Cambridgeshire County Council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) consultation ends on 27 July.
Please make sure you have your say at tinyurl.com/CambsCycleNetwork
This is your chance to contribute to the future development of the active travel networks in the region and help local authorities create thriving and sustainable places for the future. Transport makes up 44% of Cambridgeshire’s carbon emissions, so creating infrastructure that will enable more people to switch more of their everyday journeys to walking and cycling will be essential to reducing the county’s carbon footprint. The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan will be used to guide spending on infrastructure across Cambridgeshire, in line with the government’s Gear Change policy on cycling published last year.
In terms of the walking and cycling network, Camcycle sees three main categories of contribution:
1) Help highlight route segments that are specified in the plan document already (view appendices in the document section of the consultation webpage for details) but need further emphasis, such as the dangerous and unimproved eastern part of Arbury Road, or the incomplete routes between Cambourne, Hardwick and Cambridge.
2) Identify missing route segments that were not mentioned specifically in the consultation document but are important, such as in the vicinity of Fulbourn and Teversham, Comberton and surrounding villages or Fenstanton to St Ives. Local knowledge is really important: what common journeys do you think are not being well-served at the moment?
3) Submit issues with sections of the existing active travel network that currently exist but will not cope well with increased usage, such as the narrow Chesterton-side approach to the Riverside bridge, the Toucan crossings of Victoria Avenue between Midsummer Common and Jesus Green, and the various highway crossings along the Busway route.
With regard to the plan itself (see pdf file in the Documents section), points to make include:
1) The LCWIP is not ambitious enough to achieve the government’s Gear Change policy goal of having half of all journeys in urban areas be walked or cycled.
The LCWIP’s stated goal of ‘doubling cycling’ would be significant for Cambridge where cycling is already a major mode of transport, but doesn’t achieve much in other parts of the county where cycling mode share is in the low single digits. The LCWIP needs to aim much higher in those places.
2) The LCWIP states that it will still ‘consider’ the out-of-date guidance document LTN 1/12, even though it has been deprecated officially since the publication of LTN 1/20.
This approach is alarming since LTN 1/12 is vastly inferior to the most recent guidance on cycle infrastructure design, LTN 1/20, and unfortunately the old document could be used to justify the design of poor-quality infrastructure.
3) Many of the descriptions for proposals are underwhelming, and contain phrases such as ‘if possible’, ‘where space allows’ or ‘advisory cycle lanes’, which usually means that the authors of the document are unwilling to re-arrange space currently taken up by car infrastructure.
In order to meet the sustainable transport and climate change goals of the county there must be a willingness to re-prioritise space that is currently given over to private motorists and instead use it for high-quality active travel facilities.
4) The LCWIP appears to be missing the strategic goal and key performance indicator of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.
Each year around 2,500 people are killed or injured on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s roads and the ‘Vision Zero Partnership‘ between the police and local authorities has pledged to cut this number to zero by 2040.
5) The methodology relies on commuting data from 2011, but in general, commutes account for no more than a fifth of all travel, and these days much less.
Many people cycle for other reasons, such as shopping, attending or taking children to school, visiting friends or family, going to the doctor or taking the family to the park; these are all important journeys and should not be omitted from consideration.
6) The analysis assumes that the ‘peak’ distance for cycling journeys is 2 km and that demand will drop off significantly above 5 km.
This seems woefully unambitious, as a 5 km ride is only about 15-18 minutes for most people. Then factoring in the rise of electrically-assisted pedal cycles, which help people save their energy when travelling longer distances, we should see a lot more people willing to take on 10-15 km and longer distances on a regular basis.