Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (County), May 2013: Castle

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in May 2013.
Polling date: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Edward CARLSSON BROWNE  (Labour Party)
  • John HIPKIN  (Independent)
  • Richard Graham JEFFS  (Conservative Party)
  • Nicholas David WILSON  (UK Independence Party)

Questions for Castle division candidates (10 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10 

# Question 1

What experience do you have of cycling in the Cambridgeshire area?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

I have cycled in Cambridge since I came here as a post-grad in 1995. At one stage I commuted to Leicester and had an old bike there (where cycle parking is conveniently under cover at the train station) and a better bike here. I now have a 6yr-old on a 'tagalong' behind the adult bike.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I’ve cycled in Cambridge since I first moved to the city in 2005. I don’t own a car, so my primary mode of transport is by bike. I suspect at one point or another in the past eight years I must have cycled nearly every major road in the city, so I’m relatively familiar with which bits of the cycling infrastructure in Cambridge do and don’t work. I haven’t cycled to the same extent in the countryside around Cambridge, but I’ve ventured out there on occasion and have some experiences of the challenges that poses.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

I cycle daily to and from the city centre.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

I have cycled in Cambridge for 20 years and driven here for 15. I hope this gives me a rounded perspective of the issues.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)

Nicholas Wilson sent a general reply rather than answers to specific questions. He said...
'I have cycled in Cambridge in the past and both my children cycle; however, arthritis has now put paid to my use of a bicycle.'; then continue to 10 below.

# Question 2

Cambridge is seeing massive housing growth, with tens of thousands of new journeys into the city expected daily. Given that building tunnels, knocking down houses, or providing new public transport is very expensive, would you agree that creating very high-quality cycling routes to encourage new people to cycle offers by far the best cost-benefit ratio for transport improvements that facilitate growth of the City and surrounding areas?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

High quality properly lit cycle routes are essential for the city to cope. It is also essential that routes are not left until the last brick is laid in new developments so that the habit of cycling is adopted early on in development.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

In general, my answer would be yes.

Obviously we have to accept that new developments will require a certain amount of provision for cars. For some people, motor vehicles are a necessity for their work and for a lot of other people it’s useful to have an option. I can fit my weekly shop in a couple of cycle panniers, but if I were feeding a family rather than just myself it would be advantageous to have a boot to stick shopping bags in. And of course other people may just prefer using their cars, and it’s neither possible nor sensible to try to prevent that.

I’d also argue that it is sensible and cost-effective to provide public transport options near new developments. Labour is in favour of using already existing powers to regulate buses to provide more (and better) public transport in the county. This is particularly important when the weather is foul in winter and for those who find cycling difficult for health reasons.

Nevertheless, as much as possible the aim with new developments should be to make cycling an easy and viable choice of transportation.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

We need to put commuters first to get people out of their cars. I would seek to investigate more secure cycle parking facilities and segregated, awning-covered routes to cope with our often inclement weather. Without these improvements, most would stick to the car. Measures encouraging people to cycle or use public transport are cheaper, reduce emissions and are more long-term than expanding the road network. Some people are unable to cycle so more needs to be done on public transport. Perhaps a river-based Park & Sail would be interesting to look at?

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 3

Do you support our view that traffic policing, of all groups of road users (cyclists, drivers, etc), should become a greater police priority, and that this should be evidence-based, namely based on the relative levels of danger presented by each such group?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

It would be rather nice if it didn't need to be a policing priority. However, I believe that policing priorities should be set locally by communities with enough evidence and information to make an evidence-based and informed choice.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I’m certainly not in favour of traffic policing being based upon arbitrary prejudices, so to that extent my answer is yes.

Traffic policing in relation to cycling should be constructive and should seek to encourage safer bike use. I think the L. I. T. scheme which allows cyclists to have their fines commuted if they demonstrate they’ve bought bike lights is a great example of this. I also support the Cycle Campaign’s calls for better signage – the Arbury Road/Milton Road junction is an example where the current situation is just not good enough.

I would never say I favour less enforcement of the rules of the road for cyclists, both because we have to accept that the behaviour of a minority of cyclists is problematic and because a small proportion of motorists would view that as a sign that there is a conspiracy against them, and I don’t think we should do anything to validate the paranoia of the sort of person who comments on the Cambridge News’ website.

