Elections

2016 Cambridge City Council Election: Newnham

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council May 2016
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2016
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Julius CARRINGTON  (Conservative Party)
  • Ewan MCGAUGHEY  (Labour Party)
  • Lucy NETHSINGHA  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Mark SLADE  (Green Party)

Questions for Newnham 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

I fully support the guide and as you will see from my most recent campaign leaflet I want to "put walking and cycling centre stage" to solve the City's congestion problems (number one pledge). I go on to highlight the importance of the 3 network framework. If I had to pick one principle it would be "people prefer cycling away from pedestrians" I know many older people, and parents of toddlers in Newnham worry about the bikes traveling up and down Barton Road.

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

As a life-time cyclist, yes, completely. In Newnham the two main principles are (1) infrastructure to maintain momentum, and (2) visibility. Existing cycle paths lack integration (for instance, where Barton Rd intersects Grantchester Rd or Grange Rd). This means confusing stopping and starting, bumping into traffic, and lack of clarity over where cycle paths continue.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

I fully endorse Making Space for Cycling. Having lived in Cambridge for almost 9 years now and moved from towing my youngest child in a trailer, thorough teaching all my 3 children road safety, and now having competent independent young people, I think having cycle routes which are wide enough and away from the traffic would be my top priority.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

I fully support and endorse this guide. Despite our reputation as a ‘cycling city’ the infrastructure does not reflect this. I grew up in Cambridge, have never owned a car and cycle everywhere. The three underlying design principles mirror my sentiments as I rarely cycle for pleasure but as a means of getting from A-to-B; I want a direct route with minimal stoppage.

Newnham is largely residential and the main routes are pretty direct, so I think the main improvements would be with convenience. Barton Road in particular can be frustrating if not cycling on the road; with frequent stops on the cycle path and the odd layout of lights by Lammas land making it awkward to cut across traffic smoothly without a long wait.

# Question 2

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

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

I can only speak from experience when my eldest son began cycling on his own to is primary school. I think parents and schools can play an important role to provide help, support and advice. We had Outspoken recommended to us and he took part in their excellent training so I would like to see cycle training freely available across the City's schools. I also insisted that he did "time in the saddle" and before he was allowed out and about solo we took trips across the city, ensuring he could handle some of the City's cycling challenges. I think many more parents would let their children cycle to school if they felt it was safer. If children could get at least 80% of their route via a separate cycle path I think that would have a big impact. Dame Sally Davies CMO points out that children who cycle to school are fitter and concentrate better, so we need to make it safe and get them out of cars! As for secondary school in Sept he has strict instructions to keep clear of the county's second worst cycling junction by the Royal Cambridge Hotel!

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

We need an integrated network of autonomous cycle paths is the best long term solution, and particularly around schools, like Newnham Croft School.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

The most important measures will be different for each school, but making sure there are safe routes with safe crossing points which are where people actually want to cross is important everywhere.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

School traffic is a huge problem in Cambridge and when I speak to parents across the city, many tell me that they want to cycle with their children but it does not feel safe. The message I receive is clear; if they could cycle to school without being on the road or on narrow paths, they would.

So the cycle solution seems to lie in segregated cycle paths. For those unable to cycle, the City Council, County Council and private bus companies should work together to provide affordable school bus services.

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

Growing up in Cambridge we couldn't afford a car and I can remember our family of 6 traveling round the city likes ducks in a row. My 83 year old father still cycles daily but I worry that drivers seem to be less not more considerate of cyclist and it will be an accident not old age that will gets him in the end. I am lucky enough to have a road bike and mountain bike when I want to hide from 3 scream kids but my favorite is an original Dawes Galaxy plus wicker basket which is hands down the perfect Cambridge bike. My biggest concern is that one or all will be stolen at any point! As mentioned my eldest cycles to school and my two little one are still building their confidence but I would not repeat my childhood ducks in a row due to the increased level of traffic, narrow cycling space on road and limited cycling space off road. My wife is a worried cyclist so she will be signing up for Outspoken and will also be doing the family cross Cambridge cycling challenge !

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

I've cycled my whole life, and so has my partner, and so have our families. As a child I lived in Milton Keynes, which is famous (apart from its roundabouts) for its 'redways': a planned model of cycle systems that is an ideal aspiration, which benefits people of all ages. Big cities like Berlin or Amsterdam have excellent cycling networks and it is so important that we catch up in the UK, and learn what we can from other countries' experience. I'd like to see Cambridge becoming a model for the UK. I currently take the train to London for work, and I cycle through the City. Ultimately, promotion of cycling helps make a happier, more environmentally sustainable society: it makes us healthier, it relieves congestion for public road transport and people who need to drive cars, and it plays a crucial part of our goal to develop a carbon-neutral economy.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

See question one for cycling with my children, my parents live in Cornwall, but my mother (who is in her 70s) cycles regularly in-spite of the very steep hills! Safe cycling is just as important for older people. The health benefits of active travel for older people are huge.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

I grew up in Cambridge and have cycled to school since I was ten. When I went to university in London, I continued to cycle everywhere. My experience has made me a confident cycler with few personal concerns. However, I have spent a lot of time talking with people who are not confident or are worried and can understand why.

Between pot holes, dodgy drivers, pedestrians stepping out, parked cars on cycle ways, incessant red lights and poor weather conditions, a lapse in concentration could cause an accident and injury.

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

Number one son and I went to check out the new park and gave it a thumbs even though we both found it difficult to deal with the upper racks. The "turn" to the new cycle park from Tenison is lethal and poorly laid out - cars are not slowing down as they continue down it, there will be an accident there soon. I'd like to see every car park private and city owned to remove some car spaces and provide many more cycling spaces. Another of my campaign positions is that I would like local businesses incentivised by a business rate reduction to provide better facilities for employees who commute by bike including cycle parking, lockers and possibly showers (for larger companies).

