didireallysaythat Tue 07-Nov-17 19:46:10

Last 1200 miles in my car, commuting only 12 miles to and from Cambridge via the A14. Averaging 10mph. And I can do 60mph for at least 5-20 mins. So I spend a lot of time parked

1000piecepuzzle Wed 08-Nov-17 08:52:28

The M11 southbound lane closure is at least due to finish next week. My journey takes 20 mins in clear traffic but 45 - 50 mins at the moment assuming "standard" traffic. Of course at least once a week a digger falls off a lorry or similar and then we all enjoy another 30 mins+ of queueing.

Meanwhile in Cambridge the annual winter sewer collapse festival has begun, bringing joy and happiness to all for 2 weeks or more.

The most frustrating thing is that the A428 will be permanently down to one lane once the A14 is built. I don't understand that at all - why reduce capacity??? Especially when the long term plan is to dual it all the way to the A1, but then stick a pinch point in at Cambridge?

VeryPunny Wed 08-Nov-17 09:09:06

The A505 could do with being dual carrigeway as well from about Flint Cross past Duxford out to the A11. And please, for the love of all that is holy, PUT A DECENT CYCLEWAY along it. There are currently two ways to get a bike across the railway line at Whittlesford: cycle on the A505 over the bridge (no thanks, quite like being alive) or schlep it up and over the pedestrain bridge with fifteen bazillion steps*, cutting your shins to ribbons in the meantime. Once both kids are in the same place, I could mostly cycle to work but just can't at the moment because the route is just awful.

I take it everyone's done the greater city deal survey?

*may be a slight exaggeration.

StrumpersPlunkett Wed 08-Nov-17 21:53:37

I am not on that side of the city but my journey has got so much worse.
I drive across a14 at quy past the airport through Cherry Hinton to the bottom of Hills Road.
10 mins mid afternoon
35-40 during rush hour.
Argh!!

1000piecepuzzle Thu 09-Nov-17 13:29:33

Strumpers that crossing of the A14 down to Newmarket Road is bad isn't it. Sometimes I end up going around and through Wilbraham as I'm just so fed up of sitting in queues. There needs to be an eastern bypass to take people from the east side to Addenbrooks / south. Its been talked about for so long though it will never happen.

Great city deal survey done. I do like their proposals for cycleways. But there's just no recognition of the reality of needing to use cars for multiple journeys / nursery pick ups/ after school kids activities / going to the gym, etc, and the fact that public transport only helps if you want to get to the city centre. I've given up taking my kids to after school swimming lessons in Cambridge, too often we spent the entire duration of the lesson sitting in queues within a few 100 m of the pool only to turn round and go home having spent 1.5 hours in the car getting into and out of Cambridge!!

MrsMooks Thu 09-Nov-17 17:24:55

I'll join your rant! Cambourne to the science park after school drop off. Short journey of 9ish miles takes at least half an hour. I hate it.

BringOnTheScience Thu 09-Nov-17 18:20:30

A14 is as wonderful as ever this evening.

DH has been stuck at Spittals for ages. DC1 was late home from college because the bus was late. Took me 55 mins to 7 miles j33 to j29 earlier. Sigh

1000piecepuzzle Thu 16-Nov-17 22:22:38

Usual fun & games today. Madingley Road tree cutting wtf? I heard the radio saying an hour delay on the A14 Huntingdon to Cambridge. Then multiple accidents / delays on the way home.

I'm hopeful that when its all finally built, the evening commute will be really good. But in the mornings, surely the traffic will just be back to massive queuing around the Cambridge exits / science park junctions again?

Meanwhile anyone travelling to Cambridge from the east gets... nada.

There's another consultation on the Cambourne / Cambridge busway and Madingley P&R extension sites, btw, on the Greater Cambridge Partnership website. Have your say and see Coton Orchard concreted in half regardless.

BringOnTheScience Thu 16-Nov-17 23:42:16

An hour J33 to J27 this afternoon. Made me late for a meeting at Swavesey VC. I thought that 40 mins for 10 miles would be ample!