I would say I favour enforcement that works. I think it’s uncontroversial that the primary aim of traffic policing is to reduce the amount and severity of road accidents. It’s also the case that motor vehicles are the fastest and heaviest things on the roads. This being the case, basic physics suggests that most effective interventions relate to motor vehicles.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Wrong to class road users generically. Some cyclists are a danger to pedestrians and motorists!

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Our police do a great job and have been focusing on cyclists recently, specifically with reference to lights. I think that both drivers and cyclists need to respect one-another by sticking to the law and the Highway Code with some help from the police. I like the idea of "Think Cyclist" signs for out-of-towners who may not be used to the volume of cyclists on Cambridge's roads.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 4

London’s Mayor has launched plans for proper prioritisation of space for cycling in London, with a 15-mile substantially-segregated route by removing traffic lanes from cars, three ‘mini-Hollands’ and more. Do you and your party support a new London-style bike plan for Cambridgeshire?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

I do support a good bike-plan for Cambridge. I like the fact that some of the Colleges in my ward do a cycle/borrow system. In our County Election Manifesto we lay out an exciting vision of what Cambridge could be like for cyclists. It includes the Chisholm Trail, better cycle links Cambridgeshire-wide, improving junctions (I note that the University has no plans to improve the junction on Huntingdon Road with the building of the NWSite - this is not really good enough), lowering car speeds, better winter gritting of routes, as well as investment in cycling.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I think the London plan is exciting and I’d be keen to see elements of it in Cambridgeshire, although due to the cost and London’s particular advantages (notably a level of public transport provision that is vastly superior to that found in Cambridge, let alone the shire) it probably wouldn’t be possible to adopt the scheme in toto.

Having said that, I don’t think we should be afraid to think big. Even if we aren’t able to implement every single bit of it, I do think we should have an ambitious cycling plan for Cambridgeshire which learns lessons from the continent. I’ve never cycled in the Netherlands, but I have cycled in Copenhagen and my experience there makes me very keen to look at measures that don’t just allow but also encourage bike use.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes

I don't belong to a party!

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Any vision to improve safety is welcome but, given Cambridge's limited space, concern must be shown as to the impact of schemes on residents and local businesses. I support the idea of more segregated cycle lanes, perhaps with a second kerb, and more informative signage. A real problem is the sudden disappearance of cycle lanes dumping bikes in to traffic.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 5

The County Council now has responsibility for public heath. As a member of the Council, how would you address such urgent and diverse issues as air quality, obesity, children’s independence, and the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

As a Green Liberal Democrat I care about air quality and public health. I have particular concerns about particulate matter, on which there is a national objective below which there is no safe level. I would like to see better and more air-quality monitoring.

Cycling improves health and doesn't harm the environment. I would like to see a return to the school cycling proficiency test being free for all, and bicycles loaned to children who can't afford them so that they could pass the test.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

First let me say that I support the Chisholm Trail and that I see every reason for an application for a Cycle City Ambition Grant to be made.

I don’t think cycling is going to be the major part of Cambridgeshire’s public health strategy, but it can certainly play a role, both in its own right and as a method of accessing other leisure and sporting opportunities. I’m in favour of improving bike parking at schools to make it easier for children to cycle there (to be honest, I’m in favour of improve bike parking full stop.) I support programmes to teach children to learn to ride safely and to perform basic cycle maintenance.

It’s definitely important that we don’t overstress the dangers of cycling, at the expense of forgetting its health benefits (and indeed the fact that it’s fun.) Improving the safety of cyclists on the road is important, but we should never forget that the vast majority of cycle journeys end without incident. I grew up cycling on rural roads, without cycle lanes, or indeed basic levels of co-ordination. I came through that unscathed and with the much better level of cycling infrastructure Cambridge has we shouldn’t be afraid to encourage people to cycle.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Get them cycling!

