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UK's first Dutch-style roundabout gets go-ahead

Roundabout drawing

Cambridge is to get what the local authority says is the UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout.

The proposed roundabout design in Cambridge has parallel priority crossings on each arm and a ring around the edge to enable pedestrians and cyclists to have priority over motor traffic.

These roundabouts have already been trialled at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which found that in general all users thought the design was safe, although there were some concerns about understanding of priorities.

The roundabout on the outskirts of Cambridge is at a site where there has historically been a lot of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. The area will also see more use through employment growth, including the nearby Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The County Council is working to lift the already high levels of cycling up to a mode share of 40% of all journeys in the city, not only to manage traffic congestion, but also for other benefits such as public health and air quality.

The scheme for Fendon Road roundabout has had initial designs done by Skanska and Cambridgeshire County Council. It is hoped that the Dutch Cycling Embassy will support the detailed design.

“I visited the TRL trial of a Dutch roundabout some years ago, and have also used them on visits to the Netherlands. Some of the principles around slowing down traffic and tightening geometry at roundabouts were used on a nearby scheme in Cambridge at Perne Road/Radegund Road, and we have seen a dramatic drop in accidents at this site,” said Cambridgeshire County Council’s major infrastructure delivery team leader for cycling projects Mike Davies.

“We have also introduced two parallel priority crossings (cycling zebras) in Cambridge this year, which seem to be operating well as efficient crossings to allow traffic to keep flowing whilst giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists. For Queen Edith’s Way roundabout we’ll be combining the geometric changes at Perne Road/Radegund Road with priority for pedestrians and cycles used on parallel priority crossings into a package that seems to mimic the Dutch style roundabout employed in built up areas with lower speeds, rather than on the edges of cities where generally cyclists give way to cars or have separate bridges or underpasses.

“We consulted on a preliminary layout, which will be tweaked through the detailed design process.”

The roundabout is part of a £1.425M development for improvements along Queen Edith’s Way that has been approved by councillors, although this part of the scheme will cost around £450,000.

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