DorothyParker111 Fri 17-Nov-17 13:06:27

I'm watching this thread with interest. Do you think improved public transport is a viable option? What would that look like? Are you willing to support building in the Green Belt to deliver, for example, Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure? The comment about Coton orchard suggests perhaps not - but then what are the alternatives?

It's a hugely complicated and contentious issue, so I'm keen to hear what solutions you would like brought forward.

ClearEyesFullHearts Fri 17-Nov-17 17:49:29

Dorothy are you Heidi Allen? grin

DorothyParker111 Fri 17-Nov-17 20:51:38

I think (hope) I'd have better things to be doing with my time than posting on Mumsnet if I were Heidi Allen! I have no affiliations to a political party or any involvement with any of the bits of local government involved in this. I'm just genuinely curious as to how it's going to be possible to address the problems which PPs on this thread have described so vividly.

1000piecepuzzle Sat 18-Nov-17 01:04:06

I see you don't include journalist in your list. Sorry to be cynical but your questions are written like one. Please don't use this thread as the basis for some non-news click bait article on how mumsnetters think public transport improvement is a pile of shit.

For my part, I have never lived anywhere else so have nothing to compare to. I have no educational professional or hobby based knowledge of traffic management or public transport scenario modelling. So I have no idea how to fix it. I think if there was an easy or right solution it would have been implemented years ago. I like coton orchard and think the busway should go round not through it. I get park and ride when I visit the city centre but to go to work via bus would take 1 HR 40mins, even without delays.

What do you think the answer is?

DorothyParker111 Sat 18-Nov-17 09:43:59

Ha, not a journalist (and not a brain surgeon or a forklift truck driver or a greengrocer ...)!

I guess I am an amateur transport geek - you can check out my posting history, it's boringly consistent and one-dimensional. It's prompted by living near to an acute traffic pinchpoint in the city and being frustrated by the inadequacies of the solutions being proposed by our local authorities, the same local authorities which are simultaneously pushing for more and more growth.

My own belief is that they have to get radical - mass rapid transit, congestion charging, removing all free on-street parking - plus building at scale outside the Green Belt at the obvious transport hubs eg Whittlesford, Foxton. But I'm also aware that my views are shaped by my own journey patterns, hence why I'm interested to hear other perspectives.

BTW, I very much also agree with the comment further up the thread about solutions for multi-point journeys not being captured in transport planning. It's all still construed in terms of commuters going from A to B and back again 9 hours later. It doesn't reflect the reality of modern life, particularly modern women's lives. And that then starts to spill over into wider planning/social/economic issues - how can we recreate walkable/cycleable neighbourhoods where people are able to live substantial proportions of their lives without endlessly needing to get in the car?

But the first step is to offer some viable transport alternatives ...

VeryPunny Sat 18-Nov-17 11:33:22

I’ve seen DorothyParker about here before, so I don’t think she’s Heidi Allen grin To be fair Heidi Allen has always responded promptly and appropriately when I have emailed her.

Agree with transport hubs. We are close to Foxton and I so wish they would build a decent cycleway/footpath to it, as the country lanes don’t feel safe to cycle on with children. I do like the A10 cycleway but it’s the last 2 miles to get to it that’s no fun.

Also just me who would happily concrete over bits of the rather uninspiring countryside round here if it would make a long term improvement? Cambridge isn’t really fit for purpose atm.

DorothyParker111 Sat 18-Nov-17 13:18:43

VeryPunny that's a whole other dimension to the debate. Personally I would rather see really high-quality bio-diverse easily accessible green fingers than a mediocre mono-culture and largely inaccessible green belt. But I haven't heard anyone in a position of authority even begin to articulate that as an alternative ...

ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 18-Nov-17 13:30:19

Sorry Dorothy didn't mean to land you in it! smile

I don't think you're a journo either. I have too many local friends who are hugely interested in transportation and city planning so being a "geek" about it all is rather the norm around these parts.

I have no solutions but have found myself changing businesses in order to stay more local and avoid traffic congestion.

