Elections

Local elections, May 2007: Petersfield

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council (and South Cambs District Council) in May 2007.
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2007
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Steven Robert COOPER  (Liberal Democrat)
  • James Andrew MARTIN  (Conservative Party)
  • Shayne Mary MITCHELL  (Green Party)
  • Lucy WALKER  (Labour Party)

Questions for Petersfield ward candidates (8 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

# Question 1

Cycling offers a huge opportunity to reduce motor traffic and free up road space. Do you have any suggestions for additional cycling promotion activities that the Council could do?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

Actions speak louder than words and I think the best way to promote cycling is to improve facilities for cycling. So, for example, the fact that the city centre cycling ban has been overturned is a great step forward. Likewise, small changes such as replacing gates with cattle grids on the commons, make a big difference. Promotional campaigns emphasising the range of benefits from cycling are also very important and I would like to see a campaign that uses humour to persuade non-cyclists that it can be cool to cycle.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

All too often, infrastrucutre trails behind the needs of new developments. Therefore, we aim to ensure high quality transport infrastructure for all types of road users to accompany new developments is one of our key planning priorities. We would work with the County Council and undertake a complete audit of cycle lane routes, identifying gaps in provision, underused lanes and dangerous pathways. Signage of city cycle routes can be confusing and poorly maintained. this must get better.

Furthermore, the recent East Cambridge Transport strategy identifies a number of possible improvements to existing cycle infrastructure at relatively low cost, a notable example being upgrading the Tins path. This could be done regardless of the unwanted plans for developing the airport site.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Much lower speed limit in reduced-traffic zone in city centre (Sidney St, etc) – 10 mph

Massively increase 20 mph zones (eg Mill Road), eventually leading to a 20 mph speed limit throughout city (with possible exception of main thoroughfares)

A strong pro-cycling campaign – ads on backs of buses, etc, to show cycling as the normal, obvious choice

Change the traffic culture in town from one in which aggressive and fast driving , and drivers treating cyclists carelessly and with contempt, are the norm

Start a loan/hire system for child seats, trailer bikes/trailers

Encourage/start car clubs

Join the “Slow City” movement

Pelican crossings – a very few change almost immediately, but most make people wait up to a minute. There is no reason they should not all change promptly.

Work with Stagecoach and Stagecoach drivers to stop current dangerous and aggressive bus driving practices

Stop always showing cyclists wearing cycle helmets in leaflets – it discourages cycling by giving the impression it is dangerous, and needs special equipment

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

1. For travellers into Cambridge: i) encourage employers to develop schemes to get their employees out of cars and onto bikes ii) promote use of park and rides with secure cycle parking and cycle routes into city.
2. Work with County Council to prioritise creation of safe cycle paths and linked cycle routes.
3. Promote fun, cycle-based leisure activities, including outings (linked to tourism?)
4. Contribute to cycle-promotional literature (working with the police, the County Council and cycle organisations and lobby groups eg. Camcycle and Sustrans).

# Question 2

Cambridge suffers from a huge shortage of on-street public cycle parking, and a staggeringly high rate of cycle theft - 10% of reported crime. We want to see a formal strategy to get on-street cycle parking provided around Cambridge, with a target of say, 100-200 spaces per year initially. Do you support this?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

I agree that more on-street cycle parking is needed in many places. In the City Centre the Lib Dems have fought very hard to force the County Council road engineers to make provision for cyclists at the Grand Arcade and also on the old Bradwells Court site. I support that approach. In Petersfield, I would welcome working with the Cycling Campaign to identify possible new cycle parking locations in locations such as Mill Road and near the pubs in Kingston Street and Gwydir Street.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

Cambridge suffers from a huge shortage of on-street public cycle parking, and a staggeringly high rate of cycle theft - 10% of reported crime. We want to see a formal strategy to get on-street cycle parking provided around Cambridge, with a target of say, 100-200 spaces per year initially. Do you support this?

In principle, definitely. The conservatives would aim to rpovide a complete review of all parking for all vehicles. One of our priorities is to ensure provision for secure storage of bicycles is included in proposed railway redevelopment programmes.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes. And ensure that all new cycle parking meets standards – it is astonishing that it can still be useless, due to poor design or siting (eg King’s Hedges Learner Pool & St Andrew’s Hall, Chesterton)

All new housing needs adequate if not ample cycle parking, preferably enclosed and lockable.

In Dutch towns, shops and businesses have a narrow wooden board along their shop window, against which bikes can be leaned (on Mill Road, Arjuna and Browne's Bookstore used to have them). Where pavements are wide enough, and where shops are willing, these could be provided with City Council support.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

In my view Cambridge certainly needs to radically increase its on-street cycle parking, both in the city centre and in residential areas. Labour councillors have recently negotiated some welcome extra cycle parking in Petersfield (soon to be installed by the Ainsworth/Sleaford St play area).
I would support a formal strategy with targets. I would need to see figures comparing current space allocation with projected requirements before commenting on your specific figures, but you may well be right.
To counteract the huge amount of cycle theft, it would be useful to look at 'good practice' that works elsewhere in order to incorporate some effective measures into our cycle parking plans, and also advise residents on ways of reducing theft opportunities.

