Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City), May 2018: Market

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Jeremy CADDICK  (Green Party)
  • Anthony MARTINELLI  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Henry MITSON  (Conservative Party)
  • Dan RATCLIFFE  (Labour Party)

Questions for Market 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I cycle around the city several times a week and cycle further afield (e.g. to Ely) for exercise and enjoyment. I am very aware that cycle path provision needs to be suitable for wider cycles than mine - those with three wheels, for example - if we are to promote cycling to those who are older, slower or who have responsibility for children.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

I cycle to work daily from the city centre to Addenbrooke’s. I don’t currently have any family in Cambridge, but I hope that I will in the future - I would want to make sure in particular that young children feel safe cycling on our roads as even I find cycling close to certain large vehicles intimidating on occasion.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

I have been cycled in Cambridge during my time as a student. I would say that safety is the key concern in Cambridge and this affects all generations equally. Those not wearing helmets, not cycling with due care and those who ignore one way systems pose a significant threat to other road users and I think we can do more to publicise the risks of cycling without proper care in the City centre.

It is also true to say that when mixed traffic is involved the risks are greater and cycling education, advice to pedestrians and continued education of drivers is necessary to ensure Cambridge’s streets get safer.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

Although I am not currently cycling as I have yet to replace my most recently stolen bike our entire family usually cycle most days. When our children started at college we were somewhat concerned about them having to cross through the centre during peak times, but they tend to cross the green spaces to reduce the amount of time on busy roads. Apart from the Hills Rd junction our main concerns these days are about our youngest not properly securing her bike when out with her friends.

# 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I wholeheartedly support these principles. I have two thoughts about how they might be applied in Market Ward. First, we need to work harder to separate cyclists from pedestrians. In places such as Parker’s Piece (along Park Terrace) and across Midsummer Common and Jesus Green the current shared pavements are not satisfactory. Secondly, we should examine demarcating the contraflow cycleways, such as that in Pembroke/Downing Street, more clearly e.g. with coloured tarmac and cobbled boundaries.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes – I think East Road lacks space for cyclists and I frequently have to overtake illegally parked cars. I would be keen for there to be more enforcement on this. The Catholic Church junction remains a big problem in the ward. I think some of the paths across the open spaces (e.g. Jesus Green) are also too narrow and I know that some pedestrians feel intimated by bicycles there. The Grafton area SPD had some really good ideas for allocating separate spaces for different road users and I’d like to see that followed through.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

These principles are often extremely helpful and I have personally been impressed by the dedicated cycle zones rolled out in many cities especially on the continent. However, in an historic City such as Cambridge we face specific challenges which make the application of these principles more difficult. For example, the high number of tourists in the City especially in the summer months, who have come to see Cambridge in her best light, means that it is often not possible to separate cycles and pedestrians without causing undue congestion for both.

I am committed to thinking critically about where we can separate traffic for safety’s sake and where it is not reasonable to do so. In those latter cases we must look to education of road or path users and perhaps the introduction of road/path markings to remind pedestrians and cyclists alike that neither are the sole users of these byways.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I absolutely back these principles, as shared spaces can increase both harm and the fear of harm, for cyclists as well as for pedestrians. Whilst sensitive to concerns about too much concrete and paint on Midsummer Common I have long thought that some form of segregation might help there and on Jesus Green. However, the path widening we have done has already eased some of the issues in both these places. Pavement parking on East Road forces cyclists into traffic and also causes problems for those with mobility difficulties trying to use the pavement. One unfortunate feature of living in a historic city centre is that space is constrained and in many areas the scope for further improvements are limited.

# 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I fully support the observations in your newsletter. A lack of police enforcement for all types of road user undermines trust in the Police and engenders hostility between different groups of road user. A concentrated period of police enforcement (perhaps at the beginning of the university academic year?) would have a strong educative effect.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

The principle of prioritizing resources based on harm caused is sensible. Equally I know that cyclists using Christ’s Pieces is a source of concern for some residents – having rules forbidding cycling in such places without enforcement seems to serve little purpose. In terms of safety in general, I am also pushing for better lighting on Parker’s Piece at the crossroads next to Parkside Café as I know that when it’s dark it can be difficult to see other path users when cycling across.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

I agree that policing, especially in a town with high numbers of cyclists such as Cambridge, should continue to improve with regard to transport. In Cambridge the key issues are often non-use of proper lights at night, cycling against the one way system which is especially prevalent and highly dangerous on Trinity St and the risks of inebriated cyclists after hours.

In each of these cases, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users are put at risk unnecessarily and a visible and educational police presence is important to prevent these issues from becoming more prevalent. I believe the Cambridge police force is doing an excellent job currently and their visible presence in town is making a difference. Naturally, however, I am committed to the further reduction of risks on the road.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I agree that the police should be given more resources, and some of those resources should be dedicated to greater traffic policing. A sense of impunity makes it more likely that irresponsible road users will cause accidents. Speeding on Maids Causeway has been an issue for years and this can endanger both cyclists and pedestrians. It is vitally important that no resident should feel afraid of using pedestrianised areas (such as Burleigh/Fitzroy Sts) as a result of anti-social cyclists ignoring restrictions. Schemes like Lights Instead of Tickets are helpful and should be run more regularly.

# 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I would be strongly in favour of encouraging cycling to school as an alternative to journeys by car. Schoolchildren feature prominently among those who display the various kinds of ant-social cycling behaviours that you identify in your newsletter. I would encourage school based training to encourage a culture of safe cycling and thus to reassure parents that their children will be safe.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

I like the idea of encouraging cars away from school gates. In addition to promoting cycling it would improve air quality for children as there would be fewer engines running.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

I think it is important that the City Council should be working hard to make our roads safe enough for school-age students to cycle independently to and from school and for other travel.

