Elections

Local elections (County), June 2009: Coleridge

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in June 2009.
Polling date: Thursday 4th June 2009
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Andrew J BOWER  (Conservative Party)
  • Valerie T HOPKINS  (Green Party)
  • Sadiq TARIQ  (Labour Party)
  • Albert C WATTS  (UK Independence Party)
  • Thomas S YATES  (Liberal Democrat)

Questions for Coleridge division candidates (6 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

# Question 1

There is a major shortage of cycle parking all around the city. Cycle theft is over 10% of all reported crime in the County. Do you have any suggestions for locations for cycle parking? Would you be willing to see a very small proportion of on-street car parking being replaced by on-street cycle parking in your ward? How will you progress towards a situation where every resident and every worker in each ward can keep a bike safe?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

As a victim, like many, of multiple cycle thefts I do support this concept. I think it is particularly relevant to neighbouring divisions, such as Petersfield and Romsey around pubs, shops and terraced houses practically fronting the highway. Kingston Street’s cycle parking is an excellent example, albeit insufficient! I am not sure that there are so many places in Coleridge where the take-up would be high enough to justify losing very precious parking spaces but would be interested in any suggestions. Another approach would be to use the odd verge for this purpose – if there were sufficient demand.

I would like to see more rigorous enforcement by city council planners of our minimum cycle parking standards for developments.

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

I agree that there is a shortage of suitable cycle parking and this should be addressed with priority given over on-street car parking. I myself have been victim on more than one occasion and it is very frustrating especially if it your main means of transport. I can understand that people would be put off using their bike when there is no suitable provision of cycle racks. Bicycles are expensive and the provision of parking outside shops and amenities is important if we want to encourage people to change their lifestyles. There should be more police checks if organised theft is on the increase.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

More cycle parking spaces are needed but there is always going to be a conflict with other road users for precious road space especially in places like Coleridge where there is huge pressure on residential streets because of a shortage of parking spaces for cars. Part of this is due to commuter parking near the station and if the County Council were to implement imaginative solutions like one-hour parking restrictions this would make life easier for residents and might also free up some space for extra cycle parking.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)

I'm happy to see some on-street car parking spaces used for anything that allows more vehicles to use the spaces, or makes better use of the vehicles in the spaces: car clubs, motorcycle parking and cycle parking are three of these. Cycle theft is definitely a big problem, so secure two-wheel parking is something we need.

# 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?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I do. I supported Coleridge Conservative Councillor Chris Howell’s year-long battle for the East Area Committee to adopt police enforcement of speeding vehicles as a priority in the area, over which he eventually managed to persuade other councillors to support him. While that particular quarterly priority is not as broad as your suggestion, one of the advantages of using police to enforce speed limits is that they can also tackle other motoring and cycling offences at the same time.

Of course there are many other important areas of policing which should not be displaced – we need to see what we can do to increase the total useful policing activity, such as by cutting out bureaucracy and doing more individual, rather that paired patrolling.

As you say, cycle offences such as riding in the dark without lights, which is very dangerous, and using pedestrian-only pavements, which intimidates pedestrians, should be taken more seriously. I think the prevalence of shared-use footpaths as part of a box-ticking culture towards cycling provision has created uncertainty and led many to assume that cycling on footpaths is always permitted.

I look forward to the prospect of directly elected police chiefs implementing residents’ policing priorities if a Conservative government is elected!

http://cherryhintonroad.blogspot.com/2009/05/surprise-victory-on-policing-speeding.html

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

The police in the past have been a bit harsh fining cyclists without lights. I don't condone cycling without lights but think that concentrating on tackling the organised bike thefts in Cambridge is more important. The introduction of cycling down one-way streets the wrong way has been increased and this could be extended where feasible.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

Greater police enforcement is necessary but it should not take greater priority over more serious crimes like burglary, violence, and serious anti-social behaviour. Police resources are limited and local people do have the opportunity to help set local policing priorities through their Area Committees.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)

Unsafe road usage is often against the law, and when it is, it shouldn't be tolerated. Where apparently-unlawful activities are actually permissible, such as shared-use paths and streets which are one-way for motor vehicles but two-way for bicycles, I'd like to see very clear signage so that vehicle users are very aware this is happening, and cyclists don't mistakenly come to believe they are permitted everywhere.

