By Isabelle Lewis, age 15:
Any envisaged proposal for the NUGC, including the vital importance for a safe and sustainable transport scheme that actually works, should provide evidence to address key safety issues concerning the village of Great Chesterford and its residents. The is particularly important as a standout feature of the proposal is the idea that nearly everyone is going to be either using public transport or walking or cycling to commute.
However, this giant proposed shift to sustainable transport has no evidence to back it up, and there are few expanding employment options within 2 miles of the new town and none for which a sustainable transport option would be feasible for the vast majority of people. And, honestly, the likely microscopic number of people who will use sustainable transport is going to go right down once winter and the ice, rain and snow comes. No one likes cycling in a snowstorm in the dark, uphill.
For the New Town schoolchildren in the first years there will not be a local school for them to go to, even if Uttlesford make it a priority. This means that they will have to walk or bike to school but they can’t go to Chesterford as its already packed. This leads these children having to travel to other schools in the area and to do that by anything other than car or bus will be dangerous.
The New Town developers and the UDC have proposed a “safe and sustainable” transport route for cyclists and pedestrians from the new town to Great Chesterford station (that is the orange line on the map below). We carried out our own transport survey to estimate the current amount of traffic and what that means for the safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Speed and traffic volume have been consistent factors in road safety. Whilst the UDC say there are no rat runs around Great Chesterford, we have evidence to show that the amount of traffic on an average summer day is considerable on the proposed “sustainable transport route” to Great Chesterford station.
The illustration below shows the number of cars per minute and the direction of their travel on a typical day between 8am and 9am. As you can see, children going to school or adults going to work on this new proposed transport route even today face considerable challenges negotiating this rat run safely. The rate of passing cars equals more than one car every 10 seconds even in a single direction and most of them are over the speed limit.
To get to the station the new town residents will need to negotiate the following in their initial years, in addition to building site traffic. You can clearly see that people will be at risk. In reality there will be more cars on the road.