Elections

Local elections (City/SouthCambs), May 2008: King's Hedges

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council (and South Cambs District Council) in May 2008.
Polling date: Thursday 1st May 2008
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Gerri BIRD  (Labour Party)
  • Neil Michael MCGOVERN  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Cyril James WEINMAN  (Conservative Party)
  • James Christopher YOUD  (Green Party)

Questions for King's Hedges 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?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

As a wheel-chair user I am not a cyclist, but I recognize the importance of cycling and support moves to promote additional cycling.  The City Council should provide more cycle racks in the city centre, in local shopping precincts and in residential areas.  It should also work closely with the County Highway Department to create more safe cycle lanes (using coloured surfaces to make them distinctive) and promote cycle routes with good signage and clear maps. The City Council could also support a Safer Cycling campaign, with the County and the Police.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

I'm glad that Cambridge has such a high level of cycling compared to nationally, and am grateful for the work of Cambridge Cycling Campaign in it's important and valued work in representing cyclists. I'd love for Cambridge to become a Cycle Demonstration City. Additionally, I've received a couple of suggestions that an advanced cycle training scheme may be of use to residents. This is currently in place with Calderdale Council for Secondary Schools, and this could provide a good method of not only encouraging safe cycling, but cycling in general.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

Encouraging more people to cycle often means making cycling easier and safer.
I would campaign for better more accessable cycle parking in cambridge central areas, but also encourage local businesses to provide cycle parking. In Kings Hedges there are many routes accross greens, there needs to be higher quality surfaces and the definitions between pesdestirans and cyclists made clear for the safety of both groups.
Some roads such as campkin and arbury have road calming measures that can nevertheless be detrimental to cyclists. Where speed-hemps exist there must a segregated path between traffic and cyclists that allows for cyclists to re-enter the traffic stream safely.
Where zig-zag road calming exists there must be enough room for vehicals to travel around them without interferring with the route of cyclists.
On street car-parking is often meeting a local need but failing to take full a account of the needs of cyclists, it is often dangerous for cyclists pulling in and out of parked cars and especially on the busiest roads i would presure the council to revise these current parking arrangements.
Where central car-parks exist the car is all to often given absolute priority in the access. This is particually noticeable in the access to park street (where cars can pull out on pesdestrians traveling in and out of lower park street, Lion Yard (where the new cycle route means that car drivers are not given any warning of passing cyclists and they can often pull out into the stream, The Grafton (where cars pull into the lane for the car-park without noticing cycles and where the back access round the centre for cyclists is compromised because of the lack of definition between cyclist and cars).
If elected I would seek to ensure the councils made change where it can and would press the county and highways for much better routes and surfaces for cyclists.

# Question 2

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

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

I think that the police should be firmer about traffic policing in general - including cyclists. Police priorities are agreed at Area Committees and by the Safer Community Partnership, so this is where the case should be made.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

The North Area Committee, which covers Kings Hedges among others has recommended that enforcing of these issues should be a top priority for local traffic policing. I'm fairly disappointed that this hasn't been followed through as much as I'd like, and if elected would be pushing hard to ensure that these are enforced.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

I regard this with great importance as cyclists being safe towards each other encourages those less experienced cyclists to stay on their bikes.
However I am not in favour of large fines dealt just because they can and would seek to bring law enforcement, cyclists and councillors together, to see where rules are being broken consistently whether these rules are appropriate.
It would also be my wish that those on lower incomes are given free or discounted bike lights and fitting.

# Question 3

Some cyclists have told us they feel unsafe riding over the A14 Histon junction, because of crossing the exit roads down onto the A14, and along Histon Rd, because of its narrowness. Do you support measures to improve safety for cyclists in these two areas?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

I certainly support measures to improve safety for cyclists in these two areas and would encourage the County Council to work with an organisation such as yours whilst planning their new roads/junctions/lanes and curbs. As a wheelchair-user I am also very conscious of the lack of dropped curbs in other places round the ward, and will be campaigning for these.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

I haven't actually cycled over this particular junction, so I don't have any personal experience of the issue in hand. However, I'm happy to arrange a meeting with members to help represent their views with the County Council, and help where I can.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

I would press for safer routes accross the A14, and would only be satisfied with the highest possible provision. It may also be the case that a separate route needs to be implemented to ensure there is no conflict between traffic and cyclists.
This is becoming particually pertinent as the Arbury park is developement and the proposed boundary changes that would bring this into the city.

# Question 4

The changes to King's Hedges Road as a result of the Arbury Park development have made cycling much more difficult in this area, with the result that few people now cycle there. Would you support works to remodel this area extensively to add new 'hybrid cycle lanes' (2.5m wide, on-road but with cobble separation) to make cycling there a more attractive option?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

The hybrid cycle lanes look effective, and it is a shame they were not put in as Arbury Park was being developed. I am very conscious that changes will cost a lot of money, but I would support efforts to remodel this area to make cycling a safer and more attractive option. It is extremely important that the City and County Council come to an agreement about standards of provision for all road users, and ensure they are implemented in all new developments.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

I feel the changes to Kings Hedges Road are certainly a large issue that I would like to see addressed. The management of pinch points is a particular concern to myself, and I've had a few close calls by these myself. With the proposal of a cycle route from Arbury Park to riverside, I'd like to see how this can be further extended to cover more of the King's Hedges Ward. I'd like to set up a site meeting to ensure that all areas can benefit from this scheme.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

King's Hedges road often seems like more of a motoway than an urban road and recent changes seemingly haven't address this.
The road must be made cycle friendly as it is a key route between new and proposed developements and large business areas. If there is not to be adequate cycle provision then congestion on this northern fringe could become like that of more cantral areas. Hence I support 'Hybrid cycle Lanes' and would also seek to ensure that speed limits are better enforced and that pesdestrians should also be taken into account.

