Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City), May 2018: Newnham

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Rod CANTRILL  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Mike DAVEY  (Labour Party)
  • Connor MACDONALD  (Conservative Party)
  • Mark SLADE  (Green Party)

Questions for Newnham 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

All my family cycle. I have to grown up children who when at home get around the city by bike. I cycle when in Cambridge and when commuting to London by train (using a folding bike allows me to cycle in London as well - between the station and work.).

I do have different concerns regarding younger and older people. It is important that cyclists who are less confident (regardless of age) have safe and secure cycle paths to cycle on. Whilst i personally feel safe in Cambridge cycling on the road - in London i only feel safe when cycling on segregated cycle ways. So i recognise what it can be like for cyclists in Cambridge who are less confident and the need for enhanced cycle infrastructure.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

We are all keen cyclists in the family (my wife and I have three children aged 10-27) and we use the bike as our main form of transport in and around the City. I have been a supporter of Sustrans for many years and I am committed to making Cambridge a more cycling friendly city. I asked my 10 year old daughter about your questions and what she would like to see to make her cycling experience better, and she said continuing ongoing education at our schools and clearer signage demarking cycling, pedestrian and car routes. Wise words.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

I can cycle and enjoy going on bike trips regularly, but I do not cycle in the city itself. I find the signage and bike space inadequate, and so I competely understand why this is a major concern. I can imagine these issues are even more difficult for older folk. More needs to be done to make cycling a regular mode of transport for more residents of Newnham Ward and Cambridge generally.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

I grew up in Cambridge, cycled to school or work from when I was ten and spent four years in London where I cycled almost everywhere. This has given me confidence cycling. However, it is a mode of transport that requires a lot of focus and I understand why many are worried to get on their bikes.

Between pot holes, unaware drivers, pedestrians stepping out, parked cars on cycle ways, incessant red lights and poor weather conditions, a lapse in concentration could cause accident and injury. It seems that roads and paths are ever more crowded causing frustration between all users and more likelihood of accidents occurring as it requires just one person to lapse for an accident to occur.

# 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I support these principals. It is important that any improvements enhance the street environment, for example i would not support the remove of trees on Barton Road to deliver improved facilities.

In Newnham i have campaigned for improving key junctions for cyclists and pedestrians, such as the Newnham Road and Barton Road junction, where i was successful in securing funding for a feasibility study on improving the junction. Hopefully the funding from the greenways project will allow for this work to move forward together with improving the Barton Road Grange Road junction (see separate question).

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

Yes I do support those principles. I think the simple answer is they be applied across Newnham, but the ward has many competing demands, from the new City centre developments around the Mill Pond, to maintaining cycleways on Barton Rd, to more local, less obvious but equally important measures. I think the answer is to develop a plan for the ward, and make priorities, albeit within the framework of a citywide transport plan.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

I support the guide and its principles. More needs to be done to ensure access to bike trails and more adequate signage, particularly along Grange Road and other major thoroughfares.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

100 % : I fully support and endorse this guide. Despite our reputation as a ‘cycling city’ the infrastructure does not reflect this. 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 Croft is largely residential and the Grange Road area cycle 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 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I believe that the police should be enforcing the rules for all road users and in relation to parking restrictions. It’s frustrating, particularly in Newnham, where people ignore the rules and as a result put other road users and themselves in a position of vulnerability. I have and continue to ensure that at West central area committee we include road safety as one of the policing priorities.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

Cyclists need to feel safe, and as said above greater clarity over who has priority on roads and pavements would be welcome. Awareness raising would therefore be my priority, but whether that should fall to the police or to other Groups or Agencies is more open to debate.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

Safe roads is a major issue. More must be done to stop close passing, and the police should use evidence to cut down on traffic infractions that put cyclists at risk.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

There is clearly a lot of tension on the streets between different road users which I feel contributes to dangerous driving and cycling the most. Cars have deliberately cut me up or overtaken me very close in retaliation to a perceived wrong by myself or even another cyclist. However, I am not convinced that greater policing will resolve the problems. Police priorities are fluid and will depend on a large variety of ever changing factors. In addition, their resources are stretched thin due to massive austerity cuts.

I think that other options that the Cambridge Cycle Campaign proposes, such as independent cycle lanes, are more likely to reduce tensions and get rid of the need to over police the road system. When I consider cities that have great road systems – Malmo or Amsterdam for example – I do not think that they have heavy policing to control it. A well set up system eradicates the need to police it heavily.

# 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I support all of the measures proposed.

In addition, i would support schools coming up with formal travel plans for students. This would include cycle trains enabling students to travel in groups to and from school and cycle maintenance lessons.

Separately, i would in to enhancing the safety on the roads used by students to travel to and from school (based on the school travel plan).

