Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City), May 2018: Coleridge

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Donald DOUGLAS  (Conservative Party)
  • Lewis HERBERT  (Labour Party)
  • Sarah NICMANIS  (Green Party)
  • Lindsey TATE  (Liberal Democrat)

Questions for Coleridge ward candidates (8 questions)

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

# Question 1

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?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I have been cycling for 60 years (but not all the time), have five bikes and have been a member of the Campaign for more than twenty years. I use a hybrid bike for most journeys in and around Cambridge and hardtail XC mountain bikes for off road stuff locally and in remote parts of Scotland. My wife however is not keen on cycling so visits to town and elsewhere with her are by car. I appreciate the cycling facilities in Cambridge as do most of my children and grandchildren.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

We all cycle regularly particularly the teenagers, and I have cycled for the majority of local and city journeys since I came to Cambridge to be the county's first Recycling Officer in 1990.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

I have been cycling ever since I arrived here in Cambridge in the summer of 2002 when it was immediately apparent how well-suited the bicycle is to this city compared to others that I have lived in; I wasted no time in buying my first second-hand bicycle from University Cycles on Victoria Road. For nearly sixteen years, it has been my main form of transport getting around Cambridge for work and socialising and I have very much enjoyed this easy, healthy and cheap way of getting around. For this reason, I haven't bought a car and on days where it hasn't been possible to cycle, I take the C2 from Mill Road to my place of work in Chesterton.
My husband has been using a bicycle to get around Cambridge since 1995 when he came here to study. He feels it is a sensible alternative to taking a car into town; he has used his bicycle to commute to work and enjoys the exercise benefits. Unfortunately, he has also experienced the downsides to cycling in Cambridge and has been hospitalised once suffering a broken wrist having been knocked off by a driver on Brookfields Avenue who hadn't seen him on the road despite his high visibility clothing. This street, like many others in Cambridge, would benefit from better street design incorporating separate and dedicated cycling areas, especially considering the decreased visibility on this street due to the large (and lovely!) leafy trees that cast shadows onto this busy road.

Regarding any children we may have in the future, I would like to think they could take to cycling quickly but I would worry for their safety due to the number of improvements that need to be made for cyclists in Cambridge. With safety in mind, I would most likely enroll them on a cycling proficiency course before letting them ride around the streets but this hardly protects them from careless drivers and roads that are not yet cycle-friendly. I do have reservations about using dutch style bikes to transport babies and toddlers as the roads in Coleridge do not lend themselves for these to be safely used.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

Cycling has been my main mode of transport for the whole of the 8 years I have lived in Cambridge. For health reasons, I wasn’t able to cycle for a few months in the autumn. All of my journey times increased substantially and I greatly missed it.

Immediately after returning to cycling, I was very aware of being slower and needing to make a priority of avoiding even a minor accident – much as I’m sure many of us will experience as we get older. At junctions and on routes where the separate cycling provision involves a diversion, I would usually use the road; however, these alternatives were very attractive to me at this time.

I think it’s important that more vulnerable cyclists are not forced to join busy flows of traffic. Cycle routes should include provision to avoid this along their whole length, otherwise we risk one junction rendering a much longer route useless to younger, older or less confident cyclists.

# Question 2

A key aim of our organisation is enabling more people to cycle, by the provision of protected space for cycling away from traffic, not shared with pedestrians, thus reducing traffic and providing transport choice. This best-practice is outlined in our guide, Making Space For Cycling, endorsed by all national cycling organisations. Do you support these principles, and if so, where could they most effectively be applied in your ward?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I support the Guide and its principles.

When I was a councillor from 1998 to 2002, I promoted the idea of a trail alongside the railway in the southern part of Cambridge - this is now the south end of the Chisholm trail.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

I support the principles in MSFC and have used my roles on the Greater Cambridge Partnership and on the Council to argue the case for more investment in effective added Cambridge cycling routes. An example in Coleridge ward, is that I and fellow ward Labour Councillors are pressing for the delayed County Council £1m scheme for Cherry Hinton Road to shift car parking from Ch H Rd so that additional cycle lanes can be created, and risks to cycle safety significantly reduced.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