# Question 5

We are seeking a trial of a new type of cycle provision in the city - 'hybrid cycle lanes', as used in Holland and Germany. These are 2-3m wide, on-road but with a degree of separation from other vehicles. They combine the best aspects of both off-road and on-road cycle lanes but without the downsides of both. The picture on our website illustrates the concept. What do you feel about this idea, and is there anywhere in your ward where you think these could be tried?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

Safety is a huge issue, and the hybrid cycle lanes look as though they provide a much safer cycling experience. The practical downside is that they clearly require more space than is available on many of our roads. I would welcome a similar approach where it is physically possible.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

The proposal for hybrid cycle lanes is certainly an interesting one. I've spoken to Julian Huppert, the chairman of Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee about this issue, and it's something we should certainly investigate together.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

I would certainly be in favour of the implimention of 'Hybrid Lanes' where pratical. I have seen many examples of them and they seem to be good in allowing both experienced and unexperienced cyclists along the same route thanks to its width and distance from fast flowing traffic.
I certainly believe that Milton Road could greatly benefit from these by removing the southbound bus lane. I believe this would increase cycling to the Science parks being a more direct route than any of the existing. However provision would also have to be given to buses and this would need to be carefully considered.
Campkin Road and its spurs could also be considered for smaller scale versions of the lane.

# Question 6

If the County Council's proposed Congestion Charge goes ahead, it is likely that the free, up-front money that would be received from the government to support prior improvements to public transport and cycling would be of the order of some £100m a year for four years. This is roughly ten times the amount the County currently receives for transport. If the scheme goes ahead, what would be your priorities for use of this up-front money?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

It is vitally important that the City and the County work together to devise an integrated transport plan at the heart of all new development and to serve the existing city: this must include major provision for public transport, cycling and pedestrians to reduce car use.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

Although I myself cycle rather than take the bus, or drive, others, including a significant proportion of the elderly population cannot. We need to take care to ensure that this is accounted for and that a balance is found between providing alternate public transport methods for those wishing to leave their cars at home, and those wishing to cycle in to the city centre. My priority for this would be ensuring that congestion and pollution are reduced, and residents and visitors are able to visit the centre easily and effectively, whether through bus, cycling or on foot.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

Investment in new train stations and spur lines both in Chesterton and on the proposed marshalls developement, allowing a metro style train network would be one of my first priorities. Investment in new transport corridors would also need to include cycle lanes and these should be prefered over road traffic.
Implementing major new cycle and pedestrian infrastructure would be soming that could stand Cambridge in good sted for increased cycling both from new developements. And unlock the potential from closer out-lying villages.
Within the city remodaling junctions and pinch points to allow for cycle safety and less accidents must also be a top priority.

# Question 7

Some 47,500 new dwellings are to be built around Cambridge in the next ten years, increasing the population by perhaps 125,000 people. Although a Congestion Charge with half-a-billion pounds of up-front government money is proposed as a key means to deal with this, what would your suggestions be for reducing car usage and encouraging cycling in the new developments?

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

Car users need genuine options: clean, safe and frequent buses; safe and pleasant cycle routes; good pavements with crossing points and dropped curbs.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

It is important that consideration of cycling are taken into account when planning new developments. Simply keeping in mind needs of cyclists is sometimes sufficient to provide these improvements; creating a safe and effective environment would be my aim. Providing the facilities and space for cyclists on and off the road, and encouraging the use of cycling should encourage residents of the developments to choose cycling over taking a car journey.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

Firstly that planning in these developements must look at the current transport usage within Cambridge. Looking out of the box these developements must not simply assume that car ownership is the norm and must insted see cycle usage as a high priority. This is why I will be calling for 30% car-free estates and insted, pathways which allow quick access to new cycle-ways which must be park of new and up-graded transport corridors as previously noted.

# Question 8

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

Gerri BIRD
(Labour Party)

Whilst promoting more and safer cycling, we must expect cyclists to be courteous to pedestrians and other road/pavement users. Dual-use pavements can be problematic.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

I'd like to re-affirm my strong support for Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and thank the group for it's efforts in the area. I'm happy to meet and talk further with any member, or the group as a whole to help bring your views to the forefront of the Councils' considerations.

Cyril James WEINMAN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
James Christopher YOUD
(Green Party)

I would like to see the whole image of cycling improved.
Often it is let down by careless and dangerous cyclists, who I know are the minority.
I would also like to see the implementation of a transpot pyramid with pesdestrians and cyclists at the top and sebsequent transport spending and strategy taking this as gospel. Hence not spending simply on new car-provision and infact in the long term decreasing car-provision.
This is the only way that we can tackle both climate change and congestion that plauges far too many of our cities.

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.