On Wednesday 29 April, The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will consider the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our transport network.
We were disappointed by the papers presented to the Combined Authority’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee as there was only minimal mention of cycling, and nothing about it being a vital means of transport for essential journeys, particularly for key workers.
Cities as diverse as Auckland, Bogotá, Berlin, Milan, Paris and Oakland are all installing temporary infrastructure to ensure that people cycling and walking can maintain safe physical distancing while also being protected from motor traffic. Towns and cities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough should be on this list too, as global leaders in sustainable transport.
Most of our members live in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, where we have seen a sharp reduction in motor traffic and consequent improvement in air quality. However, the empty car lanes have incited a corresponding increase in excessive speeding, which still leaves many people afraid to walk or cycle in spite of there being more room for them.
We are concerned that as the months press on, many people will turn to driving in order to avoid public transport. Congestion and air pollution will worsen again, and roads will become more dangerous for cycling and walking. The consequence would be an unnecessary burden on the NHS, and it would potentially undermine the future of the CAM programme of integrated transport.
We’ve made a submission to be read out to the committee to ask “what steps will the Combined Authority take to reallocate space to enable and encourage cycling and walking during the pandemic period? This is vital to ensuring that key workers and others can make their essential journeys safely by sustainable means while maintaining the recommended 2m distance from others.”
We also extended an invitation to the mayor and members of the Combined Authority board to engage via video-conference with other city, district and county councillors as well as road safety stakeholders, including Camcycle, to discuss ideas for temporary measures to improve safety and compliance with physical distancing guidelines.
Camcycle believes that people in the Cambridge region need spaces to breathe to allow them to stay safe, happy and healthy. See our Spaces to Breathe page to find out more about our campaign.