Elections

Local elections (County), June 2009: King's Hedges

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in June 2009.
Polling date: Thursday 4th June 2009
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Matthew W ADAMS  (Conservative Party)
  • Elizabeth HUGHES  (Labour Party)
  • Andrew R PELLEW  (Liberal Democrat)
  • James C YOUD  (Green Party)

Questions for King's Hedges 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?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

Clearly, we have a significant problem with provision for secure cycle parking in Cambridge as a whole, but I don’t think that simply switching car-parking for cycle-parking space is the right approach. We could, for instance, make cleverer use of space that is unsuitable for car parking.

The problem of bike parking spaces is less pronounced in Kings Hedges itself – the other end of the bike journey is more problematic (e.g. around the station, where we see the daily forest of bicycles, or in the City Centre). However, parking provision is not the only problem; theft (and vandalism) are also significant. I would encourage everyone (especially police community support officers) to ensure that cyclists to get their bikes marked so that if they are stolen, there is a greater chance of it being returned. This scheme has been known to work over many years, but each new generation of cyclists still needs to be introduced to it.

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

An obvious area for improvement in cycle parking is around Cambridge Railway station as this area in town seems to have the most use by cyclists on a daily basis.

I agree that where there is a shortage of cycle parking the issue should be addressed but I don't see the issue as forcing a choice between car or bike spaces - especially in Kings Hedges. I'm thinking in particular of the areas around Arbury Court and the Community Centre where the issue of cycle parking has been handled in a way that did not really affect the number of spaces available for cars.

If it were a straight choice though and there was a clearly visible need for more cycle parking then Yes - I would agree that replacing car spaces with cycle spaces would be a good idea.

I think the area where I would be able to have the most impact with helping residents keep their bikes safe is working with Councillors from other areas (like round the station) to increase bike spaces at the other end of my residents journeys as well as urging them to use the Immobilise.com website to register their bikes details so that in the unlikely event of a bike going missing the chance of it being successfully returned by the police is greatly increased.

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

There is indeed a massive need for improvements to cycle parking. I myself have had 3 bikes stolen in the last year, one of which was locked to a bike rack.
I would not only support but push for cycle racks to be given priority over car-parking. Especially where there is little or no pavement space. Where there is pavement space access to bike racks should be easy without dismounting but segregated from pedestrians.
Where car-parking could be turned into space for bicycle parking planting of trees and shrubs around the bike parking space should be implemented to protect cyclists from the road.
Cycle crime is something we all want to reduce. Cambridge, as I have already said, has theft rate that has left many of us in despair. Working jointly with the City the Police and cyclists I would wish to ensure every shop, pub, cafe or any social amenity has secure bicycle parking. It would also be good if the county along with the police could subsidise good quality locks for those who are on low incomes and children who are all to often affected most by bike crime.
It should also be a priority for the police to weed out any organised bike theft.
Stop checks for cyclists may be inconvenient for you and me, but it is more inconvenient to wake up and find your bike stolen! The police all to often take a soft approach and say, there is nothing they can do.
If 10% of all crime is bike related, surely 10% and more should go into reducing this.

# 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?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

I do support this view, although of course it needs to be balanced against other issues (as I mentioned, we have a significant vandalism problem at the moment which is concerning Kings Hedges residents). That said, while irresponsible cycling is not necessarily the kind of problem that gets brought forward as a policing priority, it is a continuous low-level concern for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists alike, especially those with limited mobility or prams and pushchairs.

At the very least, I would like to see that the existing rules of the road are adhered to, including the proper use of one way streets and shared pavements, and the use of lights after dusk. Again, though, we don’t need a rigid enforcement-of-the-law approach. This is about civil behaviour, proper respect for all our road users, and a mutual understanding of the different needs of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. A lot can be done by local people before this needs to become a police resourcing issue.

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

I think this is really down to the residents in each area to decide the policing priorities for their area. I'm not aware of local residents raising this as a priority in King's Hedges.

