Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (County), May 2013: Market

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in May 2013.
Polling date: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Edward CEARNS  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Sheila LAWLOR  (Conservative Party)
  • Dan RATCLIFFE  (Labour Party)
  • Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL  (Green Party)

Questions for Market division candidates (11 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11 

# Question 1

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

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I have been cycling in the Cambridgeshire area on a daily basis since I first came to Cambridge as a student in 1995.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

Cycling is my main means of transport in Cambridge, and has been all my working life, ever since I moved here to do my PhD at Sidney Sussex College. I use my bike to go everywhere in and about Cambridge, as do my husband and son. As a family cycling is essential to our life in Cambridge.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

As I live in central Cambridge and don't own a car, cycling and walking are my main modes of transport. I use the route across Jesus Green, Midsummer Common and through the Grafton area almost every day. I find it a good way of keeping in shape as well as being very cost-effective.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

As non-driver, main means of transport. Previous Whittlesford-Duxford commuter (via trains). Some cycling in outlying areas.

# 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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I agree that strategic cycle routes should be part of a transport improvement plan for Cambridge.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto states that there would be a capital spend over a 5 year period of £4 million.
However, it needs to be recognised that not everybody is able to cycle and that a plan would need to include provision for an improved bus system too-undoing the damage that the Conservative led County’s bus cuts have inflicted. This sustainable public transport network is another of our priorities in our alternative budget.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

I agree that cycling routes tend to be more cost-effective than heavy infrastructure. Yet cost is not the only reason for encouraging cycling: the environmental, aesthetic and cultural benefits cycling brings Cambridge versus other modes of transport are enormous. One reason for the building of cycle lanes that I would stress is safety: as our roads become busier it is vital that we ensure there are high-quality routes on which cyclists can travel safely.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

High quality cycle routes are an essential part of any integrated transport plan. Several planned developments in the region are considerable distances from Cambridge city centre and so cycle provision needs to be matched with improved public transport and, locally, pedestrian routes.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Yes

# 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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

A 20mph sped limit has been brought in across all residential streets in Market which I fully support.
It already has become a priority for the market area police team to tackle anti social cycling-which I also think is important.

All road users have a role to play in this and is not helpful to demonise any one group.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

I wholeheartedly agree that we need to improve road safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and to cut down on anti-social road use. And yes, traffic policing must play a central role.

It's not enough to bring in measures like speed limits but fail to enforce them: my residents' group has evidence that the 20mph speed limit is not being observed. Increased traffic policing is one way I'd tackle this (using evidence as a guide to focus resources efficiently), but while policing can certainly deal with the symptoms of the problem, it cannot remove the root cause.

Too many vehicles are crammed onto our narrow central streets, e.g. King Street, Bridge St., and Mill Road; and dangerous driving takes place there and on wider ones, a fact I know only too well.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

All policing priorities should be evidence-based. Throughout my campaign I have called for greater consideration by drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. We all share our roads and public spaces and inconsiderate users make life difficult and often dangerous for others. Enforcement action is more effective when accompanied with education. My school made us take our cycling proficiency test and the lessons learnt then still serve me today. Whilst dangerous drivers have the greatest potential for serious injury, we all have to be more responsible. On the doorstep elderly residents and parents of young children, amongst others, have raised fear of collisions with cyclists, especially on Christ's Pieces and around the Grafton. Better signage and enforcement should help dispel these fears.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Yes: particularly re mobile phone use (cars and cycles).

# 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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes,I support it in principle but consideration also needs to be given to alternative public transport needs and Cambridge's infrastructure is so restricted that it would be hard to do this in places without removing dedicated bus lanes etc. The Chisholm Trail in our budget would be a very good step towards this.

The County Council needs to be far more ambitious in lobbying central government for more funding for transformational investment in cycling. The Lib Dems City run council is currently in the bid process for a City Deal which amongst other projects it is hoped will include significant provision for cycling as part of a network of sustainable transport for Cambridge.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

As someone who knows central London, I can be quite candid in saying that cycling still has a long way to go in the capital before it becomes as easy and natural as cycling in Cambridge. But Boris's plans are ambitious - especially for properly segregated cycle lanes. They would need care and perseverance if they are to be implemented properly and safely. It's no good having a cycle lane painted onto a road if buses and lorries ignore it, endangering cyclists in their own lane. In London I have noticed cycle lanes raised up to pavement level, which gives cyclists some protection from other vehicles. However, we don't need 'Barclays Bikes' here: people in Cambridge tend to own their own bikes, which is cheaper - and more environmentally friendly, since it removes the need to transport bikes by van to empty docking stations.

A city like Cambridge has its own special combination of circumstances-e.g. cycling is the main mode of transport for a significant proportion of us; busy, often narrow, central streets, some of which are unsuitable for heavier traffic; a failure of law enforcement when it comes to enforcing speed and weight limits for motor transport.

