Cyclists and pedestrians must be given greater protection during any future construction work in the city with road restrictions applied to motorists instead.
The bid to give cyclists and walkers priority over drivers comes from Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Ian Manning in his response to the consultation on the county council’s new Transport Assessment Plan for Cambridge.
He claims that often during construction work cycle lanes are obstructed or completely removed. Sometimes pedestrian and cycle lanes are merged causing conflict, he says.
Cllr Manning, the Lib Dem member for Cambridge’s East Chesterton said in his response to the assessment consultation: “I would like a clear statement that no walking or cycling provision should be made worse/reduced during the construction phase.
“If space is required it should be moved from motor vehicles not walkers or cycles. Further existing segregated walking and cycle provision should not be merged.”
Cllr Manning added later that cyclists and pedestrians were put at risk last summer when motorists were given priority during building work for the new Cambridge station.
People who used the Milton Road underpass, which was shut for a rebuild as part of the project, were forced to compete for space with motorists because the road was narrowed to house machinery needed for the work.
Cycle and bus lanes were closed and pedestrians and cyclists had to cross Milton Road twice through the works area.
“This was totally unacceptable,” said Cllr Manning. “We must avoid this happening again and the only way we can do that is to have it clear written into policy.
“We have a duty to protect vulnerable road users when construction work is taking place. We can’t leave them at the mercy of passing traffic by closing or merging their dedicated lanes.
“If a road needs to be narrowed to allow work to take place it’s the drivers who should be forced to give way.”
Cllr Manning has also flagged up the fact that although the transport assessment refers to leisure facilities, there is no specific mention of sports centres or private hire coaches that might visit them.
“These centres present their own distinct transport movements,” he said, “and as such, we should add a reference to them to assess visitor numbers and the types of sports to be played there.”