Elections

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Question 4 - we asked:

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?

We asked this question in all 16 divisions, namely: Abbey, Arbury, Bar Hill, Castle, Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, Cottenham, Histon and Impington, East Chesterton, King's Hedges, Market, Newnham, Petersfield, Queen Edith's, Romsey, Trumpington, West Chesterton.

35 of the 73 candidates (48%) who were asked this question responded as below.

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.

Samuel J W BARKER
(Conservative Party)

As everyone knows, the government are linking this money with congestion charging arbitrarily: why should whitehall decide what's right for Romsey? Reducing congestion is right (I am sceptical about the power of a charge to do this): we should get the money and plough it into sustainable transport: cycle lanes, trams and buses.

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

Donald F DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

Cycle bridges to the station from Rustat Road / Cherryhinton Road (as originally required from the developers of CB1 but mysteriously dropped) and to Accordia and beyond from Hills Road. they would encourage and simplify routes for cyclists and pedestrians and avoid Hills Road Bridge: also opening up Hills Road and primary schools to Accordia residents. Extension of the railside cycle track through the City (the Chisholm trail) which incidentally I proposed for the Southern section in 1998.

There should also be much better information about buses and their routes.

Ideally the rail authorities should be required to re-examine why a station at Addenbrooke's doesn't work.

However I don't support tying the £500 million to congestion charging.

Charles S HARCOURT
(Conservative Party)

I don't believe in a congestion charge. Except for the centre of Cambridge. Priorities - cycle paths, tram system.

John M IONIDES
(Conservative Party)

I strongly oppose the congestion charge for a number of reasons which have been well publicised and have been debated at length with members of the CCC. There are a number of transport scheme that have been proposed that could be worth supporting (e.g. bus tunnels, taking the Guided Bus over Stourbridge common to Newmarket Rd etc. However, realistically, all these scheme promote yet further growth which I do not feel is in the city's interest. Indeed, it staggers me that there is a seemingly a strong environmental lobby in favour of a scheme like congestion charging [yes, I mean you, Martin] that would only lead to the single largest source of pressure on the environment - more people. If - and it is a big if - this funding could be decoupled from extra expansion then there is a strong case for just tidying up a lot of the road layout and improving pavements and road surfaces. There is also a strong case for an extended network of cycle paths to the west of Cambridge (e.g. Hardwick - Toft - Comberton; Madingley - Madingley Rd) as travelling between many of these villages is only really possible by car (or very confident cyclists). I imagine similar cases might be made for villages in other directions, but I do not know them so well.

Michael J MORLEY
(Conservative Party)

I oppose the congestion charge for a great many reasons. It is a regressive tax, hitting the poorest hardest, and pricing them off the roads and increases the bureaucracy for all road users.

A key point to remember is that it's not free: the charge itself would not be able to fund the scheme. Over the lifetime of the grant, a significant amount would need to be diverted to support the infrastructure needed to implement the congestion charge. This is even more true when the charge per car is low - it doesn't affect the price of enforcing it!

Funding to improve public transport and cycling provision should not be linked to imposing a congestion charge, and Conservatives locally and nationally are fighting to break such links.

That aside, priorities for use of any money available for transportation provision should be to:
- improve secure cycle parking facilities
- develop better commuter-route cycle lanes that make life safer for all road users and encourage cycling without disadvantaging drivers
- improve public transport services
- increase provision of 'leisure' transport routes to encourage more people to get on their bikes

James A STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

I have studied the congestion charge in some depth.

I do not believe the Government's forecasts for housing demand.

I do not believe that a congestion charge in Cambridge could be operated by charging drivers £3-00 a day when the published accounts for Transport for London show that the cost of collecting each charge is £3-80.

These economics do not make sense.

And, worst of all, a congestion charge would be regressive - it would hit the poorest hardest.

So I oppose the scheme in total and, if elected, would speak and vote against it.

