Elections

2016 Cambridge City Council Election: Abbey

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council May 2016
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2016
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Monica HONE  (Green Party)
  • Richard JOHNSON  (Labour Party)
  • Angela OZTURK  (Conservative Party)
  • Nicky SHEPARD  (Liberal Democrat)

Questions for Abbey ward candidates (8 questions)

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

# Question 1

Cambridge Cycling Campaign has created a guide to cycling best-practice called Making Space For Cycling, endorsed by all national cycling organisations. Do you fully support this guide, and if so, what one principle in it do you think could most effectively be applied in your ward?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

I fully support any initiative that promotes and increases the safety of cycling. Cycling benefits the environment because it is a zero emissions transport, and helps to keep us fit and healthy.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I do and backed it in an amended motion I moved, and was unanimously agreed, at a meeting of the full City Council in July 2014, which committed the council to ensure all new schemes for cycle racks took the guide into account, and also for the authority to consider how best to implement the guide’s proposals and conclusions through the planning process.

Regarding a single principle of the guide that could be effectively applied in Abbey, I would want to see fewer obstructed routes. Stourbridge and Coldham’s Common, as well as Ditton Meadows, have paths that can and should be enjoyed by cyclists and pedestrians alike. (Coldham’s Common will be a major part of the Chisholm Trail, with widening the paths to the 2m standard forming part of the plans, as well as the Abbey-Chesterton bridge providing access to Ditton Meadows.) Improving the permeability of urban paths/roads with paths on common land will assist with that goal. To that end I was pleased to win £50,000 of Eastern Corridor Area funding in 2014 to improve access to Stourbridge Common from Riverside. This project is still being worked on by officers. Consultation will commence soon with implementation soon after.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

This is a well-researched and credible document that should influence city planners in their considerations. In Abbey I have been fully in support of the Chisolm Trail plans which will help to connect Abbey to both the main Cambridge Station and the new Chesterton Station. The ‘Space for Cycling’ is a key issue in Abbey with a real need for appropriate cycle paths on Newmarket Road, I feel it is inappropriate to share the bus lane with cycles, as I know I don’t feel safe using that option if I can avoid it. It often means longer journeys to go via an off-road route, especially when cycling with my children.

# Question 2

What measures would you like to see to improve the safety of children getting to school?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

We need to make sure we have appropriate speed limits in place around schools and where cycle paths are inadequate. We need to make sure these speed limits are enforced.
We also need to reduce traffic generally by making buses a more viable and attractive option, and ideally introducing a congestion charge for cars coming into the city, as in London.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

Parents of children at Abbey Meadows Primary have told me in the past that they would probably prefer not to send their children to school by car, but do so – even if located a few streets away - due to concerns about the safety of their kids. Aside from the obvious pollution created, cars dropping off children to school can create conflict and congestion, and the prevalence of cars at the school gates in fact can make it less safe and more dangerous for those children who do walk or cycle to school.

With these problems in mind I would like to see efforts by schools to put in place ‘walking buses’ or even ‘bike buses’. Regarding the latter: as well as safety in numbers, it can improve the confidence of children who are less assured cyclists by travelling with their friends.

I also believe that extending the ‘Bikeability’ scheme to children in Years 8-9 may help, along with ‘no car zones’ around school sites for an hour at the beginning and end of the school day.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

Many of our local secondary school children have to go very long distances along the main ring roads to get to school. This often means cycling in traffic or on-street cycle lanes. I’d like to see this looked at, along with the movement of cycles along Newmarket Road and through the retail parks and Beehive Centre. With the changes to the number 3 bus route, many of our primary school children can no longer get the bus to school. Cycling or Walking ‘busses’ could help primary age children access local primary schools. As always, helping to increase parent engagement helps young people to make healthier and greener choices.

