Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Delays to motor traffic at busway crossing in St Ives

This week's Hunts Post ( 6 August, page 6) has a letter form a St Ives residents whose commute by car to Bar Hill is seriously slowed by traffic queues cause by the busway traffic lights on Harrison Way.

The letter writer thinks that there should have been a bridge or subway for pedestrians and cyclists. He suggests (1) installing traffic lights at the Meadow Lane roundabout giving priority to traffic on the bypass rather than traffic emerging from the town centre, and (2) allowing southbound traffic to use the Town Bridge at peak hours.


  1. The thing is now, they have altered the height of the traffic sensor going back into St Ives from the Busway, so when I and all the other cyclists could easily trigger it by cycling up there, we can't do it no longer. :(

    So we are all stuck at the crossing which waits for a natural gap to appear, which at 6 pm is a slow process. One evening this week, people on bikes were queuing round the corner cause there were so many of us!

    Its all about putting the motorist first!

    It needs a foot bridge or something.

    1. Agree. A bridge would be a good idea. Subway definitely not! The lights take ages to change for pedestrians or cyclists, but change immediately for buses. Is it worth contacting our county councillors to ask for the pedestrian/cycle crossing response time to be speeded up?

  2. Alan Mitchelson in the Hunts Post letter was complaining of delays to motorists.

    Kevin complains of delays to cyclists, and thinks he has a right to pass through the Guided Buses Only signs so he gets through quicker, perhaps not considering who else he is delaying by his actions, or why it is set-up as it is? Such action only provides ammunition to the anti-cycling population.

    Every change of the lights has to have a few seconds where nobody can go to allow a safety margin for clearing the crossing.

    This means that if this crossing is the bottleneck, the maximum number of movements per hour is achieved by the fewest changes (= slow change = long waits). However, this has to be set against what is a reasonable wait time.

    If your aim is to minimise the number of person-minutes of delay, then giving priority to buses which mostly have many more people in them than either cars, or bicycles, achieves that, and this is what the authorities have decided to do.

    This crossing has other hazards that many do not appreciate.

    - The road has a long gentle curve, so pedestrians, cyclist, and bus drivers coming out of town cannot see vehicles approaching the lights from the south until those vehicles are almost at the lights.
    - The pedestrian /cycle crossing is quite a long way from the lights at the south side of the crossing.
    These 2 points necessitate a longer than usual delay between the lights turning red for the road users, and the crossing lights turning green.

    Many pedestrians/cyclists don't wait for the crossing light to turn green.
    I have witnessed a collision between a car and a cyclist on the crossing which would not have occurred if the cyclist had waited for the crossing light to turn green first. The cyclist thought it was clear, but did not notice the car still just entering the very long crossing. Thankfully there was no injury on this occasion.

    I had an uncomfortable experience recently when cycling across the crossing from town towards the busway. I waited for the green light on the crossing. I also noted a bus coming over the crossing towards town. But as I started to cross the bus turned right, straight across the crossing which had a green light for pedestrians, and I had to make a hasty crossing as it came towards me! There are "Ahead only" signs for the buses approaching from the busway, but this bus driver, seemed to think they did not apply to him.
    I reported this as a safety issue to the County Council. They promptly replied that they would ask the bus companies to remind their drivers not to turn right there.

    I can agree with you all that a footbridge (not a subway - it would flood!) would solve most of the problems.

    I believe a similar potential hazard exists at Swavesey, where empty Whippet buses often return from St Ives, and turn right into Swavesey (to their depot) across a pedestrian crossing that may have a green light for pedestrians.

    Indeed the same could occur at almost any crossing along the busway if buses need to turn off the busway if it has been closed due to an incident.


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