A road scheme in Cambridge, which would involve giving motorists ‘priority’ along a road, has been put on hold due to concerns about the behaviour of a minority of motorists.
Plans for a new Cambridge road scheme involving ‘junctions’ have been put on hold amid fears about safety and “kamikaze” motorists.
Members of the county council’s economy and environment committee had been due to sign off on the £1.8 million project for Hills Road and Huntingdon Road today but instead deferred their decision, calling for revised plans to be put before them in July.
They voted to defer by a margin of nine five despite a warning from officers that the Government money had to be spent by May and that there was a “risk” a delay could torpedo the whole scheme.
Several councillors’ concerns focused on the roads and the junctions, which would allow motorists to continue pass unimpeded, but would force pedestrians to cross the road.
The proposals were criticised by disability groups, who described them as an “accident waiting to happen”.
Councillors were unmoved by the suggestion of raising the ‘driving lane’ through the junctions and making it narrower, which would have slowed drivers and made it easier to cross.
Cllr John Williams, who represents Fulbourn, said: “I can’t tell you how often I see motorists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings.
“I don’t have any confidence motorists will give way to pedestrians moving across the junction because of what I see going on in this city with motorists. Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these junctions, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”
The junction designs were backed by about 60 per cent of respondents in a consultation which received nearly 1,700 responses, but more residents of the streets concerned were opposed than in favour.
Cllr David Jenkins, who represents Histon, told the meeting: “I’m concerned about motorists’ behaviour. It’s only a small minority, but it’s a significant small minority of ‘kamikaze’ motorists in the city and they are intolerant of other road users, and there has to be some way of policing them. Simply allowing them to have priority means less confident pedestrians will be stranded as these motorists go past.”
Other councillors spoke in favour of the project, including Castle’s Cllr John Hipkin, who argued pedestrians could make sense of the junction.
He said: “No traffic scheme can entirely discount common sense and every traffic scheme relies on common sense to make it work. I think this is a project which, on balance, I support. I full support some of the misgiving of my residents but on balance I shall support it.”