Alexandra L J COLLIS
(Green Party)

The main priority is to alter the current transport system from one where cars are still prioritised, to one where they are seen as the mode of travel of last resort. This up-front money could completely transform cycling facilities and public transport services across the city. I know from residents I have talked to that many would be happy to use public transport in place of their car if they could only rely on it. In terms of cycling, improvements could include;
Hybrid cylce lanes on ALL major roads
Cycle routes which do not stop abruptly
Claerly marked, separate routes for pedestrians and cyclists on all the city's commons, and all on-path cycle routes
New cycle paths to all outlying villages (which would reduce congestion considerably)
At least £50 million would need to be allocated for these purposes.
Regarding public transport, I would support the following improvements;
Improvements to infrastructure, such as new stations at Chesterton, Addenbrookes and Cherry Hinton
All electric or bio-fuel buses, which would reduce pollution - especially for cyclists and pedestrians
A new interchange for buses in Cambridge, as well as upgrades to the interchange at the Rail Station (and implementation of plans for a new coach station there)

Ceri B GALLOWAY
(Green Party)

While £500m would represent a considerable increase in funding for public transport & cycling facilities in terms of the county-wide work required to improve public access to Cambridge and other towns and villages, this money should be targeted carefully towards measures that would benefit CO2 reduction. County-wide cycle facilities need to be joined up and comprehensive cycle paths in the city as a priority, and regular public transport.

Keith A GARRETT
(Green Party)

There should be a review of transport across the whole of the county showing where people need to travel to and what is the best method of getting them there. This is likely to include improved public transport to get people between towns and villages, altered road junctions to give priority to cyclists, limitation of cars into the congested town and city centres.

The changes should focus on people - getting them to where they need to be - rather than the current requirement of everyone needing to drive a car everywhere they go.

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.

Teal Richard RILEY
(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.

Catherine E TERRY
(Green Party)

In terms of cycling, some of this money would go towards upgrading existing facilities and creating new cycles lanes, including providing cycle routes that do not stop and start suddenly, and new cycle paths to outlying villages. The Green Party would allocate at least £50 Million for these purposes.

I would support a system of 'All electric' buses within the city, reducing pollution particularly for cyclists and pedestrians. I would also push for new Public transport infrastructure where it is needed, such as new stations at Chesterton and Cherry Hinton. I have heard so many bad reports about our local bus service providers that I would strongly urge that a review is carried out and the bus provider contract is put out to tender if possible.

I 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.

The rail links to and from Cambridge are reasonable with regards carrying cycles at the moment, but if I can push for more and longer trains with better cycle storage, I will.

The guided busway will be operational soon. This has been an object of contention for so long and it hasn't even started running! Now that it is nearly finished and there is very little we can do to change the amount of money already spent on it, I suggest that we all use it as much as possible, to give it a fair trial, and hopefully learn more about what will be useful in the future.

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.

Robert YOUNG
(Green Party)

Cycling in Cambridge is a more attractive mode of transport than it is in many other British towns and cities, but it still lags a very long way behind other places where I have cycled (e.g. Leiden in the Netherlands). My top priority for the County Council's money would be for an integrated cycle network that allows residents and visitors to travel into and around Cambridge in safety.

There should be hybrid cycle lanes on all major roads, segregation of cyclists and pedestrians across commons and where on-path cycle routes exist. Cycle paths to the surrounding villages would reduce the need for people to drive into Cambridge and congestion would be cut. We would allocate at least £50 Million for these purposes.

I would be in favour of public transport infrastructure such as new stations at Chesterton, Addenbrookes and Cherry Hinton. All electric or bio-fuel buses would be introduced to reduce pollution particularly for cyclists and pedestrians.

I would support 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.

I would like to see money spent on an integrated transport system, 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 transport interchanges.

I would like to see a major rethink on transport policy at the county council: it is clear that car drivers are given the highest priority in the current system. I would like to see cyclists, pedestrians and users of public transport given higher consideration in future.

