Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (County), May 2013: West Chesterton

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in May 2013.
Polling date: Thursday 2nd May 2013
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • David Aubertin GRACE  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Shayne Mary MITCHELL  (Green Party)
  • Jocelynne SCUTT  (Labour Party)
  • James Andrew STRACHAN  (Conservative Party)

Questions for West Chesterton 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

I have cycled in the Cambridge area since 1970. At one time I commuted to London daily and took my bike on the train.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

As a regular cyclist and pedestrian in Cambridge, I experience cycling from both perspectives. This includes cycling as far as Girton College (for example) and on occasion beyond, negotiating the Lensfield Road/Fen Causeway intersection (reputed to be the most dangerous for cyclists in Cambridge), across green spaces such as Midsummer Common, to and from Cambridge Railway Station, and in the city and environs generally.

I experience of the needs of cyclists in relation to parking - for example, particularly in St Andrews Street and the area around Grand Arcade, Cambridge Railway Station, and Chesterton Road (particularly near the hairdresser! ).

Along with most - no doubt all - cyclists, I enjoy the health benefits of cycling. Being strongly supportive of environmental consciousness I choose cycling as an important means of reducing negative environmental impact. Cambridge provides so many opportunities for adopting this mode of transport, that this dovetails with my concern for the environment.

Speaking extensively with West Chesterton residents has informed me of residents’ concerns - as cyclists, pedestrians and motorists - in relation to Cambridge cycling.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

None.

But many residents in the ward are cyclists - just as many are motorits and many are pedestrians.

If elected, I would need to represent the interests of ALL residents.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes, I do agree. As an environmental campaigner, I have seen the benefits when working in the Netherlands and Denmark. Cambridge is an ideal city for this approach.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

Yes. Cambridge needs a well-integrated transport plan, including high quality cycling routes.

Cambridge needs a good public transport system, with a network that recognises that many people use public transport together with cycling as a part of their travel to work or for leisure - cycling to railway station and/or bus stops. (This is particularly important where development is relatively distant from the city, for example.)

Attention must also be paid to signage on roads and footpaths, clearly indicating 'dual use' where that exists/remains; such signage must be readily observable and properly maintained. We need, too, proper road and footpath maintenance so that cyclists, pedestrians and motorists can travel safely. Swerving to avoid potholes is dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

Cambridge is an awkward size. It's too big to allow private cars to take the commuting workload but too small to support a large public transport system.

Fortunately, residents have used their own initiative to support a wide range of ways to use transport to get to where they want to work, shop or relax.

Cycling is an important way to get about - but not the only way.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

That makes great sense. I'm always disappointed when I see cyclists breaking the rules which discredits the whole cycling community, but similar behaviour by motorists is much riskier.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

I favour properly focused and consistent traffic policing, with an accompanying programme of education and associated measures designed to promote courtesy on the road and footpaths. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all have a responsibility to be alert and cooperative on Cambridge roads and footpaths, for the safety of all road and footpath users.

Speaking with residents - as well as reading 'Letters to the Editor' – makes it clear that there are competing interests in terms of road and footpath usage. All road and footpath users need to recognise that there are competing interests and that fairness and consideration is the key to safety on the roads and footpaths.

It is important to ensure that concerns based in cogent evidence and experience are fairly dealt with in determinations made on traffic policing priorities, and by all road and footpath users.

An evidence-based approach is preferable to one that simply 'targets' a particular group.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

I would agree - given the way in which the question is worded, it is impossible to disagree.

But you must look in the mirror and recognise that people cycling in dark clothes with no lights after dark pose a risk to themselves and to others.

And so do people cycling on pavements.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes, our manifesto sets out plans to make it much easier to get around by bicycle, including:
• Building the Chisholm Trail, a strategic cycle route from Addenbrooke’s to the Cambridge Science Park, alongside the railway;
• Investing in enhanced cycle links around the county;
• Making dangerous junctions for cyclists much safer;
• Providing more cycle parking;
• Introducing 20mph zones in residential areas, (not including A and B roads) in consultation with local communities;
• Gritting more of our busiest cycle routes.
Our alternative budget for the county would provide £8m investment in cycling, so these plans aren't just an empty aspiration but an achievable policy. Sadly the Labour group leader has opposed this spending specifically while the Conservative administration in Shire Hall has cut all environmental funding, amongst other things.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

The Dutch approach to cycling and provision for cyclists is spoken of by many as a positive approach that should inform developments cycling provision in the United Kingdom. This is particularly apposite to Cambridge because our topography is similar. Labour supports a new Cambridgeshire bike plan which incorporates learning from the Netherlands.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