I wholeheartedly support developments that facilitate and promote cycling as the favoured mode of transport for people living in and visiting Cambridge. I am excited and hopeful about the Chisholm Trail, for example, which will provide a safe and separated cycle route from the north to the south of the city.
In the Coleridge ward, there are many improvements that could be made, particularly with regard to the two main roads, Coleridge and Cherry Hinton Road, where I would like to see cycle lanes, not shifted to the pedestrian pathway, but on the same level as the road. I don't understand why the pavement has been made for dual usage when it would make much more sense safety-wise to use the same amount of space on the roads and make the pavement narrower but still adeqately-sized for pedestrians.
Also on the lead up to the well-utilised pedestrian/cycle bridge from Rustat Road to the train station, I have witnessed a few accidents and many near-misses involving cyclists due to the confusion between pedestrians and cyclists coming too fast down the bridge onto the road and colliding with other cyclists and pedestrians. At the risk of creating stop-start cycling at this junction, I do feel it would be wise to indicate which cyclists have right of way by including signage to facilitate smoother and safer interaction between the users of this bridge and junction.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes, I support these principles.

Coleridge is fortunate in that many of our roads are wider than those in the city centre. Despite this, many roads have on-street parking on both sides of the road and no cycle lanes.

Where the roads are wide enough for a cycle lane in both directions, I would much prefer to see a two-way cycle way on one side of the road separated from the traffic by a curb and with priority over side roads, rather than cycle lanes pained onto the sides of the existing road structure.

# Question 3

Safe use of the roads is a major issue. Our view is that traffic policing, of all groups of road users (cyclists, drivers, etc.), should become a greater police priority, and that this should be evidence-based, namely based on the relative levels of danger presented by each such group. What are your thoughts, and where would your priorities be?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

Safe use of the roads is a major issue and it would be great if the police could assign more resources to it based on the evidence.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

I organised an effective recent meeting at the Guildhall between
- the Cambridge Cycling Campaign
- Cambridge police including their officer leading their trial on cutting "close passing"
- County road safety officers, and
- City and County councillors
which I expect will be the first of several, including when we get the promised data breakdown by accident type on accidents involving cyclists.
Priorities include more separated cycling lanes, safer junctions including cyclists getting green first and to get greater police enforcement work on serious driver behaviour like close passing but also on thoughtless cycling.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

First and foremost, our highways and byways must be designed with our non-polluting, congestion-relieving and health-promoting mode of transport in mind: the bicycle must be prioritised in street design, particularly in the predominantly narrow streets of Cambridge where we encounter close interactions between cars and bicycles. Better facilitated streets allow for safer, law-abiding cycling and discourage the irresponsible cycling that many car-drivers in Cambridge vociferously complain about.
My priorities would be to ensure that drivers uphold the recently introduced 20 mph speed limit with the use of speed cameras around the city whilst at the same time also supporting the fine that cyclists are charged for riding without bicycle lights at night-time.
I would campaign for a council-wide publicity drive that promotes awareness about safe cycling: providing information about local cycling-safety courses, encouraging cyclists to gain a cycling certificate (qualifying cyclists could be given an attention-grabbing sticker or seat cover to place on their bikes advertising the fact that they have completed training), and ensuring that all local primary, secondary and language schools provide a cycling proficiency course free-of-charge. I have witnessed too many bike accidents with international students over the years to know they are a particularly vulnerable group so I would campaign for all local language schools to provide introductory cycling courses. I would be sure to also advise that cyclists are informed not to wear headphones or use mobile phones while cycling as I have seen this a lot recently and it is not helping our cause!

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

I fully support evidence based policing priorities. In addition to your sensible suggestion of considering the danger presented by and to each group of road users, I would like to see an evidence-based approach to choose both which locations in the city and which traffic offenses are causing the greatest harm and/or risk and policing resources allocated accordingly.

In addition to enforcement, I would also like to see the council working together with local traffic police to offer widely-accessible education for all groups.

# Question 4

We are keen to see more children being able to cycle safely to school independently. Ideas from our members to assist this include protected space for cycling, parking/pickup bans 200m of schools, cycle parking. What measures would you suggest?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I support protected zones near schools and education programmes for school run parents - maybe starting with their children?