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Driving down emissions and keeping Cambridge moving must be a priority as the city expands. The Science Park cycle link would enable many to use the railway and bicycle to commute and link city youngsters to Milton Country Park. When it comes to kids' independence, obesity and sedentary lifestyles, i believe that these issues are led by socioeconomic conditions that need to be addressed at a national level.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 6

Do you believe that Dutch-quality cycle provision, with cycle tracks that are separate both from pedestrians and motor traffic and that have priority over side roads, should a) be included within all new traffic schemes and b) be considered and consulted on for all modifications to existing schemes?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

Where possible, I think these should be the default option.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

In principle, I’d be keen to see Dutch-quality cycle provision on main roads where it’s possible to implement it. Shared-use cycle paths are a particular bugbear of mine, both because the behaviour of pedestrians is less predictable than that of motor vehicles (a problem not easily solved unless we start fitting pedestrians with mirrors and indicators) and because the surface on most pavements is rarely conducive to cycling at a steady pace. For those people who, like me, ride elderly bikes with limited numbers of gears, the loss of momentum you get when cycling over pavements in poor condition is a real annoyance.

So for reasons of speed and safety I would like to see provision for cyclists separate from both motorists and pedestrians. Except under exceptional circumstances, I support all cycle lanes being at least two metres wide and where possible I think it would be advantageous for the cycle lane to be at a different height from both the pavement and the road in order to make clear that it is not a continuation of either.

Obviously, it’s easier to ensure this with new developments than to modify existing traffic schemes, but if 20mph limits are imposed across the city those modifications will be happening anyway in many places. I’d be in favour of consultation on Dutch-quality cycle provision whenever modifications are planned, with a presumption that they should be put in place unless there are good reasons not to.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Again, any vision to improve safety is welcome but, given Cambridge's limited space, concern must be shown as to the impact of schemes on residents and local businesses. These sorts of schemes could become disjointed if squeezed in to all addition or modification to traffic schemes. There needs to be an umbrella attitude to ensure that the city cycle network is a system in itself, rather than a large number of more expensive, smaller schemes.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 7

What are your aspirations for the major new developments in the Cambridge area? Do you agree that Dutch-quality cycle provision, separate from pedestrians, is a standard to which the planning authorities should be holding developers?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

There is an attempt, with the NWSite development to go some way towards this with the planned 'Ridgeway' cycle route. I would go much further, for example, the supermarket on the NWSite. At present the University is planning to have electric delivery vehicles, but I see no reason why a cycle delivery service shouldn't be the default option here. Also, I am pushing for the supermarket to be the greenest ever with trolleys that clip onto the bike to take home a whole week's shop. It seems daft that I am able take two toddlers to school in trailer behind my bike yet supermarket trolleys have not evolved to take home a week's shop on a bike.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I’ve largely answered this in my answer to the previous question. For new developments I believe the aim should be to ensure that cycling is fast, easy and convenient and Dutch-style arrangements may often be the most appropriate way of accomplishing this.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Yes, the city has been short-changed by developers in the past, sometimes due to missed deadlines for funding caused by dilly-dallying indecision within the council. We need to be more firm with developers.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 8

Do you support major development of the A14? What do you consider the effects on Cambridge would be if or when this were done? What measures would you support to ameliorate negative effects on cyclists of any traffic increases in Cambridge that this might cause (estimates have been made of a 30% increase)?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

I am strongly opposed to major development of the A14. I have campaigned against the catastrophic expansion of the A14 for over four years. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLKEs5HxT5I
I would like to see the lorry freight go by rail, get the speed down on the A14 and have cycle routes between some of the villages that have no option at present but to use a dangerous road.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I’m keen to reduce the amount of freight on our roads and to shift it to rail instead. Hopefully work on the Ely North junction will help to shift more freight coming from the docks at Felixstowe off the A14, but I’m afraid that kind of change isn’t going to occur overnight. In the meantime, the A14 is dangerous and operating above capacity. An upgrade is needed in order to allow the development at Northstowe (and potentially also Waterbeach) to go ahead. Without these developments, there would be a need to build much more housing within Cambridge itself, which would probably lead to drastic increases in density at the NIAB and North West Cambridge developments. In their present form, these two developments will have a marked impact upon Castle ward. I do not think it is a good idea to exacerbate this unnecessarily.

For all these reasons, I believe the A14 needs to be upgraded, but given its importance I’m very clear that there is a need for full consultation with residents and businesses and scrutiny by both the City and County Councils. In particular, I have major concerns about plans to fund the scheme through the imposition of tolling on part of the section being upgraded. The A14 is national infrastructure and therefore should ordinarily be funded by national government spending. The success of tolling schemes in the United Kingdom is, if we’re going to be extremely generous, patchy, and it may affect usage of other roads by traffic in unpredictable ways.

