Elections

2016 Cambridge City Council Election: Castle

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council May 2016
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2016
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Mark ARGENT  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Alacia GENT  (Green Party)
  • John HIPKIN  (Independent)
  • Eddie MACNAGHTEN  (Conservative Party)
  • Patrick SHEIL  (Labour Party)

Questions for Castle 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

Cambridge lends itself to cycling, as usually the most convenient and easiest way to get around and is something to encourage. But the needs of cyclists have to be held in balance with the needs of other road users.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

The physical separation wherever possible of cyclists and motorists

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Yes I do support *Making Space for Cycling* and continue to promote its use. (The SUSTRANS *Handbook for Cycle-Friendly Design* is also a useful guide.) Above all, I would say that lowering speeds for motor vehicles either through design (as on p. 12) or by legal restriction is key in Castle, containing as it does a major road (Huntingdon Road) on and off of which cyclists have to turn. Cars from the A14 should go slower; cars going to the A14 should start increasing their speed at a later point and specifically after not before the turning in towards Girton College.

Another principle that could usefully be applied in Castle is the visibility principle (see p. 21). Infrastructure should be designed to allow people to see each other whatever vehicle they happen to be using. In Castle we have a number of narrow roads, roads that are poorly lit at night, and roads where there is heavy traffic by day. All these factors mean that visibility is a particular issue in the ward.

Total visibility, indeed, should be the aim in all the new developments (i.e. Darwin Green etc.) - so no fences or hedges going right up to corners for example (as we currently have in places on Histon Road).

# Question 2

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

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

I'm not sure there is an actual problem -- beyond the general issue of congestion. What is your evidence for there being a problem?

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

The restoration of lollipop ladies and gentlemen even if they are little more than qualified volunteers

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Fixing pavements would make walking safer and more appealing as an option, especially if and when the distance from home to the school is under a mile. Also, it should automatically be 20 mph if not in some cases 10 mph speed limit in school areas. This would reduce risk of accidents and allow cyclists freer and safer access to the roads.

There should be traffic calming (possibly two sleeping policemen would work) in the lower part of French's Lane. Children cycling to and from St Luke's School will be safer as a consequence. Cars have been frequently spotted going too fast down that road. There might be a case for similar measures near Mayfield School on the McManus estate; the views of parents, residents and teachers should be canvassed. Again, cars often go too fast round there.

Temporary walkways should be provided when any new development forces pedestrians - be they parents or children - onto the road. What we had round Chestnut House and what we now have around Kettle's yard is appalling and outrageous. It is as if pedestrians count for nothing.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

Well, I cycle most days, and have done for many years, apart from a period when a leg injury meant I couldn't cycle.

Is there a problem -- especially given the diverse range of choices of routes for cyclists.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

We all cycle. My wife and daughter share a tandem.

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

As an undergraduate i would cycle around Cambridge all the time and have done so ever since (despite now being an occasional car user). Both my parents (who are now retired) would cycle to work throughout their careers and they still take regular cycle rides to keep healthy. They are senior citizens, however, and I am concerned for their safety.

The world at large has yet to value fully the societal and health benefits of cycling. More cycling means reductions in obesity and to the threat of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It therefore means reductions to the nation's healthcare bill, aside from the quality-of-life improvements for individuals. My Father has often written to the local press advocating the rights of cyclists.

At the same time we do see that cyclists have responsibilities towards pedestrians. On shared-use pavements cyclists should be kind to pedestrians, rather than almost knock them over and then be indignant. That said, fully segregated lanes have the excellent double-benefit that they protect the pedestrians as well as the cyclists.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

I thought the point about cycle parking at the station was that it has increased capacity and reduced the risk of bikes being damaged.

I can see the argument for more cycle parking, but also struggle to think of an occasion when I cycled somewhere in Cambridge and couldn't find a place to lock my bike.

In our manifesto we offer to support local communities wanting to convert one in twenty parking spaces for community use. This could include cycle parking -- if that is what the local community decides that it wants.

I have doubts over the desirability of extending cycle parking facilities in multi-story car parks. One of the attractions of cycling is that one cycles to where one wants to go, so it seems counter-intuitive to cycle to a car park and then walk to one's destination.

I am not adverse to the provision of additional cycle parking, but would want evidence of its being needed.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

The basement of the Guildhall.

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Additional cycle parking can be offered by installing more cycle racks in places like the Grand Arcade, Grafton Centre and also Parkside. I would campaign for more rack space in other key locations. In some places there could be a case for two-level style racks like the ones outside Heffers and to the left of the Guildhall.

However, I can also see that high-capacity stands are only suitable sometimes, and that the classic Sheffield stand offers the greatest ease of access (especially at times of the day or week when the stands are nearing capacity). There should be an expectation that retailers and banks (e.g. the NatWest at the top of St Andrew's Street and Sainsbury's) will not reduce cycle parking.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

Of these, the one I encounter regularly is around the University Arms hotel. There is a minor inconvenience, but is there actually a problem? This instance seems a good example of considerate contractors doing a good job.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Require construction companies not to disrupt cycle routes or to provide alternative routes.

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Provision of alternative arrangements for cycles (both on highways and in parking) while construction is underway should be lobbied for at the planning stage. I would cultivate relationships with planners and traffic engineers emphasizing the importance of cycling and its value in relieving congestion.