# Question 3

What experience do you and your family have of cycling? Do you have any different concerns about younger or older family members cycling than you do yourself?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

My husband cycles to work, and my older daughter will be cycling to school from September.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

My dad was a very keen cyclist. My late mother developed chronic arthritis after I was born so had to give up cycling. I got from my dad the importance of not just seeing cycling as an easy way to get around, but also for recreation and personal wellbeing. I got from my mother the need to ensure that cycling should be made accessible to all. Those values have rubbed off on me. That was why I, as Executive Councillor, was very keen to ensure that any legacy of the Tour de France in 2014 ought to be not simply about enhancing cycling infrastructure (important though that is) but to further increase participation of cycling activities.

The City Council’s partnership with Sport England and British Cycling enabled several initiatives, such as free ‘Sky Rides’ to take place after le Tour, and the Council’s TdF Legacy and Activity Group created a forum for local sports and cycle groups, schools, charities and other interested parties to develop ideas for future events that celebrate cycling in Cambridge. I am also proud of the support the City Council has given to organisations like ‘You Can Bike Too’, who have done excellent work in widening access to adapted cycles for people with a disability.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

I try to cycle as much as I can. When my children were toddlers, I used a bike trailer which they loved but was very hard on me. Now that they are both older, we’re working on road safety and safe cycling practices. I’m very aware that in a few years my eldest will be going off to secondary school on his bike, I want to make sure he is prepared for that and has a safe route to use.

# Question 4

Secure cycle parking has been fixed in the short term at Cambridge Railway Station but is still a major problem for people travelling to work or to shop in the city centre. Where do you think that additional cycle parking can be provided in the city centre?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

Some of the car parking space could be converted to cycle parking. I am also in favour of encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles by offering free parking and use of bus lanes to the first x number of electric vehicles to register with such a scheme, while petrol powered cars would be expected to pay more. This kind of policy would lead to better air quality.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

The Cycle Point at the rail station has opened, but demand still continues to outstrip supply as a glance at the area around the station (particularly by Mill Park) will show you. Nevertheless, the Cycle Point facility is a step forward, and the City Council has also made strides in recent years in installing additional secure bike racks in the city centre. I agree that additional and secure bike parking needs to be provided. I know that council colleagues will continue to work closely with businesses on this issue and encourage shops to provide additional cycle parking themselves. Aside from that, practical options, like converting car parking spaces in strategic locations within the historic core and outside it, ought to be investigated.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

As a new candidate, I haven’t really looked into details outside of my ward, however, I understand that there have already been extensive searches performed but that the only feasible option currently identified by Council officers is the further extension of the bike park facilities Lion Yard. I find it disappointing that the City Council has not developed this project more quickly.

With such limitations in our historic city centre, I would also be keen to see the Council working more closely with local businesses to encourage and support better cycle parking for employees and to provide cycle parking on their property where possible.

# Question 5

Recent construction in the city, such as on Abbey Street, Milton Road and at the University Arms have closed routes or removed cycle space. What would you do to ensure that cycle routes remain open and safe as construction grows the city?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

Any plans would need to include provision for cyclists and cycling.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I was concerned the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), handed down at Abbey Street, made no reference to the fact it is a cycle route. I provided my support to the Cycling Campaign’s efforts – and made my own representations - to see the boundary moved to allow cyclists to use the road again.

I agree that with more and more development in the city we need to be vigilant in ensuring routes for cyclists remain open and usable. Personally, I’d like to see stronger and stricter conditions to the granting of TTROs so that continued access for two-way or contraflow cycle routes must be provided if a recognised route is near a proposed development.

I also believe that, from a regulatory standpoint, construction companies should be compelled to sign up to CLOCS. There could also be scope to amend the Considerate Contractors’ Scheme to give more attention to the needs of cycle users around any construction compound.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

Cambridge is a growing and developing city, which means that building work will take place. It is important for any building projects to take into account the needs of all when planning the work. Where cycle routes or parking are affected, it is important to ensure that suitable alternatives are put in place.