# Question 3

We believe that 20mph should be the norm for local streets in residential areas (as distinct from main connecting roads). 20mph would: greatly encourage walking and cycling; improve the quality of life in an area for residents; and would not delay car journeys significantly (because only the start/end of a journey would be affected). Do you agree that 20mph should become the norm for local streets in Cambridge and surrounding villages?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I certainly agree that many of the streets you describe should not be taken at speeds exceeding 20mph and I am open to the possibility that that should be mandated by speed limits or a home zone (noting that there are other ways to convict for driving too fast than through speed limits). However, I would be wary of a solution that required a sea of street furniture in residential roads. I would disagree with using safety measures to implement social engineering; for example, specifically making driving frustrating in order to encourage walking and cycling. Safety measures need to have the respect of road users so they must only be enacted for safety reasons.

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

There can be no doubt that reducing the speed limit in local streets as well as main connecting roads would encourage more people to walk or cycle. I totally agree that 20mph should be the norm in the centre of Cambridge and the suburbs and the Green Party in Norwich have campaigned for this also. It would result in safer roads and promote cycling, lowering congestion especially at busy times of the day.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

20mph limits would make residential streets safer but these have to be enforceable. On some streets in Coleridge cars already exceed the 30mph limit which is why initiatives like Speedwatch are necessary to create an environment where speeding becomes socially unacceptable. These volunteer-based, police-supported activities are a valuable adjunct to police monitoring and enforcement action and deserve our support. There are new technologies available which could improve monitoring and enforcement and I hope these can be supported and implemented to make 20mph limits effective. Experiments elsewhere to remove street signs and traffic lights have been shown to slow down traffic and reduce casualties as well as improving traffic flow and it might be worth considering such ideas in Cambridge.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)

I agree that all non-arterial roads around Cambridge should have a 20mph limit, and I think that very few roads should qualify as arterial (though some do, and they shouldn't be so limited). I am delighted that it has become possible that Mill Road will be limited to 20mph, thanks in large part to a long campaign by one of my colleagues, County Cllr Killian Burke of Romsey.

# Question 4

If the County Council's proposed Congestion Charge goes ahead, it is likely that the associated 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 £500m spread over five 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?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I am totally against congestion charging for Cambridge because it would be a regressive tax, taxing the poor of the road. It would also be bureaucracy for all road users that we do not need. Congestion charging would fail to keep congestion under control because traffic flows would adjust to take account of reduced congestion and the long term effect would just be inflationary.

More importantly for the purposes of this question, the charge would eat into the grant funds because it would cost more to administer than it would bring in as revenue. The TIF grant also needs to be partially matched by local authority-supplied funding so it would not be free money.

A Conservative government would abolish the link between TIF and congestion charging, considering all TIF bids on their own merits. Despite scaremongering from proponents of congestion charging Manchester is starting to see streams of transport funding emerge in substitution for its abandoned TIF bid.

The county council has asked the minister to drop the link following the lead of Cambridge Conservatives.

It is clear that some significant transport funding is still needed for Cambridgeshire so that we can have the infrastructure improvements that are necessary to support the government’s enforced excessive development of Cambridge’s fringes.

