“I don’t cycle with my children to school because there are always cars in the cycle lanes and I don’t trust the way people drive round here,” was a comment we heard from a local parent this week. And yet, prioritising the needs of car drivers is still seen in streets near schools across the city such as Nuffield Road. There is also much to be done to influence the layout of new developments and we have recently responded to consultations on a new primary school in Histon and Impington and another near the Newmarket Road Park and Ride (read more in the upcoming August-September issue of our magazine).
Encouraging cycling and walking to school must go hand-in-hand with disincentives to drive, or at the very least, measures to encourage parents to park further away from the school and walk the last section of their journey. A study published in Feburary 2018 by the environmental law organisation Client Earth revealed that 60% of parents surveyed want traffic diverted away from school gates at the beginning and end of the school day and another report by Living Streets showed that three in ten parents are put off walking to school by poor air quality.
Inspired by these figures, and by successful exclusion-zone schemes around schools in areas such as Solihull, Croydon and Edinburgh, next week Councillor Noel Kavanagh, cycling champion at Cambridgeshire County Council, will propose a motion that a no-car zone be trialled around three primary schools in Cambridge for a period of 18 months. We encourage you to contact your local councillor to support this motion. You can find and contact the County Councillor for your area at https://www.writetothem.com/