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

With the challenges of insufficient child exercise and of obesity, schools working with parents are at the core of behaviour change, and schools also have to sign up to increase child cycling before parents will change their excess car drop offs. I think primary schools can do much more, and I have found several overly defensive of parents. As on several issues academisation, particularly of primary schools in Cambridge, and the ending of education authority powers and work incl previous high levels of road safety work in schools has been a big backward step on non-car travel to schools.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

As above, I think it would be great if cycling proficiency and bicycle maintenance courses were part of the Cambridge primary and secondary school curriculums. It would also be good if each school had their own bank of bicycles for students to use as needed in case some families cannot afford to kit their children out with bicycles.
Cycle safety such as wearing bright clothing, using bicycle lights, adhering to road safety guidelines and not using mobile phones must be stressed as part of any cycling course. Teachers and management of the schools should help to reinforce these guidelines in school assemblies and in registration. Also, extensive parking for bikes must be present (preferably with rain covers) to allow safe storage of students' bicycles and to discourage crime.
Entrances and exits to schools would have to be designed with multiple bike usage in mind and protected spaces for cycling, such as the cycle pathways on Radegund Road leading to Coleridge school, would have to be properly maintained. More signage close to schools alerting car drivers to the presence of children cycling to school should be put in place.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

The location of schools should always be considered when reviewing planning for new cycle lanes and routes and where possible cycle routes to the school from multiple directions should be provided. At a minimum, busy junctions near schools should have clear and explicit provision for cyclists.

Where off-road cycle paths are available near schools, it is important that they are well-lit and overlooked, so parents can feel more confident allowing children to travel independently, particularly in the winter months.

# Question 5

Our volunteers spend a lot of time scrutinising planning applications for failures such as lack of secure cycle parking, poor access, failure to fund nearby improvements to make the roads safer, and so on. Many of these things get let through by officers and Councillors in clear contravention of the Local Plan. The lack of a full-time cycling officer makes this situation even worse. What are your main concerns about the planning system, and how would you seek to make improvements?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I can't comment on: "Many of these things get let through by officers and Councillors in clear contravention of the Local Plan"; and would be interested to know of specific instances.
We desperately need more housing in Southern Cambridgeshire and, while we must have a good planning system and well thought out local plans, anything that delays or frustrates new housing will have an effect on the lives of people who live, or wish to come and live, in the area. A full time cycling officer would no doubt be a good thing but there are many other claims on limited resources. Meanwhile, I commend the Campaign on the great job that they do on influencing development in the area.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

I think Planning Officers are a lot better than they were, and most and even some applicants know what good secure cycle parking and arrangements look like incl how much space is needed, but there is still a long way to go. The county full time cycling officer continues to assist the city council on a wide range of projects and a further detailed guidance document on cycling provision for new development for both planning officers and Councillors would assist.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

Working in the social housing sector with housing developers, I am well aware of the disregard that new planning developments can have for the local environment. The generally rushed nature of developers does not allow for much consultation by the public and, frequently, proposals that should be scrutinized thoroughly get waved through. I think that it is the duty of the local councillors to alert their ward to such changes and campaign that new developments should not create any obstructions to existing cycle routes and should instead enhance the cycling situation in any way possible. New guidelines on bicycle parking should be adhered to: perhaps by introducing and publishing an "official" advised amount of bicycle parking places per building if this doesn't already exist.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

I think it is important that planning decision are taken locally and I object to and would seek to reverse the recent changes to make all planning decisions at a central meeting during the day. Planning decisions should be reviewed at a time and place that local Councillors working full-time have an opportunity to attend.

At that local level, a decision to reject an application should be robust and worthwhile, rather than being immediately overturned on appeal.

I am open to discussion of appointing a dedicated cycling officer again, although I think they should complement and not replace the contributions of your volunteers.

# Question 6

Cycle routes which are narrow and involve sharp turns and chicanes make routes difficult or impossible for users of adapted cycles, tricycles, handcycles, cargo cycles and cycles with trailers, impairing accessibility for the most vulnerable. Can you think of anywhere in your ward where it is difficult to use a non-standard cycle and what would you do to improve it?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I have nearly been involved in accidents at the junction of the cycle bridge and Rustat Road. Cyclists descending the steep down-slope of the bridge have priority and many appear at speed and with no consideration for cyclists on Rustat Road. I don't have a "non-standard" bike but I guess that might be an area of particular difficulty.
It would be helpful if that crossing was like a roundabout with priority for whoever was on it first - and cyclists on the bridge were slowed as they approached it in some way. This would be helpful for all cyclists...