I would wish to see such funds used for:
• Cycle paths that genuinely add value, e.g. Chisholm Trail
• Better cycle parking
• Better bus services
• More road capacity to support Cambridge’s growth

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

This money should be used towards hybrid cycle lanes on main routes and the extension of existing cycle lanes which at present just stop. Creating and enhancing segregated pedestrian/cycle paths in existing areas of open spaces/parks and connecting the city to the outlying villages would also encourage less car usage. Upgrading public transport by introducing biofuel or electric buses reducing roadside pollution for pedestrians/cyclists. Spending money on integrated transport allowing cyclists to transfer e.g. bike to train/bus providing suitable parking at small or large interchanges. Overall £50M should be allocated from this up front money.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

The proposed Congestion Charge is deeply flawed. It would unfairly penalise Cambridge residents, the low-paid, and those who have to use their cars and vans to do their work. It doesn't address congestion at other times of the day or at weekends. If a better scheme can be devised and if it has the support of residents then I would like to see government money used to improve and extend cycle lanes, improve bus services, and possibly also to investigate the possibility of trams in Cambridge.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)

I'd like to see improvements for all modes of transport that aren't single-use car. Car clubs, car sharing, more use of powered two-wheelers, more bus usage, more and safer cycling; all these things could be actively encouraged by the sort of money that a congestion charge would make available. I do feel that all two-wheeled vehicles should be exempt from the charge.

# Question 5

Hills Road Bridge has always been a very poor environment for cycling, with high speeds and aggressive traffic, and lack of on-road space. The County Council proposes a scheme involving one traffic lane uphill, and two traffic lanes downhill, in each direction, plus a 2.1m on-road ‘hybrid’ cycle lane on both sides. We think this represents national best practice and would lead to many more people feeling able to cycle here. Do you support the proposals in principle?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I think this is probably roughly the right thing to do. I am concerned, however, that cyclists going straight on in either direction would be coerced into the cycle lane when some of us might prefer to position ourselves with the rest of the traffic the whole way rather than weaving in and out of cycle lanes and ASLs.

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

Hills Rd bridge has long been a dangerous area for cycling and only now during the roadworks do cars adhere to the signs not permitting overtaking of cyclists when there is only one lane so the road is narrow. I think the discussion process and ideas put forward have been worthwhile and agree with the County Council's proposals.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

This scheme would improve cycle safety and would encourage more people to cycle. I support these proposals and I hope they can be properly implemented by the County Council unlike the much delayed Hills Road Bridge Guided Bus works and the Central Library.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)

Hills Road bridge is a hideous thing to have to cycle over, particularly at the moment. I was not previously familiar with the scheme you show, but it looks elegant and I am glad to hear that the County Council are minded to pursue it. I'd certainly be a lot happier cycling over the bridge with such a scheme in place.

# Question 6

Do you have any other general cycling-related comments or points? And what support have you given for cycling and walking, or sustainable transport more generally, in the past?

Andrew J BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I look forward to genuinely useful schemes coming out of the cycling demonstration town money and the opportunities for cyclists that the cycle track alongside the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will introduce.

I am frustrated with the tick-box approach to cycle provision usually undertaken by well-meaning but misguided local and national government automata. I have warned about the unintended negative side effects of provision that is inadequate, such as narrow cycle lanes and shared use paths. I try to promote the importance of cyclists feeling wanted on the main carriageway.

Cyclist confidence is important – and not the false confidence that some facilities instil. I think training must need to play a part – and I know that there are options for that in Cambridge.

Valerie T HOPKINS
(Green Party)

Working at Addenbrookes. I belong to the BUG WAG group which encourages the use of walking/cycling and use of public transport for hospital workers. many have switched to the Park & Ride schemes and cycling is increasing but again the provision of cycle parking has been an issue. The impending development of Addenbrookes and the Guided Bus Scheme has meant that there will be many changes and encouraging people to think differently about their journey to work is important. The Green Party will continue to commit itself to issues such as this ensuring that investment in transport priority given to cyclists.

Sadiq TARIQ
(Labour Party)

I support the Government funded Cycling Demonstration Town scheme and I look forward to seeing new projects brought forward. I would like to see greater availability of cycle training for both children and adults and particularly for Cambridge language and summer school students who are particularly vulnerable every year.

Albert C WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas S YATES
(Liberal Democrat)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

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.