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

As already said I believe that the polices priority for cyclists should be to spend time getting to the route of bike thefts and weeding it out.
All cyclists should abide by the law and most of the time this is to the benefit of both cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.
However police can often be heavy handed to cyclists that have only broken minor rules. These rules are also often obscure in terms of signage. Cycling up one-way streets is not acceptable but fining that cyclist is bizarre.
All cyclists should have lights after dark and any monies that are taken in from fines given out should stay in system funding the policing of crime the subsidy of bike locks and bike lights.
The policy of cyclists not being allowed up wide one-way streets where there could be counter-flow cycle only traffic should be looked at and extended where possible.

# 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?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

There are many areas where I think a 20mph limit is an essential change – outside our schools, for instance (so I would certainly join all the voices calling for 20mph in Northfield Avenue). I also welcome recent attempts to control speeding along Kings Hedges Road and Milton Road which are both significant arteries and residential roads, though I do not feel that a 20mph limit would be appropriate in those cases – 30mph properly enforced with mobile cameras should be sufficient.

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

Same here! In fact one of the issues I'm currently campaigning for is a 20mph speed limit on Northfield Avenue outside King's Hedges Primary School and the Red Hen Project. I agree that a 20mph speed limit should be the norm in built up areas with limited exceptions. For example where there is a main road with few or no houses on it (like King's Hedges Road) or where the houses are set back quite a way from the street (Milton Road) I don't think a 20mph limit would be necessary or appropriate.

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

Not only do I think that 20mph speed limits should be the norm for residential streets, I think that where on connecting roads the limit is higher hy-brid cycle lanes should be introduced to give those less confident cyclists a clear gap between them and motor traffic.
The Green Party is Norwich successfully pushed for 20mph speed limits for residential streets showing we have a track record of acting on our promises.
We welcome the introduction of these speed limits in central Cambridge but would like to see them urgently extended to the suburbs. In King's Hedges speeding can be a particular problem, this no doubt puts people off cycling. With 20mph limits and proper enforcement. More of Cambridge's traffic can move onto bikes reducing pollution, congestion and making it easier for us all to get around.

# 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?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

I think that there is an extremely strong case for an extended network of cycle paths, especially connecting the periphery in North and West Cambridge. Friends and colleagues who cycle to work along Madingley Road from the City Centre regularly arrived looking like they had been wallowing in pools of mud in the autumn and winter! As an advert, that is unlikely to encourage more cycling and fewer car journeys.

However, I am firmly opposed to coupling the funding for these improvements to the introduction of a congestion charge for Cambridge. I cannot see an argument either practical or environmental for this additional tax on people who live and work in Cambridge.

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

I think we should create a network of cycle ways crossing the city - I think this would have the greatest long-term benefit for the people of Cambridge but of course we'd need to consider the cost of this against other programs suggested at the time.

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

In terms of cycling, just a proportion of this could go towards upgrading Cambridge's cycling facilities to world class standards. Hy-brid cycle lanes on all major roads. Cycle routes that do not stop just like that. Segregation of cyclists from pedestrians across commons and where on path cycle routes exist. This along with new cycle paths to villages, thus reducing peoples need to drive and hence congestion. We would allocate at least £50 Million for these purposes.
Public transport infrastructure such as new stations at Chesterton, Addenbrookes and Cherry Hinton. All electric or bio-fuel buses reducing pollution particularly for cyclists and pedestrians.
A new interchange for buses in Cambridge as well as the upgrade of the interchange at the station and implementation of the plan for a coach station there.
We would also seek to see that substantial monies are spent on integrated transport. Allowing people to transfer from bus to train to bike back to bus, and so on. This means giving cyclists secure and easily accessible parking at all major and more minor transport interchanges.
It also means changing our transport hierarchy from one where the car is considered King! To one where it is at the bottom of the heap.
This means pushing the car out where space is needed for cyclists, pedestrians or public transport.