# Question 3

Do you support our view that traffic policing (including fining of cyclists without lights or using pedestrian-only pavements) should become a police priority?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

In principle, I would certainly like to see more enforcement against illegal cycling, but traffic policing has to become a GOVERNMENT priority before it can become a high priority for the police. Government funding for the police is inadequate and is certainly not aimed at traffic policing.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

Absolutely, although I would also stress enforcement of the law should be a matter of course and not just a new priority.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes. But only in the context of a policy of traffic policing in general – ie cars with defective lights, speeding, dangerous driving, illegal parking, pavement parking, stopping in advance stop line areas, polluting vehicles, unlicensed/uninsured drivers, etc.

Pavement cycling – I think discrimination is needed. Certainly fast and inconsiderate cycling should be fined – having suffered poor balance and limited agility from a back injury, and having a small child, I know just how frightening it can be – but careful, slow cycling by those who feel unsafe on the roads should not be discouraged.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

Yes I do.
Whilst promoting the use of cycles it is very important that we encourage best cycling practice and expect the police to enforce such things as cycling with lights and not using pedestrian-only pavements. However, the latter remains a grey area while we are short of cycle lanes because many parents take their children on pavements as a safer alternative to using the road.
In my view, the use of cycle lanes should be part of traffic policing.

# Question 4

There are many residential streets in Cambridge which could form useful shortcuts for cyclists but which are currently one-way streets for all traffic. Bearing in mind government policy that 'Cyclists should be exempted from ... one-way orders ... unless there are overriding safety considerations that cannot be resolved'. Do you support a general presumption that residential one-way streets should be opened up for cycle use, as has happened so successfully in the past in Cambridge?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

I support moving towards a position where contra flow cycling is the norm – this would be in line with government policy and would be consistent with the fact that this system has proved to be very safe in the streets where it has operated in Cambridge. This does not mean that all streets are suitable for two way cycle movements – safety considerations need to be assessed in each case.

I also support careful consultation with local communities over these issues – it is important to listen to the people who have worries about contra flow cycling, as well as to supporters. In my view, as two way cycling becomes more common (eg at Kingston St/Mawson Rd/Covent Garden/Mackenzie Rd), objections will tend to fade away.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

I would be supportive of a move toward this general presumption, but we must first listen to what might be sound exisitng arguments as to why it cannot be applied in specific cases.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes. Another sensible, and simple, move would be to put more ‘Except cyclists’ signs below cul-de-sac road signs, where there is a way through for pedestrians &/or cyclists. This would open up a lot of otherwise unknown short cuts or quieter routes.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

I support measures to encourage and increase cycling around the city but I think safety needs to be a priority over convenience.
Whilst our society still prioritises the car I don't think it is a good idea to encourage contraflow (bi-directional) cycling down every one way street, for example: i) when cyclists have to hang in tight to a row of parked cars (danger of doors opening), ii) when there is a blind corner with cars potentially coming the other way, and iii) when the entrance/exit is very narrow.
I have argued against such short-cuts in Petersfield in cases where there are existing, adjacent cycle routes. These were set up to work safely with the one-way system for cars, and link into the wider cycle route network.

# Question 5

Cycle parking at the railway station is in extremely short supply, with all spaces full even early in the day. Do you support conversion of more car parking spaces at the station to cycle parking now before the area is redeveloped?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

I think this would be an excellent thing, as there is a dire shortage of cycle spaces at the station. I am not sure whether the local authorities have any powers to bring this about until such time as a redevelopment goes ahead, but I would be interested in the idea of putting pressure on Network Rail to give over some car parking to cyclists. I’d be glad to to talk to the Cycling Campaign about this.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

As I said above, I think infrastructure has to come in alongside, not after, redevelopment and cycling facilities are crucial for this in Cambridge. Therefore this proposal merits serious consideration.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes. Ideally it needs to be covered, to protect bikes and people from rain. Also, existing cycle parking needs to be kept clear of litter and dead leaves.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

Yes. And of course cycle parking must be a priority in any new development of the Station Area.
Also, I would support an alternative ground surface for the cycle rack to the west of the station: how many of us have splashed our shoes unable to avoid the muddy puddles or scuffed our heels on the hard, sharp road stone?

