Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (County), May 2013: Cherry Hinton

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in May 2013.
Polling date: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • William James BARTER  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Sandra CRAWFORD  (Labour Party)
  • Timothy James HAIRE  (Conservative Party)
  • Megan PARRY  (Green Party)

Questions for Cherry Hinton 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

I cycle to and from the Cavendish lab on Madingley road every weekday. I also often cycle for exercise.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

I cycle to work daily. It is not possible to park where I work, and there is often gridlock in the rush hour, so the benefits of cycling are not only for my health, but are efficient, good for the environment, and save money.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

In cambridge, there is little need for me to drive so walking and cycling are my primary means of transport. Cycling is also a lesiure activity whether it is shorts trips around Cambridgeshire or longer tours.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

I used to cycle to work when I worked in the city as it was quicker and cheaper than driving, and good exercise too. I generally get around Cambridge by bike and sometimes go for rides up the guided busway or along the cycle route to Wicken Fen.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

I completely support investment in high-quality cycling routes. Investment in cycling is cost-effective and offers many benefits (such as reduction of carbon emissions).

For example, the Lib Dems fully support the Chisholm Trail to link Addenbrooke's to the Science Park, and have proposed £8M of investment in cycling across the area. We also need to encourage people to cycle - I fully support making cycling safer - where junctions are dangerous they need to be brought up to standard. I also support more gritting of cycleways and pavements in dangerous weather. Our alternative budget would provide an extra £200k per year to do this.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

I agree that the provision of infrastructure for cycling in Cambridge would be more cost effective than that for motor vehicles. Its presence would encourage more people to cycle, and lessen the need for more motor vehicle provision. I do know people who have told me that they have been put off cycling because of the dangers from heavy traffic and lack of cycle lanes, so this would be a welcome innovation.
Cycling is better for health, the environment, and the local economy.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

Yes. It is no suprise that Cambridge is one of the top cycling cities in the UK. It is the most sensible way to get about. But other public transport options must be availible.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

I agree that improving infrastructure for cycling would be the most cost effective option. Cambridge is famous for being a city of bicycles. It would be sensible to keep traffic to a minimum in the city centre to reduce pollution and improve public safety. Other public transport options should be encouraged for people undertaking longer journeys. There should be an incentive to use public transport over driving; at the moment rail travel is far too expensive.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

Broadly speaking, yes. I have always been in favour of evidence-based decision making, and priorities should be set with this in mind.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

Traffic policing should become a greater priority. Accompanied by education and other measures, this should ensure safe behaviour by all road users.
In Cherry Hinton, we have cycle lanes and traffic calming including bollards. We have had problems with cars hitting the bollards late at night due to driving too fast. This should not be considered a problem with the calming, but with the driver!
I think there should be greater penalties for drivers who are driving carelessly in residential areas - the bollards in this case could have potentially prevented a pedestrian or cyclist from being injured or killed.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

Yes. The Conservatives in Cambridge have for a long time supported this view. Enforcing traffic laws whether it be byicycles or cars is very important.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

I agree that policing should be evidence-based. Education on awareness of other road users, as well as reducing conflict through improvements to infrastructure, would be most effective as it would help to prevent incidents occurring in the first place. I think schemes police operate to sell bicycle lights to those caught without work better than handing out fines, for example. Obviously highly dangerous actions such as speeding through a pedestrian area should be punished.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

Broadly speaking, I agree here too, though obviously concrete proposals need to be examined - we need to see how plans fit in with existing road use, and make sure we set priorities in agreement with local communities.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

I and the Labour Party support a new Cambridgeshire bike plan. The Dutch infrastructure looks excellent, - it would be good to see it implemented in Cambridgeshire. It is known that good cycling infrastructure increases cycling, and encourages people who are nervous of busy roads to cycle. This could potentially reduce the number of cars on the road, especially for the school run.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

Personally I much prefer shared space; with roads decluttered, central lines removed etc. Which naturally brings down speeds and avoids conflicts, at the same time improving things for pedestrians. This will not work everywhere and on some commuter routes segragation is a good solution, if it is designed and implemented well.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