I believe the biggest issue on our roads regarding cycling is poor education and that is where we should put our efforts. Educational talks for incoming university students should continue and be improved and social media campaigns would, I feel, help get the message across to Cambridge residents.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I completely agree with parking/pickup bans close to schools. Not only do parents doing the school run contribute massively to congestion, the increased exhaust emissions around young people is dangerous. When I was at school I had to take part in a cycle proficiency course. I think a similar sort of scheme in secondary schools would be helpful as a reinforcement of principles of safe cycling. Crammers should also have to undergo some level of training. Organised cycle-trains where children can travel in a group possibly with some supervision might help safety and also reassure anxious parents.

# 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

My main concern about the planning system in general is the weakness of powers to turn down applications on grounds that have to do with the local community e.g. social or aesthetic grounds. Like you I would support devoting more resource to detailed consideration of cycling issues.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

I’m really grateful that your volunteers are able to help Cambridge in this way. I’d like to see more planning decisions taken locally rather than centrally which I think would encourage accountability.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

Quite simply, the high number of cyclists using Cambridge roads means that we cannot ignore cyclists needs in the planning process. I will be extremely critical of any planning approvals that do not fully commit to ensuring road safety and ample security against bike theft.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

There is much good work done by Camcycle volunteers to support the planning system and that is much appreciated. With regard to planning, we are all looking forward to the new Local Plan being passed by the inspector. When that is done we can put policies in place that will ensure that provision for cycling is of good quality. One thing I’m particularly keen to see is for the Council to require accommodation for larger cycles and cargo bikes to be provided in any cycle parking provided as part of any application coming forward.

# 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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

The left turn from St Andrew’s Street onto the Downing Street contraflow is very sharp. I would support moving the traffic island back and adding a green left filter when the lights are on red. This would improve safety for pedestrians and for users of standard cycles as well.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

Many roads in the historic centre are narrow and probably pose problems for larger cycles, but they are difficult to redesign and the only one I can think of near to where I live is Adam & Eve Street. I would definitely be interested to hear from any local campaigners who have noted any other problem areas. On a related note, I think parking for these cycles can also be difficult and I would be supportive of more on-street cycle parking provision.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

Cambridge, being an historic City centre, has its own difficulties and there is often little that can be done about routes due to listings of buildings in Market Ward. The key issue in Market is road quality. There are numerous places where cobbles are extremely uneven which can cause real difficulties for cyclists. Potholes appearing in our roads must also be pointed out and fixed in a timely fashion if we are to keep Cambridge roads safe.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

The corner of North Terrace and Brunswick Walk has long been a tricky spot to navigate for all cycles, and especially non-standard ones although this has got better. The path onto Parkers Piece past Pizza Hut has been a flash point during the University Arms works but I am hopeful that once all the work is completed that will be better. The design of good quality cycling infrastructure is challenging in Cambridge because of the historic nature of the city centre.

# Question 7

Cycle theft is regularly set as a police priority at the West Central Area Committee meetings. What sort of measures would you plan to put forward to tackle this?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I am dismayed by police reluctance to examine CCTV footage even where this exists. This communicates a lack of care about cycle theft.

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

I attended the West Central Area Committee meeting in July last year where cycle theft was actually not set as a priority, despite the presented data showing the number of reported thefts in Market Ward had risen sharply from 342 to 494 to 643 over sequential six month periods. Like many residents I’ve had a bike stolen and whilst I appreciate that police have to make difficult decisions with resource allocation I wonder if more secure cycle parking for residents might help.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

Cycle theft is unfortunately a major issue in Cambridge. I was a victim to a theft just recently losing a new road bike. There is often little we can do other than encourage the police to investigate and prosecute offenders more forcefully, a job they are tackling already, and to educate cyclists of the extremely high incidence of thefts and how to properly secure bicycles to racks and where the hotspots for opportunistic theft are.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

I have had three bikes stolen in my 9 years in Cambridge so really do appreciate that this is a big issue. However 8 years of austerity have put massive pressures on police resources so I have some sympathy for their argument that they have to prioritise harm to the self ahead of acquisitive crime. Even so, given the CCTV coverage in the centre it seems wrong that it cannot be checked when such a simple move could catch repeat offenders. In the absence of police support for prioritising bike theft it seems extra secure cycle parking and other infrastructure improvements would be the most effective approach.

# Question 8

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?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

I think your article admirably summarises the extreme difficulty of identifying a large site! I wonder if using All Saitns’ Churchyards at those times when there is not a market might be a possibility?

Anthony MARTINELLI
(Liberal Democrat)

As you know, space in the city centre is limited. I have seen your suggestion that Post Office Terrace would be suitable, but I am concerned that a lot of hope seems to be resting on this option which has been under consideration for a number of years. Subterranean options if feasible might work.

Henry MITSON
(Conservative Party)

Additional cycle parking at Cambridge Station has been a huge help to rail commuters and I have been very impressed by that facility. In Market we are very much lacking the space for such a facility and, indeed, the destinations of cyclists in the town centre are far more disparate.

That said, we do need more racks at places such as Sainsbury’s, the bus stops and station and I am committed to ensuring that there is enough space for bicycle parking at the Grand Arcade.

Dan RATCLIFFE
(Labour Party)

We are constrained by the design of the city centre and the competing demands for what space we have. Whilst I am completely opposed to the closing of the Magistrates Court, were it to go ahead I would hope some of their parking provision could be used for cycle parking. Long-term I fully expect the variety of schemes coming forward to deal with congestion will result in less car parking in the centre which could provide extra space for cycle parking.

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.