Peterborough Parkway improvement or threat?

A Parkway improvement or threat, asks the civic society
A Parkway improvement or threat, asks the civic society

Front page news in the Peterborough Telegraph on August 15th was of plans for a ‘New £24m junction to open up the university,’ writes Toby Wood, of teh Peterborough Civic Society.

What exactly are these plans, where have they come from and have Peterborough citizens got any say in it?

No detailed plans or even a diagram are available and all we have seen is a description in a report presented to the regional discussion/advisory group, England’s Economic Heartland (EEH). This body was set up to promote and coordinate work on the corridor between Swindon and Peterborough/Cambridge. In a discussion document (Major Road Network and Large Local Majors Programme of Investment) it is listed as one of 11 priority projects with a budget of £24.6m to be carried out between April 2023 and April 2024. The proposed scheme will provide direct access to the Embankment from the A1139, Frank Perkins Parkway between Boongate interchange and the River Nene bridge. It will have: ‘north facing on and off slips from the A1139 which will connect to both Bishops Road and Potters Way’.

There are a number of issues raised by the scheme. The most obvious problem is: how does southbound traffic access or leave the university site if only north facing slip roads are provided?

Traffic exiting the site would be able to use the Boongate interchange, to go south, which is conveniently close but the same cannot be said for traffic entering the site. They would have to go to the Stanground slip road, negotiate the fire station roundabout and go back onto the parkway in a northerly direction, via another roundabout and slip road, a round trip of about two miles.

One of the least satisfactory features of our generally superb parkways is where slip roads are too close together, leading to vehicles criss-crossing at high speeds in short distances; for example on Nene Parkway at the Oundle Road slip-roads. Any exit slip road from the Embankment site would meet Frank Perkin’s Parkway very close to the start of the slip road down to Boongate, one of the busiest on the whole system, which occasionally backs up to the parkway.

It is stated in the transport strategy and by others in the press that the additional slip roads will reduce congestion on the parkway but this opinion ignores the cause of that congestion which is normally a result of slow-moving traffic on the two Boongate roundabouts. What is required is a freeing up of traffic on Boongate itself.

So where did this proposal come from? Yet again no public consultation has been conducted on this significant scheme which is of great interest to Peterborough citizens. We have been told that design is the responsibility of the combined authority and from statements reported in the press by Mayor Palmer this is likely to be where the idea for the slip roads came from. Therefore, any comments the public may wish to make should probably be addressed in that direction.

As well as the England’s Economic Heartland document, Outline Transport Strategy, a consultation is underway on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Transport Plan by the combined authority. There is a brief mention there of improved highway access to the Parkway system for the university site but no specifics of how this is to be achieved or when. Readers can comment; on-line, by email and post. The Civic Society will be sending comments and is happy to hear your views on the plan. Consultation on this plan will close on September 27.