# Question 5

Coaches have been using Woodhead Drive to park overnight, often for a week at a time. The area is unsuitable for coach parking because of the obstruction caused, the dangers of using side roads for turning and the large numbers of cars that arrive to collect/drop off students. If elected, what would you do to stop coaches using Woodhead Drive, and to provide suitable alternative coach parking?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

I often walk down Milton Road, and have noticed the coaches parked up, and the increased traffic that they cause (it can be quite hazardous crossing at the point as a result, since Woodhead Drive is nearly 4-lanes wide at the junction).

I think that the first action should be to contact the coach companies themselves, and find out whether they were aware of the problem, and to try to organize a suitable alternative location.

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

I'll be honest this is the first I've heard of this issue. Clearly this is undesirable and shouldn't be allowed to continue - if local residents can contact me with more details (dates, times, registration numbers, bus companies, etc) I feel the first step is to contact the companies that own the Coaches and find out why they are using this road. If the situation cannot be resolved with the coach companies then we'll have to look at alternate methods of preventing them parking there.

My contact details, and those of the rest of the King's Hedges team are available here; http://kingshedgesfocus.blogspot.com/

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

Large vehicles parked anywhere where they should not can cause a hazard. Cars pull out to get round them and ignore the right of cyclists to go first. Cyclists may pull out and be hit by on coming traffic. It is an all to common occurrence.
In Woodhead Drive I would ban coaches from parking all together. Alternatives could be made available just north of here near one of the business parks the other side of the old rail line.
We would also encourage any organised coach trip to urge people to walk or cycle to the rondevu point.

# 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?

Matthew W ADAMS
(Conservative Party)

I am a committed pedestrian and user of public transport, and I have never owned a car. On the other hand, I have not been a cyclist for many years, either! I am strongly in favour of a balanced approach to our transport system, with respect for the needs of everyone: pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, bus, train and taxi users (have I left anyone out?)

I think that sometimes transport schemes can fall short of expectations because people try to “encourage” or “promote” one mode of transport over another – inadequate parking provision in new developments, or the intention that 20mph speed limits could be imposed to promote walking or cycling, for example. The success of many of the ideas you have put forward (and the reason why I am generally very supportive of these proposals) is because they are about removing barriers, rather than engineering new ones.

One issue that you haven’t raised, and which is regularly brought up on the doorstep, is that of road and path quality. Some in Cambridge are in appalling condition, to the point at which they are damaging cars and bicycles, and becoming hazardous. Action is urgently overdue!

Elizabeth HUGHES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Andrew R PELLEW
(Liberal Democrat)

Again I can't help but stress how important it is for cycle owners to register their bikes details on www.immobilise.com, the information on this site really helps the Police deal with stolen property when they find it.

Other than that I walk to work and I try and use public transport whenever I can. I am a keen supporter of the StreetCar initiative and I hope this is expanded soon into the North of the city.

If anyone has any direct questions or needs anything I've said clarified please feel free to contact me by following the link in Question 5.

James C YOUD
(Green Party)

We in the Green Party adhere to a transport hierarchy. Pedestrians are at the top then cyclists, public transport and so on until you get to the car at the bottom.
We believe that investment in transport should be apportioned according to where each mode lies in the hierarchy, within reason.
We also believe that priority should thus be given to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport over the car. Especially where it is relating to road space, but also for cycle parking etc.
Cambridge is very lucky to have such high rates of cycling, but without this forward and radical thinking cyclists will still be squashed in, less confident ones will be frightened to tackle busy roads and many who might cycle will stay in their cars thus exacerbating the problem for all of us.
The County Council has paid lip-service to high quality facilities for greens modes of transport, whichever they be. If you vote for me as your County Council. I can assure you that I will fight to the bone to see investment and transport priority given to cyclists in King's Hedges and across the city. Greens have and always will support this as part of better, greener communities and a planet that we must look after. It is governments, whether it be national or local, responsibility to allow all of us to be able to get around in an efficient and environmental nondestructive way.

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.