We already have a partial framework for cycling routes. We can do more.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Health, environmental and public transport considerations combine to justify our plans (see question 4). We need to explore every funding opportunity to develop them. The all-party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG) chaired by Julian Huppert has just published its excellent report on cycling. As Head of European Affairs at East Sussex County Council over ten years ago, I worked with Councillor Norman Baker on environmental matters. Norman is now junior transport minister and I will be lobbying him and his colleagues to implement the report. I will push for the county to apply for new funds from government as they become available.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

I am a strong believer in positive health care and preventative medicine. As to air quality, cycling and walking have an enormous part to play in lowering carbon levels and need to be supported both in the context of public health and climate change.

As to children's independence and obesity, good eating and exercise habits are best instilled during childhood. We need to focus on ways to ensure children are able to cycle and walk safely to school and to leisure and sport activities. Children and young people can be encouraged to cycle safely through cycling education (including bike maintenance) and provision of cycle shelters and adequate parking for cycles at schools, sporting and leisure facilities.

Parents' concern for their children's safety is understandable, and the County Council needs to address this by the above, and by supporting 'safe house' and 'neighbourhood watch' programmes along with safe cycleways and paths, and the necessary cycle sheds and parking facilities.

Improved provision for cycling generally and for walking, by better and more parking for cycles, road and footpath maintenance and signage, cycle paths and cycle ways - all under County Council responsibility, should work in with public health plans so as to address adult obesity and negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

people must make up their own minds. It would take more than my efforts to get a couch potato off the couch.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Wherever possible, this is the best option since it improves safety for all highway users, motorists, cyclists and (not to be forgotten) pedestrians.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

Yes. In introducing this approach, we do need to take into account the fact that Cambridge has many roads that are extremely narrow, and a sometimes idiosyncratic road layout. However, the Dutch-quality cycle provision needs to be introduced wherever possible.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

This would be ideal and would also be a help to motorists who are, by and large, equally troubled by conflicts in road space.

It would be very difficult to give priority to cyclists at all side roads. Other road users also have rights.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Personally, I am a strong supporter of 20mph zones, as their effectiveness in saving lives is a matter of record. However, it is essential that such zones have the consent of local residents and I have been consulting people living in the streets around Arbury Road. A-roads in town are a particular problem, better solved when possible by separation as suggested in question 6.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

I support the 20mph limit in general, however, I also believe it is important to listen to residents who must be consulted, particularly in relation to roads such as Victoria Road. Any consultation must be open, transparent and with residents advised of how the consultation will be taken into account in decision-making, then advised of how it has been taken into account.

Bus companies must also be a part of any such plan, for many people rely on buses for travelling to work, access to services, leisure activities, shopping, etc. This is particularly so in parts of West Chesterton (although residents cry out for ‘better bus services’). It is vital that bus services not be negatively affected by such a change, because of their key role in the overall transport needs of Cambridge.

Where the 20mph limit exists or is introduced, road-engineering may be necessary and improvements to road signage are essential. Road signage must be readily seen, situated so that motorists are properly informed in a timely manner and at proper intervals along all relevant roads.

Labour believes that County and City Councils should work together cooperatively and if the 20mph limit were to be introduced throughout Cambridge, it will require such cooperation, with substantial financial investment.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

No.

Most motorists already reduce their speed below 30 mph where they can see a clear risk.

The ones that don't will take no more notice of a 20 mph limit than they already take of a 30 mph limit.

# Question 8

Do you agree that the shared-use paths along Milton Road are in general highly unsatisfactory, and that proper cycling provision should be provided, maintaining priority at sideroads? Do you condemn recent police action to ticket cyclists using pavements on Milton Road that join up with shared-use areas, despite no white lines or clear signs being present to delineate clearly the section where the status changes?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

As a frequent user of these paths, I agree it is unsatisfactory and the signage is inadequate. As a first step, I would aim to get better signage and , in the medium term, proper cycle lanes.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

I agree with the first question here, particularly that shared-use paths along Milton Road are in general highly unsatisfactory, and that proper cycling provision is necessary. This means that signage must be improved: there is little value in painted signs that cannot be seen or that have worn away.

Further on signage - signs for dual use need to exist 'along the way': there seems to be a notion that signs at the beginning and end of dual usage paths is sufficient, yet not all cyclists and pedestrians commence their journey at the beginning or end of a dual use pathway.

On policing Milton Road: It is often extremely difficult to determine where dual usage begins and ends, or where it exists at all. This is unfair for cyclists and pedestrians: both need to be clearly informed. Where signage is demonstrably poor, ticketing cyclists is unfair and police need to take this into account.

