Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City), May 2014: Castle

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2014.
Polling date: Thursday 22nd May 2014
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Sandra BILLINGTON  (Green Party)
  • Fergus BLAIR  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Tom BYRNE  (Conservative Party)
  • Marie-Louise HOLLAND  (Independent)
  • Mark A READER  (Labour Party)

Questions for Castle ward candidates (6 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

# Question 1

Protected Space on main roads: The County Council have recently consulted on creating protected space on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road. Do you support these schemes? Are there roads in your ward or elsewhere that you would like to see protected space on?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

It is an excellent idea to have protected space on these two roads. Drivers seem to have a motorway attitude when driving out of Cambridge on Huntingdon Road. I'm not very familiar with Hills Road

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

I think protected space on main roads is an excellent idea – provided, of course, that local residents are properly consulted about its implementation.

Huntingdon Road is obviously the key area in Castle that this applies to. I think, however, that the current plans under discussion do not go far enough. At the moment, the County Council is considering a raised cycle lane that would stretch from the South end of Huntingdon Road up to Oxford Road, but, as many local residents have pointed out, the most dangerous part of the road for cyclists is the North end – and I think the plans should take this into account.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

I fully support any scheme across Cambridge that allows cyclists to travel safely, as well as the fact that this will hopefully encourage people to commute on their bikes as opposed to driving. I would welcome protected spaces on main roads throughout Cambridge.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

A scheme which demarcates the cycle lane from the road to improve safety for cyclists along these two main roads is crucial.

I am concerned about the junctions which link the cycle route Histon - West Cambridge site (e.g. Carisbrooke - Warwick Road - across Windsor Rd - Oxford Rd - Storey's Way ). At peak times the mix of vehicles with pedestrians and cyclists is dangerous. In all the streets mentioned there is an increase in commuter parking in residential streets which is hazardous for cyclists and pedestrians. The problem is particulary acute in Carisbrooke Rd/Warwick Road and Storey's Way and impedes what was mainly a cycle route.

The new junction at Laurence Weaver Road and the cycle provision from Girton to Thornton Road is inadequate as vehicles are generally going too fast on this stretch of road.

Radical improvements are needed at the junction of Huntingdon Road/Histon Rd/Victoria Rd/Castle hill section if safety for cyclists is to be improved. This section is generally avoided by cyclists with children as the mix of vehicles, particularly buses and lorries is treacherous.

Histon Road is in the adjoining ward of Arbury, but I am concerned about the narrow width of the segregated lane from Carisbrooke Road towards Orchard Park. Despite the 30mph limit, one still feels vunerable as a cyclist. I am particularly concerned by the projecting wheel on the front roadside of the Guided Bus which emerges just at pedal level!

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

As someone who cycles every day, and drives with ZIPCAR, I fully support schemes that provide protected space for cyclists and I would like to see more across the city, WHERE ROADS ARE WIDE ENOUGH.

Because, from what I am told, such schemes work very well in Bristol and the Netherlands (and likely in Denmark and Sweden too) - I supported the Huntingdon Road scheme. The duty of County officers is to improve transport, and so I think they will consider the evidence and propose real improvements. Owing to accidents and elderly persons I have spoken to - who are greatly bothered by cyclists on the Huntingdon Road pavements - this will most likely be a positive development (imho). But if it fails, we should learn from our mistake and move to more effective options.

# Question 2

Remove through motor traffic: Most motor traffic cannot go through the city centre. In residential areas, some streets are closed to motor vehicles at certain points. Do you support this idea, and would you like to see it more widely used?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

Yes, so many streets are narrow and houses close together, that "access only" for motor vehicles is the only way to make them safe and to improve the quality of life for residents.

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

There are several streets in Castle where residents have reported issues with through traffic; in particular, Canterbury Street and Carisbrooke Road. I think having the option to close such streets to through traffic is important, but it is just one of many options for dealing with these problems.