So a bike plan for Cambridge which I would support would need to take account of, and tackle, these and other special circumstances.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I believe there should be a considered cycling plan for Cambridgeshire; this should incorporate lessons learnt from both Dutch and other successful national and international schemes. Even New York has shown it is possible to introduce successful cycling schemes and we should cast the net wide in a search for innovative solutions.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Yes

# 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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I would encourage more cycling- there are a number of proposals that we have put in our County election manifesto, including bike banks (free bikes and training for young people), the Chisholm Trail, which would link Addenbrooke's hospital directly to the Science Park and the new railway station.

I would encourage both County and City councils to work more closely together to deliver air quality improvements to Cambridge, including the phasing out of the most polluting older generation buses.

In addition I would lobby for investment in youth and community centres and development workers and schemes such as the “Dec” young peoples bus that travels around Cambridge.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

The issues you raise in the question leave me in no doubt that more cycling would be beneficial to public health. But in order to encourage it, and encourage other active pursuits, we need to make the city an activity-friendly place. And that means protecting our green spaces and making the roads cycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Of course, issues like obesity and the wish for children to have more independence cannot be solved by council cycling schemes alone - but it is a good start.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

The benefits of cycling are well known. Studies establish that cyclists have lower levels of obesity and have better general health than non-cyclists. As well as easing the strain on our over-used roads, cycling provides valuable health benefits. One area the County Council has responsibility for is education, and we should do more to encourage safe cycling for our children. My step-children always walk or bike to school, though they complain about cycle parking on site. I will campaign for better cycle parking at schools and for more provision of cycling proficiency courses. This improves the self-confidence of young people as well as their fitness.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Safer cycle routes. Stick rather than carrot approach to car/lorry use.

# 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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I certainly agree that we should look to implement some of the principles - in particular segregated cycle tracks that is not shared with buses. However it needs to be recognised that Cambridge is based on a medieval town at its core and there is v limited space.
New developments and any new road schemes should ensure that the needs of cyclists are met but not in a competitive way with other road users.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

6. As someone who has had near-misses before when cycling past a side-road, I agree that lanes which give cyclists priority can work well provided the rules are observed/enforced; I've argued already in my earlier answers (above) for segregated cycle lanes. In terms of integration with new and existing traffic schemes: I would prioritise the convenience of cyclists in the centre, since my policy is to reduce non-essential engine vehicle traffic in our narrow central streets. Cambridge's medieval streets were not designed for cars and heavy double decker buses or lorries, and it's high time we stopped subjecting them to heavy traffic. In the larger roads going out of town there is enough space for cars and cyclists, so there's no reason why provision of the sort you suggest couldn't also be integrated in these.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I would support this largely, on a case-specific basis and with proper consultation with local residents. If the 20mph zone does end up being extended across the city there will need to be some re-engineering of our roads to facilitate this.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Yes

# Question 7

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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes and as a resident I have regularly raised the issue of speeding on residential areas in the Kite area where I live.
All residential streets in Market are now 20mph zones. I have supported the improved 20mph signage on Maids Causeway that the Market councillors have implemented

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

Yes, on all residential or central roads including major roads, except major non-residential roads where safe and segregated cycle lanes are available. But it is not enough to introduce a speed limit with great fanfare, and then fail to enforce it. I have already mentioned how the 20mph speed limit in Market Ward, where I live, is not being observed or enforced, and the evidence we have of this. I would not only introduce such limits, but also take moral responsibility for seeing that they were implemented.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I believe local residents views are important in implementation of this plan, and we should always implement evidence-based policy. Introducing the scheme will require significant re-engineering and signage, as well as education of drivers. Importantly the 20mph scheme should not be seen as a panacea for road problems, as this could ignore other solutions such as better separation for cycle-lanes and altering traffic flows. We also need to make sure that public transport is not negatively affected by the scheme through firm negotiations with Stagecoach.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

All roads in built-up areas.

# Question 8

Which should have greater priority: safety of people cycling, or flow of motor vehicles, e.g. at junctions like the Catholic Church junction?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I don’t think it should be case of one road user over the other. There are also pedestrians to consider. I would support the need to improve this junction and I think the scheme could have offered more improvements to cyclists but there would be little point in improving if it gridlocked an area that is major route into the city for public transport, and deliveries.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

When we find ourselves asking questions like this, we know that something is seriously wrong with the roads in our town. The streets should be uncongested enough, and the traffic slow-moving enough, that vehicles can flow gently along while cyclists stay safe. The measures I've outlined above (closing some roads to people who are not cyclists, residents or pedestrians; separate cycle lanes - especially if they had their own traffic lights as some do in London) and enforcement, would help achieve this. For that junction in particular, a cycle lane with its own dedicated traffic lights could help solve the problem.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

Clearly the safety of individuals, be they pedestrians, cyclists or drivers must be our main priority over traffic flow. This is one of the many junctions in Cambridge that would benefit from a detailed study to maximise safety and efficiency for all road users. Improving the ring road would also help ease pressure on the already massively over-congested city centre - vitally also improving the environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Priority for cyclists: cycle routes much less useful when almost collapse at junctions.