As to Milton Road and dual use generally, trees along Milton Road are relevant to the dual usage approach. Many West Chesterton residents have mentioned the need for trees and that environmentally (as well as aesthetically) the retention of trees along Milton Road is important. Traffic fumes have an impact on the atmosphere and on health, and trees are a positive antidote.

I believe it is possible to work together productively and constructively on this issue, and would like to work with local residents and the cycling campaign, for I acknowledge the importance of the problems surrounding dual usage - for cyclists and pedestrians generally along Milton Road.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

These paths are unsatisfactory - I know, I used to go to work along Milton Road - but the largest source of problems are the cyclists.

Some of them choose not to use the cycle lanes at all but to cycle in the very narrow carriageway. Others ignore give way signs and use any pavement space whether designated as shared use or not.

Cyclists must obey laws and act with consideration just as other people using a public space should.

# Question 9

Recent studies about improving traffic around Mitcham's Corner have attracted a lot of interest. What will you do to improve this intersection for pedestrians and cyclists?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

Liberal Democrat councillors took part in the workshops organised by Cambridge University's Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment programme and I join them in fully supporting the proposals presented there. Any development on the Staples site or elsewhere within the Mitcham's Corner system must not be permitted to prejudice future redesign of the whole area.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

At present, motor vehicle traffic dominates Mitcham's Corner. The Staples site is the centre of a traffic roundabout, where it could be a part of a thriving community hub and shopping centre.

The proposed Staples development plan (currently the subject of many objections) needs to be reconsidered so that development of the Staples site and of and around Mitcham's Corner generally gives increased priority for pedestrians, cyclists and the community.

The site cannot be considered in isolation from traffic flow needs and the historical background to the way the roads are configured. It is doubtful that the road configuration needs to continue 'as is'. This site is a perfect example of the need for City and County Council cooperation and consultation. I would seek this cooperation, together with taking into account residents' views and those of business owners in the area (who are concerned about parking and other aspects), so that a sensible, forward-looking plan is developed placing pedestrians, cyclists and the community at its core.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

I'm not sure that anything much can be done for Mitcham's Corner.

# 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?

David Aubertin GRACE
(Liberal Democrat)

I rejoice in and endorse the all-party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG)'s report and will work with Julian Huppert to ensure that it is implemented by government. I was instrumental in obtaining European funding for the Cuckoo Trail cycle path in East Sussex, which linked with another cycle path in Normandy. I want to explore the opportunities for European funding to support the Chisholm Trail and other cycling projects in Cambridgeshire.

Shayne Mary MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jocelynne SCUTT
(Labour Party)

I support the introduction of a 'Charter for Cycling, Walking and Driving' in Cambridge for cooperation and respect between road/footpath users, and clarity from police on enforcement and an evidence-based approach to policing in the area.

I support the Chisholm Trail and the River Cycle Bridge, consistent with Labour Party candidates for the 2012 City Council election in the Cambridge Cycling Campaign Survey of 2012 and as observed in the Cambridge News 19 March 2013 by the Cycling Campaign
spokesman: 'There is cross-party support for the new river bridge and the Chisholm Trail'.

I believe City and County Councils need to work cooperatively to ensure that building planning and road usage/traffic flow are taken into account in development and planning in West Chesterton and Cambridge/Cambridgeshire generally, and if elected will work with fellow Councillors to bring this about.

I consider a comprehensive, integrated approach needs to be taken to planning in relation to parking - including cars and cycles, and this needs to be undertaken in the context of proper, open and transparent consultation with residents.

I believe a fund/resources need to be earmarked for ensuring that improvements for cycling as a key strategy for Cambridge can be planned and implemented, together with initiatives for improvements for pedestrian.

I have taken up issues raised by residents that relate to road safety - such as the state of the roads and pavements and importance of ensuring that the £90m set aside over 5 years by the County Council is used in the best way possible to improve Cambridge Roads and footpaths. This I have done by putting questions to Councilors and Council Officers, and writing 'Letters to the Editor' to prompt positive action by the Council.

I have a commitment to ensuring that persons with a disability are able to use transport and pavements with safety, and have improved access to services generally. I have evidenced this through my professional work.

I am happy to work with the cycling campaign locally in West Chesterton and generally through Cambridge and Cambridgeshire on initiatives and opportunities raised by the campaign and residents.

James Andrew STRACHAN
(Conservative Party)

You have 1000 members across the City.

I have over 6000 electors - perhaps 10000 residents - in one ward of the City.

I must balance ALL their interests.

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.