# Question 6

Cycle routes which are narrow and involves sharp turns and chicanes make routes difficult or impossible for users of tricycles, handcycles and cargo bikes, impairing accessibility for the most vulnerable. Can you think of anywhere in your ward that is difficult to use on a non-standard cycle and what will you do to improve it?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

I understand that the McDonald's roundabout on Newmarket Road is dangerous due to poor visibility for cyclists. I would invite suggestions on how this could be improved, and work to bring about improvements.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

There are several old-fashioned ‘pinch stiles’ in several locations around Abbey which have the potential to impede access for cycles of the kind described in the question. I am not a fan of these pinch stiles or poorly-positioned chicane barriers. One such example is the Howard Road/Ditton Lane path. This path has bollards and pinch stiles. I think these simply need to be removed. Similarly, the chicane barrier at the Barnwell Road path to Barnes Close. I put in an application for City Council Environment Improvement Project (EIP) funding earlier this year to improve this short path. I wanted it to be re-laid with repainted demarcation lines for the pedestrian and cycle areas of the path. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in getting funding this time, but if reelected I will reapply for EIP funding for this project, and for other similar paths.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

I found some of the cattle grids and gates on the common’s hard to navigate with a bike trailer, and the road surface on Newmarket Road is frankly shocking for cycles. I’m sure that there are other areas in the ward as well. As more and more people are using different types of cycles, it is important to take these needs into account in city planning and more specifically cycle route planning. Open consultation, at a scoping stage and using focus groups, is needed to ensure that any new development or repair is fully thought through and reflects the needs of its users. In my opinion, current consultation is often a case of too little, too late.

# Question 7

Protected junctions where pedestrian and bicycle traffic are fully separated from motorised traffic have been proposed by Cambridge Cycling Campaign for the Milton Road / Elizabeth Way junction. Which junctions do you think would benefit from this safety improvement within the Cambridge area?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I want to see the Elizabeth Way/Newmarket Road/East Road roundabout filled in and turned into a safer four-way junction, along with dedicated cycle paths, as per the plans laid out in the Eastern Gate Supplementary Planning Document Key Project One. In 2013 I was instrumental in winning £50,000 from the County Council towards a feasibility study to look in depth at the Key Projects, including the Elizabeth Way roundabout, so more detailed work could take place on costs and benefits. Unfortunately, the County Council haven’t made much progress with this work, much to the frustration of me and the Cycling Campaign.

If reelected I will continue to press City and County Council officers to recognise the strategic importance of Newmarket Road and include the four-way junction project in future tranches of City Deal funding.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

The whole of Newmarket Road needs to be looked at in light of the levels of traffic, junctions and bus traffic. It is important for City Planners to take all needs into account at the scoping and planning stage and not leave consultations until decisions have been made.

# Question 8

Residential streets used by commuters to park all day for free increases traffic on already congested roads. This has an impact on cycle safety. It also means that residents of those streets may not be able to park cars outside or even near their own homes during the daytime. How would you solve this problem?

Monica HONE
(Green Party)

Residents can be consulted on the introduction of restricted parking, and this normally incurs a fee. If the majority of residents would like this in their Street, then it should be provided.

Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I agree that this is becoming more problematic in Cambridge. I am aware of the increased parking on residential roads by non-residents. The solution is several fold, I think. Aside from obviously continuing to press for improved cycling infrastructure to get people out of their cars, we need to incentivise public transport. Getting rid of the parking charge at the Park and Ride sites would be a start. (As an aside I am trying to push the County Council, Stagecoach and Cambridge United FC to do more to encourage fans attending home matches to use public transport/cycle to the Abbey Stadium, such is the congestion around the streets on matchdays.)

More residential parking schemes could assist with this issue: for example Silverwood Close in Abbey had a huge problem with outsiders parking in residential spaces, and we were successful in putting in place a parking scheme there. However, residents should always be consulted first on any measures that can realistically be implemented.

Angela OZTURK
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nicky SHEPARD
(Liberal Democrat)

This is a subject that needs to be looked at as a whole, as well as on a local level, with the local residents fully consulted. A blanket solution across the city may not work as there are very diverse needs in each area, however it is important that any solutions do not just move problems around the city. Car parking for commuters and other city users needs to be looked at as part of the wider city planning, in order to ensure the needs of all road users are met and that there are viable solutions for people who need to use their cars and who need to travel in to access the city. The costs both to the city and to vulnerable residents need to be weighed up as part of the consultation and planning.

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.