I agree that greater segregation would improve safety, although maybe there are alternative schemes out there which are equally effective. Better infrastructure for cyclists would mean fewer cars on the road which would benefit everyone. Any cycle plan would have to be appropriate for Cambridge's specific needs.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

It is clear that cycling has a major role to play in all the issues you list here. The Lib Dems want to extend the successful Bike Bank pilot scheme that gives young people free restored bikes and cycle training following a 6 week course that also gives an employment qualification. This would be done in partnership with secondary schools, youth clubs and 6th form colleges.

But we should not lose sight of other ways we can build upon the existing quality of life. For example, I fully support opening the local Chalk Pit lakes to the public if this can be done in a safe and sensitive way.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

Cycling to work and school instead of driving is excellent for health, it is good exercise, and helps to prevent air pollution. If most people cycled or walked, there would be fewer cars and gridlock in the rush hours, and probably fewer accidents as a result.
The county Council therefore can play a key role in providing safe cycling infrastructure for Cambridgeshire. The provision of safe cycling courses for children and bicycle sheds in schools would be necessary.
Cycling infrastructure could make parents more confident in allowing their children to cycle to school instead of being driven by car.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

Health is very important but I think in a place like Cambridge cycling should primarily be viewed as a transport infrastructure issue.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

Increased numbers of children cycling would clearly help to address all these issues. Improved infrastructure is vital for parents to feel their children are safe on a bike. I think it is important that any development plans for the transport system look at knock-on consequences for issues such as public health and the environment.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes, where possible, and in consultation with local residents.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

The Dutch system certainly looks excellent in terms of safety, and should be included in new schemes. In old historic streets of Cambridge other approaches may be needed, such as new cycle routes which avoid narrow roads with motor vehicles, (designated cycle routes), or more pedestrianised streets.
When possible, cycle lanes should be added and clearly marked and signed.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

No, not always. See my answer to question 4.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

As a cyclist I would feel much happier on the road with this dutch style system in place. Proposals would have to be looked into to see if this is feasible in Cambridge.

# Question 7

There are many places in Cambridge where existing infrastructure actively contributes to conflicts between different modes of transport (for example, cycle paths that give way at every crossing). Would you support the principle that cycling infrastructure should have the same level of importance as the general road environment, even if this means some reduction in car capacity?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

We should always consult with local residents and road users when considering the use of roads. If there is clear support across the board for more to be done locally then it should be done. It is clear that one very important area of the prioritisation you consider in this question must be the safety of all road users.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

Cyclists and pedestrians should be given priority.
In Cherry Hinton where I live, we have traffic calming that includes cycle lanes. There are points where the cycle lanes end , and no priority is given to cyclists at bus stops, mini roundabouts and junctions.
This needs to improve, and I am consulting residents about this at the present time.
Ideally to improve safety, the cycle lanes should be wider, and smoother, and priority given at junctions. But this will have to be decided in consultation with residents.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

A loaded question. Cycling should be considered on the same level of importance as the general road enviroment, as cyclists are part of the general road enviorment.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

Yes, cyclists have an equal right to use the road. Reducing conflict by making cycling easier would also benefit drivers as there would be less chance of a collision.

# Question 8

Do you agree that 20mph should become the norm for local streets in Cambridge and surrounding villages? Do you support this on all roads, all roads except major roads, or not at all?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

I support the introduction of 20mph speed limits for local streets (though not major A and B roads), in consultation with local residents.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

20mph is a sensible speed limit in residential areas. Signage and police enforcement are important to make sure people slow down in villages and residential streets.
It is the maximum speed that is sensible in traffic calmed areas, and does prevent accidents.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

No I don't. I think too often this is the easy option and without enforcement it means nothing. Again I would like roads to be decluttered and signage removed that will naturally bring the traffic speeds down. That said in some areas 20mph is an appropriate speed limit and should be signed as such.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

Yes, this is a sensible speed for busy residential areas. Local residents should be consulted to ensure 20mph areas are in the correct places.