A disposition should be maintained in favour of cycling contraflows in road networks like New Street and Harvest Way with one-way systems for motor vehicles. I would write to developers at an early stage of the permission process reminding them of their obligations in respect of cyclists. I would protest any new development plan that does not provide for cycle paths.

Construction companies should be required to be signed up for CLOCS (see http://www.clocs.org.uk and dowload *CLOCS Standard for construction logistics - Managing work-related road risk*) before they are allowed to operate in the Cambridge area.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

I cycle around the ward a lot, and have yet to find a problem.

The possible exception is the cycle way between Eachard Rd Windsor Rd where the barrier separating pedestrians and cyclists has a 90 degree bend. But the barrier makes sense to protect pedestrians and this is not an impossible turn.

In other parts of the city barriers seem to be to balance the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, which seems wise. In these situations I would actually prioritise the needs of wheelchair users over those of non-standard bikes because wheelchair users have less choice about how they get around.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Many streets in Castle are narrow and others are saturated with parked cars. I have in mind Canterbury Street as an example where we have succeeded in reducing speeds to 20mph.

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

Non-standard cycles offer attractive and interesting alternative modes of transport and are helpful, for example, to those with more luggage than would fit on a bike, or to those who have a need or preference for greater stability, and also to those who have children as passengers. We should promote use of these innovative options.

However, existing arrangements around the town are not always conducive. Moreover, it's not just width of thoroughfare that is at issue. There are frequent dips on pathways on Madingley Road. There is also the mini-roundabout and the floodgate-and-bollard system on Bridge Street and the turn-off down Round Church Street. The design of the latter is not ideal and directs cyclists to the left of the road putting them in the path of buses turning left. I would consult on possible remediation with engineers and planners. Generally, I would want to see cycle paths being made wider for the sake of tricycles, cargo bikes and similar.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

I am open to being persuaded, but no examples leap to mind. I am not finding myself thinking "this place needs changes to help me cycle" on any of the routes I regularly use -- Cambridge has already done a lot in this regard.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

Histon/Victoria/Huntingdon Rds

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

The junction connecting Huntingdon Road, Histon Road, Victoria Road and Castle Street is one which needs urgent attention, and one where full separation might work well. There are a number of problems here. Traffic lights do not give pedestrians enough time to cross the road. Cars go into lanes not corresponding to their destination. Cyclists and pedestrians are suffering as a result. We need a cycle light that goes green allowing cyclists to move ahead of cars for those first crucial seconds (as in the new arrangement at the bottom of Castle Hill). What currently happens is that both start to move at the same time with one or the other having to improvise if there is a sudden change of direction. This can lead to accidents.

Full separation works well, but it can't solve everything. Ahead of the junctions on Madingley Road (e.g. Hedgerley Close, Bulstrode Gardens, Wilberforce Road and Grange Road), warning signs for motorists could go up to alert motorists to cyclists passing in front of them.

We also need better warning about junctions for motorists on Huntingdon Road. We must promote awareness of cyclists turning across the road to go into Howes Place / Lawrence Weaver Road / Yeoman Drive and similar. Traffic should be slowed at the complex junction by the Travellers' Rest on upper Huntingdon Road with private turn-offs on the left (coming from Cambridge) and Whitehouse Lane and the Hotel Felix on the right.

Another junction that could benefit from this type of improvement for cyclists is the roundabout where the Fen Causeway meets Trumpington Road. The same applies to the big Elizabeth Way roundabout leading to Newmarket Road and/or East Road. These are areas of significant hazard for cyclists to negotiate.

# 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?

Mark ARGENT
(Liberal Democrat)

You are running lots of things together here:

Does commuter parking increase traffic? There are already parking restrictions / meters in the city centre, so commuter parking is tending to cause cars to park away from the city centre, which eases traffic into the most congested areas.

How far does the parking of cars on streets affect cycle safety? Even in Romsey, where narrow streets and parking makes it hard for cars to overtake cyclists the situation needs good will between road users (which is there) rather than being a problem.

There is indeed a problem for residents of these streets when commuter car parking affects them. I heard this recently while canvassing in Conduit Head Rd, with stories of commuters obstructing people's drives. In this particular instance the judicious use of parking restrictions may make sense.

This is not really a cycling problem. It is about encouraging the use of park and ride (which means scrapping charges for it) and enabling "park and cycle". It is about using subsidy to trigger improvements in bus services -- we want to explore workplace parking levys and peak-time congestion charging to both to discourage people from driving and to generate the revenue to use for subsidies to encourage people into buses.

Alacia GENT
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
John HIPKIN
(Independent)

City-wide residents' parking scheme

Eddie MACNAGHTEN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Patrick SHEIL
(Labour Party)

If new regulations are to be introduced, there should also be parking permits for businesses and trades people. There should be extra visitor permits for people who require visits from carers. We should regularly review the parking service, using the latest information. Elected members and officers alike should work for better communication allowing all road users to understand parking controls and their value.

However, in order to remain supportive of those who work in Cambridge but who live elsewhere - perhaps because they cannot afford to live here - and who cannot rely on public transport, we must have more Park & Rides, expecially in the North of the City.

But whatever measures are being contemplated, residents must be consulted.

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.