Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City/SouthCambs), May 2011: Arbury

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council (and South Cambs District Council) in May 2011.
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2011
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Stephen Roger LAWRENCE  (Green Party)
  • Alan LEVY  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Ali MEFTAH  (Conservative Party)
  • Carina O'REILLY  (Labour Party)
  • Albert Charles WATTS  (UK Independence Party)

Questions for Arbury ward candidates (7 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

# Question 1

Our new Cycling Vision 2016 report, available on our website and as featured in the local media recently, outlines a range of proposals for increasing the rate of cycling in the area. Do you give Cycling Vision 2016 your backing, and what are you most keen to see implemented?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Many interesting ideas - esp of course the Chisholm Trail, and more bike racks at the station

This is a big document, and I have not read it all in detail.

My experience is that the way cycles and pedestrians are encouraged to go (together, iin conflict) thru pinch-points across roads at pedestrian junctions (eg between Swimming pool and Parker's Piece) needs to be sorted out. Also some absurd right-angled bends.

Flush kerbs.

General education of highway contractors into the art of bicycling so they don't go on making silly mistakes all the time?

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

I am largely in favour of the proposals in the cycling vision document, although I would want more evidence of the practicability of some of the more radical elements, such as the proposed changes at Mitchams Corner.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

I do back the report. I think it's crucial to get local residents on side for cycling improvements as the more stake they have in bike lanes and other alterations to local architecture, the more momentum there will be to implement such improvements and to retain them. I think proper consultation and engagement is absolutely crucial. Such high profile consultations could also help increase the rates of cycling as residents became aware of how engaged the council was on this issue.

The one thing I am most keen to see implemented is proper cycle parking facilities at Cambridge station. I commute to London regularly and am therefore constantly aware of the severe shortage of provision. I would personally campaign to see this improved, for example by releasing car parking spaces for cycle parking and making the area more cyclist-friendly.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 2

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 work towards a situation where every resident and every worker in every ward can keep a bike safe?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Arjuna. Railway Station. West Rd Concert Hall. Leys School (Brookside)

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

This question primarily applies to areas of terraced housing that front directly onto the pavement and that have no access from the road to any cycle parking at the rear of the properties. The only area of Arbury that has properties of this type is the "Castle" triangle between Victoria Road and Chesterton Road. The most recent figures that I have seen for this area showed that it had four residents permits for every three parking spaces. The city council is already working with Streetcar to reduce the number of cars in this area by adding dedicated parking spaces for Streetcars, and by encouraging residents to join the scheme instead of owning (and having to find parking space for) their own vehicles. I have been strongly supportive of this scheme. I would certainly be willing to support the replacement of a small number of on-street car parking spaces with cycle parking provision if there is a demonstrated demand from residents and if it would reduce demand for on-street car parking.

In some places it may also be possible to increase cycle parking provision without reducing the number of on-street residents' parking spaces, for example by using bits of road that are unsuitable for car parking due to issues with sightlines at road junctions, or by reducing the number of pay and display parking spaces.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

I think that replacement of some on-street car parking in favour of bicycle parking could well be a very useful means of helping to solve the current shortage, but would have to be done very carefully and in consultation with local residents. There are areas of Cambridge where the problem is critical, such as in Petersfield and the train station, as well as parts of the city centre. By contrast, in Arbury there are fewer areas of terraced housing, for example, where the problem of cycle parking regularly becomes severe. If elected, I would survey local residents in Arbury to find out where residents struggle to park their bikes securely and make sure anything we suggest to alleviate this is resident-led.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 3

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?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

If there was a separate traffic police unit, possibly. "This is common in other countries".

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

The bad behaviour of a significant minority of road users is a major problem right across Cambridge. It makes the roads less safe both for the perpetrators and for everyone else. The poor behaviour exhibited by some cyclists is particularly unfortunate because it is regularly used by non cyclists as an excuse for their own bad behaviour and for not improving the provision of cycling facilities.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

Yes, with the caveat that this must be done after discussion with police as to what would be moved down the priority to allow it to happen. Dangerous cycling is a menace not just to pedestrians but to other cyclists, and drivers, but it may not contribute to a sense of personal danger as much as other crimes that are currently police priorities, and setting police priorities needs to be done with a wide vision of what's important to keep residents feeling safe.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 4

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?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Yes. I don't see why 25mph isn't also appropriate in some locations. "This is common in other countries". Might the addition of a "25mph" be a good bargaining ploy with others who might now wish to see reductions?