# Question 6

Some cyclists have told us they feel unsafe riding alongside two short stretches of Lensfield Road and East Road where car parking is allowed in spite of the heavy traffic. Such car parking narrows the space available considerably. Do you support removal of this car parking in the interests of improved traffic flow and the safety of cyclists?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

I do not know the detailed issues about these two locations, but the danger of cyclists being squeezed between parked and moving vehicles is an obvious one, especially on main roads such as East Road and Lensfield Rd. In these cases, I would need to know more about who the parking spaces are serving. If they are serving commuters and city centre shoppers then I would be inclined to favour their removal as these drivers should be encouraged to use public transport. If they are residents’ parking bays or short term bays for people popping into local shops, then it is more difficult. Residents’ parking is in short supply in many areas. Local shops are really important to keeping communities vibrant and they tend to depend on there being a modest amount of parking nearby. I would need to know more about the local circumstances before making my mind up about these cases.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

Cylist safety is a key priority for the Conservatives. Given the serious problems of traffic flow in that part of the city, I would certainly be open to persuasion on changing the current situation as regards parking.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes. Especially as car parking means cyclists risk being hit by opened car doors. I feel most unsafe when cycling on East Road in general, and am always struck by how rare cyclists are on it.

The area of East Road near the New Street junction also needs to be made less pedestrian/cyclist hostile – at present traffic is fast and it is very hard and dangerous to cross the road.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

Yes. That would enable cycle lanes to continue for longer stretches without mysteriously (and dangerously) disappearing. Parking is already available behind East Road as an alternative for that area.

# Question 7

We favour the removal of car parking on at least one side of Trumpington Road outside the Botanic Gardens. The current lanes are against government policy, as they are in the 'dooring zone'. Our proposal would allow wider cycle lanes and a buffer zone to protect cyclists from opened car doors . Do you support this?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

It is risky for cyclists to be passing close to parked vehicles, not least because of the danger of vehicle doors opening. This kind of risk is taken by cyclists in almost every street in Cambridge, but here the presence of a dedicated cycle lane might give the cyclist a false sense of security. Without a detailed knowledge of all the circumstances, I can’t give a firm answer as to whether removing parking is the answer, but as Trumpington Road is a strategic cycle route I favour making it as safe as possible for cyclists.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

This is certainly something I would approach with an open and favourable mind. It would be helpful if the council were to conduct a proper review of the situation and see if a compromise could be reached which was more favourable to both cyclists and motorists than the status quo .

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Yes.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

This area is well outside my ward so I will refrain from commenting specifically.

However, as you will have gathered from my previous remarks, I think it is important to buffer cyclists from opening car doors where possible.

# Question 8

Do you have any other general cycling-related comments or points?

Steven Robert COOPER
(Liberal Democrat)

I think it important for councils and local councillors to be ambitious about increasing the ‘sustainable’ transport modes, including cycling. I was very pleased that the Petersfield Liberal Democrat councillors supported two way cycling in Kingston St, Mawson Rd, Covent Garden and Mackenzie Road against very strong opposition from local Labour councillors. Cyclists are not likely to achieve everything that they want in Cambridge, because there are many competing demands and pressures on road space and on funding streams, but if I am elected as a City Councillor, I hope to demonstrate that I am a supporter of sustainable transport and am ready to make some hard decisions in that direction.

James Andrew MARTIN
(Conservative Party)

The Conservatives will lobby the government to remove the rigid Whitehall targets for the introduction of new cycle lanes, allowing us to spend money on cycling according to local needs and local people's views. An example of this is our commitment to providing better information on existing cycle routes and the active and enthusiastic promotion of cycling training in schools.

We welcome the extra cycling opportunities presented by the Guided Bus.

Pedestrians and cyclists can expect new facilities, with a new bridleway and cycle route running alongside the Busway route. We hope that the Cambridge Cycling campaign will join us in supporting the Guided Bus.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)

Compared to Dutch and Italian cities I have lived or ridden in, very few people cycle in Cambridge. There everybody – smartly dressed old ladies, men in suits, young children – cycles. I would like to see Cambridge a _real_ cycling city, with a similar level of cycling and nobody feeling intimidated or scared.

Some suggestions:
- parking on pavement, footway, verge. Ban should be enforced

- officially sanctioned, legal pavement parking, eg Romsey Town, Milton Road, should be discontinued

- wheelie bins. Should be off the pavements. Where houses have no rear access (surprisingly few), the ‘white bag’ scheme needs to be used. At present, many Petersfield pavements are difficult to negotiate, and impassable for people using pushchairs or wheelchairs

- New Street roundabouts. Very dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, especially the York Str. Junction. Need redesigning.

- Newmarket Road pelican crossings by roundabout. These are very confusing, with what seems to be a unique, mystifying and dangerous one-way system. They need changing

- Mill Road. Make safer for cyclists and pedestrians by eg reducing speed limit and enforcing pavement parking ban.

Lucy WALKER
(Labour Party)

I am a cyclist and a pedestrian, and only rarely use my car in town. I have taught my children to ride their bikes safely here, and if elected to the City Council, I would welcome working with Camcycle to improve cycle paths and facilities for cyclists and also promote safer cycling. I have already worked with Camcycle to press for improvements to the Gonville Place/Gresham Road crossing.
As pedestrians don't have a lobby group, it is important that Camcycle promotes safe cycling and respect for pedestrians on pavements, and shared crossings and car free zones in the city centre.

Camcycle is a non-partisan body. All candidates are given an equal opportunity to submit their views. Information published by Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), The Bike Depot, 140 Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DL.