ThatWasThat Sun 19-Nov-17 20:45:53

I agree with Dorothy. The problem is caused by the planners creating more and more jobs in and around a medieval town. We should lobby for door to door public transport for people with mobility issues (permanent or temporary) and door to door (ish) for the rest of us. Rail and lots of small electric buses/ cycles and walking

1000piecepuzzle Sun 19-Nov-17 22:06:50

Sorry to have falsely accused you Dorothy, the C. news does have a tendency to create articles entirely from the comments on other articles on their site, especially when it comes to development/traffic problems!

If you look at it logically, there is not enough capacity on the roads for private cars. Therefore options are some combination of :

(1) Increase road capacity - dig tunnels, build flyovers, knock down streets to widen roads to two lanes both directions and create a proper ring road independent from passing A14 & M11 traffic.

(2) Reduce number of private cars -

(a) "stick" approach - remove all on-road parking, introduce congestion charge, ban diesel cars, only allowed to drive alternating days like in some cities in China

(b) "carrot" approach - build better (faster than sitting in your car), cheaper, reliable and comfortable public transport via numerous means that circumvents as well as criss-crosses the town linking to neighbouring villages and towns. Including off-road and segregated (from each other!) fast cycling and walking routes. Much more dial-a-ride style minibuses that you could book for your journey, similar to car sharing websites but less dodgy. Tax cuts to incentivise working from home / using flexible & shared local offices in each village.

Unfortunately all of these options are difficult to implement and will only become viable if/when commuting by private car becomes completely untenable. Also not all practical - can't work from home if you really are a brain surgeon! I'm not sure at what point it will become critical, but feels like somewhere in the next 10-20 years given the planned growth in the region.

A lot of the pain at the moment is simply the stacked roadworks all combining with too regular weekly bumper-car crashes to make slow but moving traffic into going nowhere for hours traffic.

BringOnTheScience Tue 21-Nov-17 18:14:55

Another good un tonight :-(
J22 westbound accident backed up onto Science Park to make the queue around the entire loop of the road! Slight shunt too within that queue. Plus spotted 3 cars shunted & stopped on the eastbound side after the original one was cleared. And still impatient idiots trying to make a 4th lane and barge through.
Entirely down to idiot drivers in the dark & rain.

Maybe everyone should have to retake their test if they cause even a minor shunt?

1000piecepuzzle Tue 21-Nov-17 21:32:31

Yes I spent a fun half hour going nowhere in that queue. Its strange how thrillingly fast 40 mph suddenly feels after you've been crawling along at 5.

cambs traffic twitter feed is pretty good for updates and for a depressing record of the accidents and roadworks!

VeryPunny Wed 22-Nov-17 10:53:52

Quite a lot of the campuses around here run their own bus services, which I think are great and would love to be able to use them (it would save me £££ in petrol and car maintenance). They're generally free or extremely highly subsidized. Whilst I would prefer that this kind of service was a public transport service available for everyone, it's still a bloody good idea and takes a huge chunk of traffic off the roads. Does AstraZeneca/the Biomedical Campus run such a fleet?

DorothyParker111 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:25:39

Punny you correctly identify the weakness in the private bus model - it undermines demand for public services, plus they only run 'full' in one direction so there's a lot of wasted miles driving empty buses around.

In extreme circumstances, it can also lead to the kind of mistrust and resentment which sets the scene for this dissection of haves and have-nots in San Francisco: www.amazon.co.uk/Throwing-Rocks-Google-Bus-Prosperity/dp/1617230170?tag=mumsnetforum-21 . But I'm sure no-one would get up to those kinds of shenanigans in Cambridge!

VeryPunny Wed 22-Nov-17 16:01:30

I read a few articles about people throwing rocks at the Google buses and thought of the Cambridge onesgrin The public sector have shown absolutely no initiative in setting up public bus routes outside of the bog standard Cambridge services so I don't really have too much sympathy. Given we live less than 8 miles from Cambridge centre, it's an absolute disgrace that we have no feasible public transport options if you work in Cambridge. Three buses a day from our village, which now go to either the Park and Ride or Addenbrooke's bus station, where you have to change. None of them would let you arrive in the centre for a 9am start.

Roll on the self driving car!

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