Elections

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Question 9 - we asked:

How would you improve conditions for people on bikes along Histon Road?

We asked this question only in Arbury.

4 of the 5 candidates (80%) who were asked this question responded as below.

Those candidate(s) which were elected are highlighted.

Eric William BARRETT-PAYTON
(Conservative Party)

Look into the feasibility of shared pavement use to separate cyclists from motorists where possible

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

Those with most difficulty are probably the slower cyclists - and also outward-bound, where traffic speeds are often higher. So really you need to ask them. The faster cyclists can take primary position more easily.

Carina O'REILLY
(Labour Party)

Histon Road is hideous for cyclists at the moment; it's a route I use regularly and it's probably my least favourite road to cycle on (with Victoria Road as a close second). Both roads struggle with heavier traffic than they were designed for, while Histon Road has extra problems as there are terraced houses with on-street parking in parts of its length, and traffic comes at great speed off the A14 making it feel even more dangerous.

The City Deal funding is likely to allow improvements to be made, though there are always costs to this, and the loss of on-street parking could be a painful one to elderly residents. Ultimately there is a balance to be struck - getting more people out of cars and on to buses will reduce traffic and increase general cyclist safety, but it will be difficult to do that and slow down traffic on Histon Road at the same time, while it's too narrow along its whole length for a fully segregated and properly wide cycle lane. Being honest, I think improving Histon Road will have to be a matter of small steps rather than the sweeping changes that I (as a cyclist who doesn't drive) would personally prefer to see.

Tim WARD
(Liberal Democrat)

The problems with Histon Road started, in my view, when the A45 (now A14) was built - prior to that it had been a little road which wandered away into the countryside with traffic from a few villages but that was all.

I have lived just off Histon Road since 1980, and have cycled down it regularly throughout that period. Given the limited space and the competing demands for it, it's not surprising that over the years nobody has been able to come up with a magic solution that pleases all parties - and if, for example, Histon Road residents suddenly changed their minds and decided that they didn't mind losing their front gardens after all, then I wouldn't be astonished if the county council grabbed the extra space for buses rather than bikes.

Personally the worst problem I find when cycling on Histon Road along my particular routes is speeding traffic at the north end, sometimes making my right turn into Borrowdale somewhat hair-raising. I do however appreciate that other cyclists might not like the weaving in and out of stationary traffic that is often necessary at the town end.

I would support any clever solutions that didn't have disproportionate negative effects on other people, but I'm afraid that over several decades nobody has yet found such a magic answer. Abolition of parking is sometimes touted as a solution, but there are a number of problems with that, as it could lead to faster traffic passing closer to pedestrians on narrow pavements, faster traffic being more intimidating to cyclists, as well as making life unreasonably difficult for people with nowhere else to park (which applies to some, but not all, residents of the town end).

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.