There are other traffic calming measures – such as pinch points – that also need to be considered. In some cases these less extreme measures may be able to solve the problem without having as drastic an effect on the residents in the surrounding area as closing the road would. As such, they should be explored first. However, in cases where such measures genuinely cannot stop these roads from being used as a rat run, closing them to motor vehicles may be needed.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

I support this idea in its current form.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

A tipping point has been reached in areas of Castle ward. Previously it seemed reasonable that commuters coming into the city could park easily in residential streets, however, this has now reached unsustainable levels. Storey's Way has parking commuter parking on BOTH sides of the street now which is forcing cyclists on to the pavements and making egress for residents difficult and dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

Carisbrooke, Warwick and other roads on the Macmanus Estate are also experiencing this informal park and ride arrangement. The hazards in this area are commuters parking inconsiderately on corners and in such a way that the safety of pedestrians, cyclists (particularly school children) is compromised.

A park and ride site is needed to serve motorists who access the city via the Huntingdon Road, also Histon Road. Lorries should be routed away from residential streets when they come off A14. Better public transport provision is needed on this side of the city to the railway station in order to reduce the dependency on cars to access the station/hospital.
There are many advantages to restricting motor traffic through residential streets, provided sufficient public transport options and park and ride sites are provided.

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

I would like to see motor traffic restrictions expanded in residential streets. Increasing the number of one way streets and reducing the road space for cars to make room for protected cycle routes should become a city wide consideration, subject to GETTING THE DETAIL RIGHT. Such schemes should be investigated for rat-runs such as those in the Canterbury/Benson/Priory and Windsor/Oxford areas.

As a Labour councillor I will support:
- reviewing the Inner Ring Road
- pressing for City Deal money to be spent on better junctions and investment that increases travel into and around Cambridge by bus, cycle and foot instead of cars, and
- reducing the no of HGVs needing to use the Inner Ring Road

# Question 3

Safe routes to schools: What measures would you like to see to improve the safety of children getting to school?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

Children usually cycle on the pavements and there is not enough road width to put in protected cycle lanes -- except along the Backs perhaps. Cycling on the pavement can be hazardous for pedestrians, but it seem to be the best compromise

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

I think the council could do a lot more to raise awareness of cycling safety among school children. For instance, at the start of the academic year the City Council should produce a map of cycle routes – highlighting any danger hot spots – to be distributed to school children and their parents.

In Castle, the most dangerous areas for children on their way to and from school are those where there is a conflict of road use between cyclists and pedestrians; in particular, in the many narrow cut-throughs in the ward. I want to get the council to look at the safety of as many of these cut-throughs as possible: wherever possible, they should have a clear dividing line separating cyclists from pedestrians, and the entrances and exits must be designed so as to allow for maximum visibility. Hopefully this will reduce the chance of children colliding with other people using the cut-throughs.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

I think this could be greatly improved by the two measures discussed above, both in terms of having protected space on the road within which children can cycle safely and independently of any motor traffic as well as potentially making more use of the measure above to minimise the amount of motor traffic on certain roads.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

There is an ongoing problem caused by inconsiderate commuter parking on the Macmanus Estate. Cars are impeding access along Warwick Road and Carisbrooke Road which compromises safety for the parents and pupils who are accessing Mayfield Primary School. Initially double yellow lines are needed on corners and stretches of the road towards the traffic lights.

As well as motorists slowing down, could I ask for some cyclists to slow down and give consideration to children on scooters, mini bikes and pedestrians?!

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

Routes for school-children should have PROTECTED SPACE for cyclists. Large numbers of children use cycles to get to school, and MORE WILL IF safer routes are provided. Closing roads outside schools to motor traffic should also be considered an option (as happens in some countries). This would encourage parents to stop using their vehicles for the “school run” and promote more walking and cycling to school.

# Question 4

Cycle-friendly town centres: Cycle parking is at a premium in Cambridge city centre. Although the City Council are putting in more, it is unlikely to be enough. Would you support converting some car parking to cycle parking, and do you have any further suggestions?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

Yes,and if motor vehicles are not able to drive through the centre, that would free up some of the car parks

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

I think in recent years, the Council has done a good job of increasing the amount of cycle parking in the city centre, but there is certainly more to be done here. A lot of car parking is already being converted to cycle parking, and there may be room for more to be done there.

However, a lot of the parking bays in the city centre are for disabled parking, and obviously we need to make sure that there are adequate provisions for disabled motorists as well as cyclists. This is why I think we should be looking for more long-term solutions for cycle parking issues.