I do believe that any upgrades to the A14 should aim at minimum to maintain, and hopefully to improve, crossings over the route for non-motorists. Closer work will be needed here once we have more details of the specific scheme.

I’m a little sceptical of the upper estimates for increases in traffic due to A14 upgrades and would support more detailed modelling that also takes into account the transport impact of planned growth in the Cambridge area over the next two decades. But even as things currently stand Huntingdon Road is not a nice road to cycle, especially during rush hour. I would support measures to reduce the speed of those entering the city from the A14 and to improve safety for cyclists.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes I support a major upgrade of the A14 and so do the Lib-Dems (see Council meeting of April 18th).

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

Expansion of the A14 is desperately needed to safely carry increasing traffic from the eastern ports. We have a wonderful Park & Ride system in Cambridge that is beneficial to cyclists by reducing the number of cars on the road. More could be done to promote it. Just off the top of my head, could motorists be held at the Park & Ride site to queue to get in to the city? Maybe they would get the bus instead?

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 9

Our aspirations for Huntingdon Road are the inclusion of on-road cycle lanes at least 2m wide on both sides, separate from both cars and pedestrians, with priority over sideroads such that cyclists do not have to stop and give way at each side road (a common problem with most cycle tracks in Cambridge). Do you support this aspiration, and should this be part-funded by developers of new housing in the area?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

I would support this, so long as pedestrians and cars are separated safely.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

In principle I’m supportive of this aspiration, particularly further out from the centre where the road is wide and traffic is at its fastest. It would of course be necessary to consult with residents and students in order to make sure that the scheme fits with their needs, but this is an area where I’d be very enthusiastic to work with the Cycling Campaign to improve infrastructure for cyclists.

It may be appropriate for S106 funding to be used to this end, but planning is a City Council issue and hence there is a need for the City and County Councils to reach a common position here.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Yes

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

The new developments on Huntingdon Road have led to, in my opinion, a crazy road layout, second only to Hills Road bridge. The entire road scheme needs addressing for motorists and cyclists alike. Again, I believe that the city has been short-changed by developers and that we need to get more out of them.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.

# Question 10

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?

Belinda Margaret BROOKS-GORDON
(Liberal Democrat)

I am grateful for the support and information I have received so far from the Cycle Campaign in trying to get roads adopted earlier so that cycle lanes are not parked in. It is bad enough that cycle lanes are parked in by cars, but I recently had a burger van removed because it set up business on a cycle lane at the NIAB development. I also managed to get the speed of Huntingdon Rd reduced from 40mph to 30mph. I have an ongoing campaign to prevent construction lorries thundering down Huntingdon Rd. I have managed to get agreement for a pedestrian crossing on Lady Margaret Road.

Edward CARLSSON BROWNE
(Labour Party)

I’ve been a member of Cambridge Cycling Campaign since 2010.

John HIPKIN
(Independent)

I wish the Cambridge Cycling Campaign would devote more of its energy and time to publicising the need for responsible cycling.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

I would like to see cycle light vending machines (batteries included!) around the city as they often get stolen. I usually keep two bicycles so my guests can cycle the city with me.

Nicholas David WILSON
(UK Independence Party)

I have a holistic view of road use and prefer to look at the big picture which takes into account the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and delivery vehicles along with the budgetary constraints implicit in any infrastructure project.

I have seen three major accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles and am concerned in particular about students coming to Cambridge for the first time, who may not have had much, (if any) experience of cycling, and may not be acclimatised to traffic driving on the left.

If I were elected, I intend to try and obtain accident statistics from the Police and from Addenbrookes to establish whether there is scope for an initiative to improve cycling safety, particularly for novice cyclists, and determine how this might be done.

As an example, there are a number of road junctions controlled by traffic lights where it would be far safer for cyclists to cross the junctions at the same time as pedestrians, rather than move off in front of the vehicular traffic. Pedestrians must retain priority.

I note the comments in your questionnaire regarding cycle lanes having priority over traffic on side roads. Unfortunately, granting priority to cyclists is not possible unless the vehicle driver has a sufficient field of view to see fast moving cyclists in plenty of time to stop. Where a clear field of view is lacking, giving cyclists priority would put them at serious risk.

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.