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

In principle yes - but again with the caveat that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a main connecting road from a residential road, especially in Arbury. This is something that would have to be carefully consulted upon, and the question of enforcement is one that would be pretty crucial in making such a move credible.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 5

Do you agree that the new cycle lanes and parking ban in Gilbert Road has considerably improved safety for the very many children who use this route?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Sorry, Haven't had chance to ride it.

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

I am one of the few residents of Gilbert Road who was in favour of this scheme. I took the view that road safety for a large number of cyclists was more important than the occasional convenience of some residents. I am concerned however that the traffic calming measures were removed from the scheme at the last minute, with no consultation and no thought whatsoever to the likely impact of the change on road safety. There is already quite a bit of evidence that car speeds on Gilbert Road have increased outside peak times and I still see large numbers of cyclists using the pavements. Those people who I have talked to about this have said that they do so because the high speed of vehicles on the road, which makes them feel unsafe despite the presence of the cycle lanes.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

I am aware that cycling down Gilbert Road is now much more pleasant and safer than it was. However, many residents of the road are not happy about the lanes, and I think that a better consultation process, with more input from local residents, could have found a solution to the issue of schoolchildren riding down the pavement to the school without making so many residents unhappy. Other residents are of course delighted by the lanes, but it has been extremely divisive and poor consultation seems to be at the heart of this - I would much rather see improvements with local residents brought on board from the beginning.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 6

There is no usable infrastructure supporting less confident cyclists along Arbury Road, Union Lane and Church Street, but very many pinch points and parked cars. Recent proposals were opposed by Cambridge Cycling Campaign, as they risked harming cyclists interests without providing a continuous, safe route along Arbury Road and Union Lane. Do you support a cycle route from Orchard Park to Riverside Bridge and if so, what infrastructure measures do you propose to encourage cyclists of different levels of ability and confidence here?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

I think this sort of thing will probably only be solved by having the people responsible for road layout changes using bicycles themselves. If necessary, pay them to spend time cycling round the city. Otherwise it's just like a ball being batted round a court.

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

I do support the idea of such a route. I objected to the proposal to put a cycle path on the pavement outside St Lawrence's school, since this would clearly have been hazardous for children arriving at and leaving the school on foot. I was also extremely disappointed that the county council did not see fit to re-position the street furniture away from the cycle path when they upgraded the pedestrian crossing outside the Manor School, despite the fact that I asked them to do so. As your objection letter points it is hard to think of many changes to the existing infrastructure that would actually improve the situation. Apart from relatively minor (but nonetheless valuable) improvements such as repositioning street furniture, I agree that the best solution is probably a 20mph limit on Arbury Road, Union Lane and Church Street.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

I use part of this route regularly as I have an allotment towards the end of Arbury Road, and the provision is currently inadequate. I think the entire route needs to be rethought as a whole, rather than the scrappy provision which currently exists, which is very unclear and confusing, and which leads to cyclists coming on and off the pavement regularly often with no clear idea as to whether they are meant to be on the road or not. This may mean a change in some infrastructure and a significant investment - given current financial constraints this may not be possible. I don't think there are any easy solutions to this particular problem, as Arbury Road is a main connecting route and a 20mph speed limit might be difficult and unpopular to enforce, though it could well be imposed without trouble on other parts of the route. As such, a raft of complementary measures might be necessary to allow the route to be brought up to a proper standard.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 7

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 recent past?

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Wear good reflective clothing at night. Reflectors, etc, on the bike, pedals, wheels.

Alan LEVY
(Liberal Democrat)

The cycling campaign needs to do more to inform non cyclists about its activities. In talking to residents I frequently get comments about the poor behaviour of cyclists, which some people see as somehow being associated with the Campaign (although they generally can't even remember the organisation's name). I do of course point out to them that Campaign members are unlikely to be the ones who misbehave, but awareness of the Campaign amongst the public in general is very low. As for my support for cycling measures and other more sustainable transport schemes, see my responses to the previous questions.

Ali MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

I cycle every day and am a member of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. As such I have a personal interest in cycling safety as well as in making Cambridge a more sustainable city.

Albert Charles WATTS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

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.