Thomas A WOODCOCK
(Independent)

Trams, trains and cycles.
They should give us the money to us for tpublic transport without the fiasco of the congestion charge.
If we don't want cars in the city centre then stop all cars from going inside inner ring road - don't creates an flat tax that hits the poor. The congestion charge will continue to prioritize cars to be dominant transport in the city!

Christine FREEMAN
(Labour Party)

This question raises a great many issues when we don't even have a congestion charging proposal which satisfies local needs yet. This needs a more coherent, holistic planning approach to establish priorities.

Leonard A FREEMAN
(Labour Party)

The scheme now looks in doubt. But should it proceed, I would want to use the absolute maximum amount of money to provide more and SAFER cycling provision.

Michael G SARGEANT
(Labour Party)

The County Council already has powers given to it by the Labour Government to control public transport which it is not using. This would be a good start to improving local provision. If increased funding is forthcoming, then I would see it being used for both public transport and cycling. In both cases, there must be better provision of routes to encourage the use of public transport and cycling so that they are seen as the easiest way to get around Cambridge.

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.

Kilian BOURKE
(Liberal Democrat)

Vastly improved bus services. More Park and Ride sites much further out of town: the existing system only alleviates congestion, but not pollution. All the cars drive 90% into town and then 90% of the way back. If there were more and smaller sites, emissions would plummet. A dramatic improvement of the cycle infrastructure in and around the city: we need a cogent, connected cycle route through the city-centre, to which arterial routes from outside it lead. Ideally a tram in the Romsey area, which could connect to any development on the Marshall's site, if it ever happens; or, alternately, a pod-system, like they have recently installed in Heathrow. And improved rail services in general. The number of disused rail tracks in the area is just silly.

Keith EDKINS
(Liberal Democrat)

I would hope to see a balanced provision of bus improvements and walking / cycling facilities, to encourage as many people as possible to abandon their cars on journeys of various lengths. I understand the idea of opening a railway station in either Cherry Hinton or Fulbourn has been floated in the fairly recent past, and would hope that the feasibility of this could now be revisited.

Susan GYMER
(Liberal Democrat)

One of my bugbears is that we have cycle paths only to the south of Cottenham and to Rampton. The guided bus goes through Westwick and many villagers have expressed a wish for a cycle route in that direction. Children attending CVC live in Landbeach and in Waterbeach and this limits activities after school, affecting friendship groups. Building cycle paths, however, should not be at the expense of school buses (this was thought a problem when a cycle path between Impington and Milton was suggested). Building a cycle path to the north could also potentially encourage leisure routes and so bring business to the village.

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

Arguably, £500million from TIF is equivalent to 30+ years of normal funding for improvements to (as opposed to maintenance of) the transport network. It's a very large sum, but it would be easy to spend five times as much.

I want to see step change investment in cycling and walking provision, along the lines suggested by the Cycling Campaign, and major investment into bus services within and outside the city, including new dedicated routes, improved frequency, evening and weekend services, smart ticketing, real time information, low emissions vehicles etc. I think buses are the right unit of public transport for this sub-region because of the value for money and route flexibility they offer, but we need more dedicated routes including a link for the two guided bus sections and links to the new urban extensions (perhaps with some use of tunnelling). I am worried that a failure to provide segregated bus routes along key desire lines will result in a glut of on-street bus priority measures which could be detrimental to cyclists.

Julian L HUPPERT
(Liberal Democrat)

500 million would allow us to make a step change in what is provided - but it must be done right. Rather than go through every possible scheme, let me describe some principles.

If we are to persuade people to reduce car usage, we must provide good, safe, fast, reliable and convenient alternatives. The hierarchy of preference for use is walking/cycling > buses > car. We should therefore advantage them in that order; remembering that schemes such as car sharing will also be important. I do have concerns that some of the existing proposals are overly focused on bus provision; while this is essential, we don;t want to transfer people from walking or cycling to buses, and I am uncomfortable about giving too much money and power to a single monopoly company.

