City Deal Business Letter

Dear City Deal Executive Board Members and Assembly Members,

We, the undersigned, are representatives of small and large businesses located along the A10 corridor between Cambridge and Royston. Collectively, we employ many hundreds of people, most of whom drive to work.

We wish to encourage our employees to travel to work by active modes whenever possible. But we cannot expect them to do so in great numbers without the infrastructure in place that makes people feel safe while walking or cycling. Cycling in particular has the potential to play an important role in managing congestion in our region and thereby maintaining its economic growth.

South Cambridgeshire is currently the rural district with the highest rate of residents cycling to work in England. The latest Travel for Cambridgeshire survey, which covers many employers in South Cambridgeshire, showed that the modal share for cycling to work was 23% and walking was 7%. The average distance travelled by bicycle was over 3.5 miles. Given that some of these were short trips within Cambridge, it is clear that many people are quite happy to cycle 5 miles or more to get to work if the conditions are right.

Even with these high rates of cycling, there is undoubtedly still a large untapped demand. We know this because our employees tell us so. And we have seen it in places where safe and continuous facilities are provided, like the Genome path and the northern Guided Busway cycle track. Each of these has over 1,000 cycling trips per day, many of which would not have taken place without the paths.

Traffic modelling data that underpins the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Transport Strategy and informs its policy of facilitating modal shift along the A10 away from vehicle use, tells us that if we do nothing the A10 will become gridlocked. Over the last couple of years, we have seen some improvements including a one kilometre section of widened off-road path between Foxton and Shepreth and the Trumpington Meadows path connecting to Hauxton that avoids the M11 roundabout.

However, we have yet to make the leap to a joined-up network that would enable the sorts of journeys needed to help mitigate growing road congestion. Indeed an effective network would eliminate the sorts of barriers that put people off cycling, like narrow shared paths, fast roads and dangerous junctions. Department for Transport grants and Section 106 funding will, we hope, continue to make a contribution, but are unlikely to complete the job.

One such barrier is the A10/A505 junction on the county boundary. This dangerous roundabout effectively prevents active travel between Royston and Cambridgeshire. The County Councils of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have been cooperating on a solution to join up the networks of paths on each side with a bridge. Both Royston and South Cambridgeshire are within the LEP. The economic benefits of such a link would be huge.

The Greater Cambridge City Deal is able to bring about projects like this and is therefore able to achieve a complete and transformative network along the whole corridor.

We hope that the City Deal, from the very start, will be able to help provide excellent cycling infrastructure along the A10 corridor that will support the economic growth of our region.