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

Subject to funding eg from GCP, we need to revisit the half completed cycle lane works on Ch H Rd east of Budgens roundabout and develop better cycling lanes to Ch Hinton Hall and beyond.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

Coleridge has the benefit of wider streets than say of Petersfield. However, we are back to this issue of inadequately segregated passages for cyclists, as mentioned before with regard to Cherry Hinton Road and Coleridge Road. Creating more clearly-marked cycle routes (shared with the roads rather than the pavements) would alleviate difficulties that users of adapted cycles are currently experiencing in our ward. I think this is a really important issue particularly considering the school-run cyclists who should be listened to and supported considering how they help the terrible congestion situation in Cambridge.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

There is a clearly sign-posted cycle route from Brackyn Road to the foot of the Station Cycle Bridge on Rustat Road. This route gets less use than but is a valuable alternative to Davey Road (see below). However, it includes multiple sharp turns and transitions from road to pavement. While it would remain imperfect, the situation could very easily be improved by extending the dropped curb on Corrie Road to line up with the emerging cycle path. Private land ownership is likely to make it very difficult to widen the alley from Corrie Road, however the metalled area in subsequent green space could be widened to allow for the greater turning circle of non-standard cycles.

# Question 7

What would you do about speeding drivers on Coleridge Road?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

The 20mph speed limit seems to be regularly ignored - and I suspect that some drivers don't even know its in force. Better signage would be a good start and maybe some gentle traffic calming if that doesn't work.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

Traffic travels too fast on Coleridge Rd. Local Labour Ward Councillors and County Cllr Noel Kavanagh have recently won county council LHI funding for the village-type speed activated signs which light up showing the vehicle's actual speed over the speed limit
This is something we have wanted since 2004 = marks for perseverance despite but repeatedly being blocked on it, even though it will if intelligently used influence most driver behaviour. More people driving at 20mph is a key part of slowing other Cambridge drivers who speed,.

In addition, the adoption of our first Coleridge Resident Parking Scheme will result in parking two sides of Coleridge Rd north of the Davy Rd junction and other local roads, that will on these roads result in traffic calming and slow average speeds. We will watch out locally to check it doesn't cause an added risk to cyclists and would use contingency funds in the scheme to make changes if needed for cyclist/pedestrian safety.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

I would support the installation of speed cameras along this road for the safety of all of us. I would also consider the installation of speed bumps to deter speeding motorists.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

I am pleased that new speed-activated signs are now agreed for Coleridge Road. I expect these will result in some improvement.

Coleridge Road is a difficult spot to tackle. The majority of the time the 20mph speed limit is ignored by most cars; however, it is a location which experiences peak time congestion. Traffic islands with alternating priorities for cars and facilities for cyclists to bypass them are an attractive solution to reduce vehicle speeds at off-peak times; however, a careful review of the impact at peak times on both Coleridge Road and surrounding roads would be required before I could recommend this solution.

Enforcement cameras are rarely something I support in 20mph zones; however, Coleridge Road is a location in which they could provide the much needed speed reduction at off-peak times without having an impact on peak periods.

# Question 8

Davy Road is narrowed by parked cars and is often used for rat-running by speeding drivers, despite the presence of children at the Recreation Ground and the number of people cycling to and from the Station Cycle Bridge. How would you improve cycling conditions along Davy Road by the Recreation Ground?

Donald DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I would extend the traffic calming features of Radegund Road to Davy Road, when resources allow.

Lewis HERBERT
(Labour Party)

Local Councillors supported earlier plans by the county council to develop a scheme for Davy road, but they then put that work on hold. Planned residents parking will help by shifting currently excess commuter parking on Davy Road, which is the main cause of the weekday canyon effect along Davy Rd, but I think at least one cycle lane is needed eg a west to east one and an end to car parking on the north side of Davy Road.

Sarah NICMANIS
(Green Party)

I think turning this road into a one-way street would be an effective way of dealing with the rat-running on Davey Road and a speed camera or speed bumps could be installed to deal with the speeding drivers. Considering the amount of children in this area, similar measures to traffic calming carried out on the adjoining Radegund Road could be installed on Davey Road.

Lindsey TATE
(Liberal Democrat)

I regularly use Davy Road as both a cyclist and a car driver. In my experience, it is in fact a slow and inconvenient experience for both modes of transport; however, I have yet to witness any dangerous behaviour or near-misses. I think it’s important to consider that some ‘quick fix’ changes could easily result in the situation becoming more dangerous for cyclists – for example, the prohibition of parking on one side of the road would leave space for two cars in opposite directions but not for two cars and a cyclist, leaving the cyclist in more danger.

If the proposed residents parking scheme is implemented, this is an opportunity to make changes on Davey Road. A segregated cycle route is the best solution for cyclists but it is important that this does not restrict or make more dangerous pedestrian access to the Recreation Ground.

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.