We should use much of the money to improve cycle facilities; both through grand schemes, such as the long-awaited Chisholm trail, and through smaller, every day schemes such as improved maintenance - some of the existing cycle facilities are in a truly atrocious state. Gritting (or equivalent) of important routes in winter absolutely must happen; I raised this at the County Council and was delighted to support the Campaign's petition when that happened. We also need to use more innovative approaches; the hybrid facilities we have agreed for Hills Road Bridge are examples of this.

David JENKINS
(Liberal Democrat)

£500 million can only be spent once and we will need to make breakthrough changes with it. This means that we should look at opportunities which under normal circumstances are simply out of question like tunnels and some forms of mass transit (on a Cambridge scale).It should be spent to make the County a better place to live in for all but will inevitabley be skewed towards Cambridge and its surroundings. However we must not ignore the rest of the county.

Given the above we should spend it on establishing bus networks such the routes complement each other and also link into the rail system (why for example are there no rail commuter services to Waterbeach station?). And we should spend it on establishing a proper cycle network in and around Cambridge and once and for all ditch all the silly compromises of white lines on roades, inadequate width cycle paths and discountinuous routes.

Rupert W G MOSS-ECCARDT
(Liberal Democrat)

The obvious priority is to spend money to help the 'choice' that will entice people out of their cars into more sustainable modes of transport - walking, cycling, public transport, shared transport. So the money should go on schemes to encourage uptake of the least damaging of those. In the context of cycling this should be in improving the network of cycle routes (Arbury being pretty short of proper cycle routes) but improving their quality, the integration with where people want to go and getting the mix of on- and off-road routes right, giving confident cyclists the same opportunities and safety as those who are less confident on a bike. Naturally, for those travelling from much further afield, improving the public transport options is vital.

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.

Sarah C WHITEBREAD
(Liberal Democrat)

I would like to see the money spent on improving public transport provision, and cycleways / footpaths, in and around Cambridge. The money should absolutely not be spent on building an Ely bypass, as was once proposed by the Conservative cabinet!

In terms of provision for cyclists, I would like to see decent cycle lanes - by that I mean hybrid lanes - introduced on all major routes around the city, where possible.

The important thing for the cycle improvements is that they are implemented properly, in consultation with groups like the cycling campaign. I would hate more shared use pedestrian/cycle paths, for example, but it seems the County favour these, if the new Addenbrookes access road is anything to go by.

I would also like to see some more radical and ambitious ideas for public transport looked into - underground tunnels, for example. It seems to me an underground system would work very well in somewhere like Cambridge, where the narrow streets are already struggling to cope with the number of buses. If we can't look at that with £500 million on offer, when can we?

Siep S WIJSENBEEK
(Liberal Democrat)

Look above. safe cycle tracks so each child can and should go to school on a bike or on foot. At the same time they would not get fat.
And the n much better attractive public transport and not a load of old rattling stinking buses in fair ground colours which are mostly too large for the Cambridge streets anyway.

Kevin WILKINS
(Liberal Democrat)

£500 million must be used as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change travel in the city. Although I am a regular bus user and would dearly like to see services improved, such a capital sum should achieve more than simply lay on a few extra buses, move a few kerbs or improve cycle lanes here or there, even though all are obviously desirable.

That means we must look properly at tunnels for public transport. I cannot say whether they are affordable but I have no faith in the County Council's failure to consider them properly.

If such a radical improvement in public transport were possible, then it should be much easier to give a higher priority to cycling improvements on those arterial roads where some road space has been cleared.

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.

Marjorie R H BARR
(UK Independence Party)

My first priority would be for better bus services for Cambridge residents (who have been sidelined under previous transport plans) and better bus travel to and from Cambridgeshire villages. Then I would support increasing facilities for cyclists as you are suggesting and extending cycle tracks.

Peter BURKINSHAW
(UK Independence Party)

To reduce the Council tax

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.