For instance, many large cities – Tokyo, for example – have successfully implemented automated underground cycle parking. Given the concentration of cyclists in Cambridge, this is potentially something that should be looked into. Another idea would be to provide grants to local businesses and employers to build cycle parking on their property, so commuters don’t have to park on the streets.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

I would be inclined to support this measure in part because it would hopefully encourage people to leave their cars at home and cycle into the city centre, having a positive impact on levels of congestion as well as the associated environmental considerations. Anybody cycling in the city centre is aware of the shortage of cycle parking and any improvement that could be made to this situation would no doubt be welcome.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

There used to be a basement bike park in the Guildhall which was not available to the public.
What about an underground car park beneath the market square and incorporating the basement of the Guildhall. I assume cycle parking would remain free?

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

I fully support cycle, pedestrian and disabled friendly town centres - with provision of innovative public transport so that all people can MORE CONVENIENTLY do their shopping and business.

# Question 5

Cycle routes in green spaces: The commons and greens provide well-used pleasant cycle routes through the city. Would you support some widening of the paths, undertaken sensitively, to reduce conflict between pedestrians and cyclists?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

No. The quality of the parks will be lost if paths start to dominate. Pedestrians and cyclists will just need to be aware of each other.

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

Absolutely. Cambridge’s greens are large enough that there shouldn’t be conflict between pedestrians and cyclists; they should easily be able to support some widening of their cycle routes. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that the grass on either side of cycle routes should be properly reinforced and hardened to prevent soil erosion.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

I think a sensitively undertaken widening of the paths in such areas would be a welcome improvement, providing guidance to cyclists and pedestrians and reducing any potential conflict between them.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

I'm a regular user of the Newnham to Trumpington cycle path across Coe Fen etc.
The widened path is the width of a 'B' road in some sections and the mix between cyclists and pedestrians with buggies, children, dogs is not always good. Cyclists can be arrogant and even aggressive and I have seen a dog run down, my own daughter was clipped on the shoulder by the handlebars of a cyclist who did not stop.

I think we need to address the mix of vehicles and cyclists on the roads and work this out before we tarmac more areas of our precious green spaces.

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

Sensitive widening of cycle/walking paths across green spaces should be implemented where there is clear demand.

# Question 6

20mph speed limits: Public consultation has brought 20mph zones to the North area of the city. The consultation for the East area also received general public support. Do you support the scheme? Do you support extending it to rest of Cambridge, i.e. South and West/Central? If so, what measures would you like to see to help encourage compliance?

Sandra BILLINGTON
(Green Party)

All narrow residential roads need a 20mph speed limit and when I went through East Chesterton recently, along Green End Road, I noticed that more pedestrian crossings had been put in. These, along with the speed bumps, keeps the traffic moving more slowly

Fergus BLAIR
(Liberal Democrat)

While I think it is up to local councillors in each part of Cambridge to listen to the concerns of residents and establish whether there is demand for 20mph zones, broadly I think that the scheme has done a lot of good in terms of increasing road safety.

These zones should be introduced with the expectation of a long educational period, but there are certainly some measures that can be taken to encourage compliance. Local councillors should work with schools and local businesses to raise awareness of the change in advance of its implementation.

Once the 20mph zone has been introduced, councillors should listen to local residents to identify problem areas that can then be made a policing priority. In those areas, the Council should also consider additional traffic calming measures; in particular, speed activated road signs have proven to be an effective way of encouraging compliance, and their implementation should be explored.

Tom BYRNE
(Conservative Party)

If the proposals receive public support in South and West/Central, I see no reason why the 20mph zone should not be supported.

Marie-Louise HOLLAND
(Independent)

I think we are back with roads being used as rat runs. Yes, restrict the speed limit and also
reduce signage. There is a confusion of 20/30 mph signs along Canterbury Street which needs to be sorted out.

Speeds used to be painted on the roadway as well as GIVE WAY!

Mark A READER
(Labour Party)

I fully support 20 mph speed limits for residential, and specific other streets across the whole city, and I voted for this policy in the Castle branch, and which the Cambridge Labour Party agreed. I am committed to positive consultation with residents in light of the evidence. And I would support EFFECTIVE AND PRO-SOCIAL ENFORCEMENT that keeps average speeds down and accidents to an absolute minimum.

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.