Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

Tale of two bridges..

Today was the official opening of the £3million pound Riverside Bridge in Cambridge, Partially funded by Tesco through a s106 agreement on its Newmarket Road store (All we know is that £1.7million came from 3rd party sources). Isn’t it crazy that the exact amounts are not easily publicly available and that it seems council policy to obfuscate the data.

The bridge is interesting as that it bifurcates into separate lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, although my bet is that pedestrians will use the cycle lane when its wet and slippy. It contains a rather flash and expensive looking seating arrangement. There isa selection of photos on my flickr account.

Here is the Cutter Ferry bridge just upstream of the glittering new landmark, replaced a couple of years ago (including all the bridge supports etc). Precise cost not known but the year that it was included in the County Council (2003/04) budget we know that the TOTAL spend on ALL bridges in the county was £2.6million pounds so its fair to assume that it probably only cost £500K or so. (Although once again were do you find the information?).

So is the new bridge value for money or would the other £2.5m or so been spent on other cycling bridge initiative’s in Cambridge? and when are we going to get meaningful transparency in local government budgets!

Making a splash..

Today at Noon was the official start to my swimming season here in Cambridge with the Jesus Green pool opening. The water was at a balmy 51°F a couple of degrees warmer than last year.

Geoff making a splash

I managed 2 lengths (Sally did 4). Jordan, the reporter was there from the Cambridge News and he reckons our pictures should hit the presses this Friday.

The cost for the season is £52.50 with my residents leisure card! Full set of pictures are on Flickr

Kings Parade lighting – again

As a follow on from my December post on Kings Parade lighting. I’m pleased to record a bit of progress.

Whilst doing one of my experimental Cambridge Walks (this mornings was to try and walk from the railway station to the river and back without seeing any modern shops and using all the old passageways and parks) we happened to see one of the first modern street lights on Kings Parade.
modern light in dayTop of lampModern light at night
Seems a big improvement on this:

Old light
All though, it has to be said the lighting, for such an historic street, is still a chaotic mess. Why does Great St. Marys church require 4 huge high intensity lamp standards? Maybe we should go and remove ALL street lighting and silly posts marking the end of parking bays (surely they can be screwed to walls or the kerb?) installed after 1970 thus saving the council large amounts of money and cleaning up the street!

Turning off the candles.

Quentin took this fine picture of Kings Parade in Cambridge. Which had me thinking about the current state of street lighting on Kings Parade. Especially after Cathy and I visited the Shire Hall a few years ago to complain about the new columns.

Richardson Street Light

A bit of history first, In 1957 the new Richardson lights were installed, These were custom designed for the City of Cambridge by Sir Albert Richardson and custom-made by REVO some 64 columns and 26 wall mounted candles were made, Trinity street is still illuminated solely by them and they give the city a unique presence at night.

However, our council decided that Kings Parade needed improving! The key starting point was the Cambridge Lighting Strategy document which arose out of a consultation session in1997. This began the investigation of possible street scape & lighting improvements for King’s Parade.

The Kings Parade Street scape Improvement scheme was approved in Jan 1998 but no decision could be reached on the lighting and so the county council installed standard steel columns, allegedly as a temporary measure because Cambridge needed brighter lighting than the Richardson lights could deliver (although to my knowledge Kings Parade hadn’t suffered from excessive muggings etc in the previous 40 years)

However, the council remains committed to finding better designed lighting as these March 2005 minutes show

commitee meeting

Minutes of a 25th October 2007 meeting show the lights still to be on the agenda with Cllr Holland asking questions.

I await to see what the council decide to waste our money on. IMHO I would just remove the ugly steel columns and leave the candles in, I would imagine they could easily be refurbished.