# Question 9

Currently most streets in terraced areas have no cycle parking but up to 100 cars per street. There is clear demand for cycle parking, in the form of cycles parked insecurely against houses, cycles locked to drainpipes near pubs, and notices in nearby houses not to park cycles. Do you think the current balance of cycle parking (0 cycles vs 100 cars) is a fair balance, and would you support the conversion of one car space per year on each street to secure cycle parking?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I have lived in the Kite area for six years and this just is not the case. A number of properties have railings and many other residents have secured loops on the front wall of their property.
There is a significant lack of car parking in the area and whilst alot of residents are cyclists, alot of them are also motorists. I certainly agree that we need more cycle parking provision across the city and the Market team is constantly looking for opportunities to do this- just this year it has installed improved cycle parking on Sidney Street for example.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

In Maids Causeway and the surrounding Kite residential area where I live, there are very few car-parking spaces and very few designated cycle parking spots. It's a problem right across Market, where a proportionately high number of people use bicycles. It needs a solution based on proportionate use - rather than proportionate to car spots-as well as more imaginative use of existing space.

However, I don't have a closed mind. I'd have to hear about the specific places proposed and consider against levels of cycle use.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I would support any resident-led initiative to convert parking spaces to cycle parking. Parking is perhaps the biggest issue raised on the doorstep in Market ward and it is important to remember that most cyclists are also drivers and we need to strike a balance. But there is a clear issue of a lack of adequate cycle parking and this needs to be addressed.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Not totally: car spaces removed and replaced by cycle provision near pubs/shops/restaurants - but general parking of bikes in street a crime problem + people do still have cars.

# Question 10

We would like to see the Pembroke Street / Mill Lane route becoming the default priority direction at its junction with Trumpington Street. This would enable the high pedestrian and cycle flows to be catered for better. Do you support this idea?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

No I don't- this is an idea that has not taken into consideration all the factors including the fact that this is the main access to one of the cities most significant car parks.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

This is another problematic junction and could certainly be managed better than under the current scheme. I would investigate all the options, and the evidence given by cycle campaigners like yourselves would be a welcome guide.

The question you pose is important for other reasons. This junction is particular dangerous because of through traffic turning right for the car park. It may be that far more radical measures are needed on Trumpington Street and also Tennis Court Road to slow down/curtail through-motor traffic to the car park, if new cycle flow schemes are to be safely implemented.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

As I mentioned earlier in these responses there are several junctions in Cambridge that are potentially dangerous and we need to carefully consider the result of proper studies to maximise safety for all road users. I would support investigating reworking of this junction, considering traffic lights to improve the area for all road users, and giving extra priority to cyclists and pedestrians.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Yes: and elsewhere e.g. Kingston Street - Devonshire Road

# Question 11

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?

Edward CEARNS
(Liberal Democrat)

I cycle daily, and do not own a car but understand that it is still a necessity for many Cambridge residents.
I raised the issue of lack of cycle access on the new platform bridge at the Cambridge station and lobbied for it to be resolved - as did Cambridge Cycling Campaign- amongst others. I am now working directly with our MP Julian Huppert on this issue.

Sheila LAWLOR
(Conservative Party)

We need to be honest about road use in Cambridge, stop trying to please everybody and focus on what sort of a place we want our city centre to be. Do we want it to be a calm and safe environment for those who live and work here, or a free-for-all thoroughfare plagued by heavy traffic? I am campaigning for the former, and if I succeed, then cyclists will have a fairer share of the roads in town (although residents will still be able to drive when they need to). I have been campaigning since 2008 on local issues. I advocate a 21st Century vision of roads in Cambridge one in which heavy traffic – lorry, bus, car – decreases in the centre; one which supports those who live and work here; and above all, which allows those who cycle and walk, to do so in safety.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I support the extension of cycling schemes throughout the city and the wider county. Improving the responsiveness of the County Council to potholes that are more dangerous to cyclists than drivers is a key priority of mine. I also believe strongly we need to increase mutual respect between all road users, be they drivers, cyclists or pedestrians (as often people are all three!) We should improve signage where cycling is prohibited, which is a public safety issue and to avoid upsetting, unnecessary confrontations. I will be a champion for any schemes that improve the quality of life for local residents.

Simon David Francis SEDGWICK-JELL
(Green Party)

Constant speeches etc to say that engineers should give total balance between pedestrian, cycle, bus/rail. Vehicle use in traffic planning. Support/advocacy for car free development.

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.