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

In the City, one option could be to expand existing cycle parks within car parks, like at the car park at Lion's Yard.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

There are many places where there is on-street parking or there are waiting areas in the city centre where more cycle parking could be made a higher priority, for example on King's Parade .

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

In conjunction with efforts to create disincentives for people driving into the centre and efforts to improve public transport and make it more affordable, dedicating half a storey of each central multi-storey car park to cycling would drastically increase the amount of space for cyclist.

However, I think the greatest cycle parking shortages are in areas like Mill Road – where there are many businesses but little parking – making it undesirable to go to. In Newnham, cycle parking is desperately needed around the Red Lion and on Grantchester Street or Derby Street for access to the shops.

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

Again I can lift that straight out of my campaign leaflet - "Cycling infrastructure being a central part of all planning considerations" So if you want planning approval in Cambridge how is the development improving the city's cycling experience? What cycling infrastructure will you be providing for residents and/or tenants? If the development will, in the short term, be impacting cycling routes what mitigations or compensation will be providing to the City's ring fenced cycling infrastructure fund?

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

Development planning permission can be made contingent on ensuring that cycling routes are open and safe. Closures should not happen unless absolutely necessary, and for the minimum amount of time. Also, it seems right in principle that there should be no automatic preference for closing cycle paths over access for automobile traffic.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

I agree that this needs to be given a far higher priority when the city and county council are looking at the conditions for construction, it is not right that cyclists should always be the first to suffer, while walkers and drivers get priority!

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

Before any work commences, as part of the planning process, provisions should be made. Options are available with some creative thinking. Normally, works only close one lane of traffic. Therefore, if space allows, a single counter-flow lane should be provided for cyclists to allow them to continue unimpeded on the road. If not possible, and space allows, the path could be segregated with a simple ramp put down to lessen the impact of the curb. Alternative cycle parking facilities nearby should be clearly indicated in areas temporarily removed.

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

I see a huge variety of cargo bikes in Newnham which is fantastic but this also gives me the opportunity to see where the ward needs improving. Two issues leap to mind the first is that two wheel cargo bikes need to keep momentum up as lots of stops and starts are uncomfortable for kids and tiring for mum or dad and there are no big runs in Newnham. Second, three wheel cargo bikes are wide and so need more the space. Grange Road has priority traffic calming BUT the space between curb and bollard is too narrow, this forces parents into the middle of the road.

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

The intersection of Barton Rd and Grantchester St will soon be redesigned. Many cycles come down the Driftway, and it's an important route also for children who are making their way to school. The turn between the Driftway and Grantchester St really does not make sense at the moment, even for cars, so the most obvious solution is to have a visible set of cycle paths all around the intersection.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

There are several bridges which I would like to see widened, for example on Burrell's Walk, however I am aware that there difficulties with the land ownership and also with costs for such schemes.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

I imagine that Grange Road is awkward for these types of cycles and they would take up the entire cycle path on Barton Road. Most the streets running off south from Barton Road are narrow residential streets. While I cannot see an obvious solution, I would willingly work with the Cambridge Cycle Campaign to develop plans and push hard for more City Deal funding to be dedicated to cycling provisions across the entire city.

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

Junctions at Trumpington Road, Fen Causeway and Lensfield Road. Junctions around Mitchams Corner.

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

Station Road, particularly around the train station.

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

My top priority would be the roundabouts at Fen Causeway, Trumpington Road and Lensfield Road, followed by better signals at the Queen's Road/Silver Street junction and Mill Lane/Trumpington Street/Penbroke Street. Magdelen Street and the junction at the bottom of Madingley Road are also very bad. Many of these junctions lie just outside Newnham, but have a big impact on Newnham residents.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

Coldhams Lane roundabout near Sainsbury’s
The roundabout on Chesterton Road / Elizabeth Way,
The Huntingdon Road / Victoria Road / Castle Street junction
The mini roundabout near Leys School at the end of Fens Causeway
Addenbrookes hospital roundabout

# 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?

Julius CARRINGTON
(Conservative Party)

1. City wide residential parking scheme. 2. Companies and organisations should charge for parking where appropriate. 3. Improving the Cambridge cycling experience will encourage commuters on to bikes - many are getting bikes out of their parked cars ! We need to be braver with our cycling strategy like London where "The number of cyclist will outnumber car drivers at rush hour in the next few years" - TfL

Ewan MCGAUGHEY
(Labour Party)

The best option seems to delegate decision-making to local community groups, to ensure that collective action will be taken. Labour is committed to the solutions that work best for community groups, and so am I. We're not going to continue with a do-nothing approach to parking: we're going to have movement to get Cambridge moving!

Lucy NETHSINGHA
(Liberal Democrat)

I have been working with other councillors to try and get more residents parking, and reduce free parking across the city. I will continue to work on this issue.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

This is an issue all across the city and links in with the problem of traffic and expensive / inefficient public transport. There is no quick and easy solution; applying for residential parking is a temporary solution which just shifts the problem elsewhere.

However, we have a huge opportunity at the moment with the money coming in from the City Deal. We should use this money to completely change the transport system in the city; make it modern, sustainable and green. Any strategy should be dual-pronged; firstly creating a disincentive for people to drive into the city and secondly, providing a cheap and efficient alternative form of transport.

The Cambridge Green Party has developed such a strategy – which can be found here https://cambridge.greenparty.org.uk/policies – and I will work hard to get this holistic plan implemented because all it requires is political will to become a reality.

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.