# Question 9

Cambridge occupies a national leadership position as more than 50% of people use a bicycle once a month. How should the balance be struck between celebrating a national achievement in active transport and addressing strategically the many local shortcomings which still leave half of the population without the ability to choose active and healthy modes?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

We should be very proud of our position as national leaders. One of the first things many visitors to Cambridge comment on are the large number of bikes in the area!

But we should keep going! Cycling is a great way to get exercise, and bikes are an environmentally friendly form of transport. As we move into the 21st century this will only become more important as we seek to reduce our carbon emissions.

The Lib Dems in Cambridgeshire support investment in cycling: the Chisholm trail will connect Addenbrooke's to the Science Park - allowing more people to cycle. I was disappointed to learn that the Labour Group leader opposes the entirety of the necessary investment for this key cycle route. More gritting of cycle paths in poor weather will also enable more people to cycle through more of the year. And additional cycle parking will enable people to leave their bikes safely when they travel.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

Cambridge needs to make a statement with state of the art cycling infrastructure in new developments and a continued programme of improvements to older areas.

Signage leading into the city could be used to warn people to take care as vehicles are entering the number one cycling city!

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

It doesn't "leave half the population without the ability to choose active and healthy modes" you really are being silly now. While it is important to encourage people to cycle, and set up the infrastructure in such a way that this is a good option you will never persuaded everyone to get on a bike, nor should you. Many people prefer to take their exercise in other ways or indeed not at all.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

It is great that Cambridge has won this position, but it may be the case that cyclists chose to travel by bike in spite of infrastructure rather than because of it. Personally, I cycle because I care about reducing emissions, I need to keep my petrol costs down because the cost of living in Cambridge is far too high, and, despite the large numbers of cyclists, high levels of traffic make driving infuriating. I don't believe the facilities provided for cyclists in Cambridge match the high demand. The fact we have so many cyclists should be an incentive to improve conditions for them.

# 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?

William James BARTER
(Liberal Democrat)

I would like to reiterate my commitment to safer cycling in the Cambridgeshire area. Where junctions are dangerous for cyclists they must be brought up to a safe standard.

We also need to encourage people to cycle. We want to extend the successful bike bank scheme where young people can get free restored bikes, cycle training, and an employment qualification.

Above all we need to maintain the quality of life - we need to make sure Cambridgeshire continues to be an area where people want to cycle.

Sandra CRAWFORD
(Labour Party)

I am concerned for the safety of cyclists in Cherry Hinton. We have had traffic calming there for twenty plus years ( I was a member of a pressure group which helped to get the traffic calming implemented).
The scheme is to be upgraded in consultation with local residents. The cycle lanes are narrow and stop at various points where cyclists have to give way. Also where they just stop, because previous road works have obliterated the lines and they have not been repainted. There is a problem with children and adults cycling on the pavement.
We need views of people who could make suggestions as to what would make the High Street safe for cyclists, and avoid future accidents

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

Beyond saying that I regularly use a bike but do not have the zeal of a convert as a bicycle has been my primary form of transport since I was at primary school. I want roads that are accesible to cars, bikes and pedestrians, in general the shared use model is my favoured route, the way Exhibition Road in London is now laid out is the sort of model I would favour. It is now a fantastic space for everyone who uses it.

Megan PARRY
(Green Party)

There desperately needs to be more space provided to park bikes near the station and in the town centre. Even when I arrive at the station early in the morning there is never anywhere to park my bike. In town cyclists frequently have to resort to locking bikes to railings and lamp posts which is not good for other road users.

There also needs to be better provision for bikes on trains. Trains have only 2 or 3 spaces for bikes, or sometimes no room, and you have to book in advance which is not convenient. I'm sure many commuters are put off from using the train as they cannot cycle either end of their journey.

In Cherry Hinton the cycle lanes need improving, and it would be great to promote and improve cycle routes from Cherry Hinton into the surrounding countryside.

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.