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

My daughter has cycled to school since she was 6. She is about to start cycling without an adult present, and therefore the starting point for me is proper education for her….building on the work currently undertaken by Outspoken. She is having her first formal school based training at the end of Year 5, which I feel is too late. But I think the child's awareness does need to go with car parking restrictions. However, I do not think blanket bans would work (what is right for Newnham Croft, is different to the needs at St Matthews where my daughter goes to school, or Abbey Meadows where I am a Governor), so therefore individual site specific assessments should be carried out.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

Child safety on the road is essential. Protected space for cycling and cycle parking are important, though pickup bans may create congestion problems farther away from the school where students have less supervision. Overall though, a culture of cycle safety needs to be cultivated in schools - starting with educational programmes.

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. While it is a swift and cheap solution worth considering, a parking / pick-up ban only resolves issues around the school, not for the whole route. Each school definitely needs to consider whether or not it has enough cycle parking. For those unable to cycle, the City Council, County Council and private bus companies should work together to provide affordable school bus services.

# 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I share these concerns, particularly on large applications (i have seen this on the West Cambridge Master Plan - transport plan - where the provision for cyclists at the key junctions on to Madingley Road (particularly linking into Eddington site) and along Madingley Road is very poor.

I fear that further cuts in the funding of the planning department as a result of the proposed merger with South Cambs will make this position worse. I oppose any further cuts in staffing in the planning department and believe that additional investment in staff needs to be made - particularly the creation of a full time cycle officer.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

I think Camcycle do a lot of excellent work addressing specific planning matters (the recent paper on the Mill Pond proposals being a very good example) and I think this might be better publicised. I think the starting point should be in establishing the place of cycling in the city as part of the Local Plan.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

I can not comment on specific instances regarding specific planning applications, but there is a definite need to follow the local plan. We also desperately need more housing in Cambridge and Cambridgeshire generally, which should be the number one priority. However, pressure groups such as Camcycle do a very good job to make sure that the interests of cyclists, and the benefit that this mode of transport provides is considered in the planning process.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

My main concern is that the planning system does not seem to reflect local concerns. Often plans are presented as a fait accompli. I went to one ‘public consultation’ in order to ask questions about road closures and the session was started by telling the public that they did not want to hear opposition to the plan but where to improve it. So the decision had already been made. Thankfully, there was enough public backlash to see that plan shelved.

To improve the system, I would listen. If approached and told that something was in contravention to the Local Plan, I would listen to the case and then, assuming it was a contravention, I would contact the relevant officers, committees and other councillors and push to find a suitable alternative. As a political party with no whip, I would not feel bound to vote in favour of something I did not agree with.

# 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?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I often see cyclists finding it difficult to cross the river at the end of Driftway in to 'New Bit' on Coe Fen - i would support a new second bridge for cyclists across the river at this point - that is designed in a sensitive way - given the surrounding environment. This is something i have proposed as part of the Greenways project.

this would link in with the solar studs and the enhanced lighting Lib Dem ward councillors got the funding for that has just been introduced along this route.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

There are many places in the ward where non-standard cycles have accessibility problems, not just routes that are twisty and turny. I think solutions also need to include consideration for pedestrians by cyclists as this can also prove a point of conflict. However i do not have a problem with the principle and I would start by getting the main points of ingress and egress to the city resolved, namely through and around Coe Fen and Lamas Land.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

Coe Fen and Grange Road I can imagine are particularly difficult. What's more the Grange Road/Barton Road junction poses specific challenges that stretch into questions of poor design and signage.

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

Cycle parking is needed near the Co-op / Derby Stores. Would you push for this, even if it means removing or moving a car parking space or two?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

i am keen to explore this - where it can be positioned safely in the road.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

I think there should be inclusion for cycle parking however I don’t believe its an either/or question and should be part of the resolution to the Residents Parking discussions currently underway. The discussion should be about parking in relation to all transport used not just cars.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

This seems to be a reasonable request. Major stores in the area should have a place for cycles.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

Absolutely: I have mentioned this in the Cambridge Cycle Campaign survey in previous years.

# Question 8

The Grange Road / Barton Road junction is busy with cars and people walking and cycling during peak hours. It is also a messy design that leaves people walking and cycling with very little support to cross the mouth of the junction. How would you propose to seek changes that improve safety and priority for walking and cycling here?

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

I would propose moving the pedestrian crossing on Barton Road to the junction and creating a proper traffic light junction for all road users.

For cyclists i would look to introduce a priority for cross this junction on the Barton Road access. I would also propose that there is an off road cycle route at the edge of the City on Barton Road that would run along the ditch of the flood barrier behind Gough Way and connect with the Coton cycle path and the West Cambridge site. many cyclists commuting by bike in to the city want to go north and so have to use Grange Road. This proposal would provide a safe alternative.

Mike DAVEY
(Labour Party)

As someone who cycles over this junction several times a week it clearly needs to be redesigned as I always feel I’m taking my life in my hand whichever way I cross. However, I’m not sure its for me to propose the specific changes, more to advocate for the change and seek expert advice as to what those changes should be. I would therefore use my role, if elected as Cllr, to seek to implement that work a priority, after due consultation with local residents and other users.

Connor MACDONALD
(Conservative Party)

The signage in this junction is poor and there definitely needs to be signal upgrade of some kind. However, any changes, because of the importance of the artery, needs to have community input, as well as consulations with groups such as the Cambridge Cycle Campaign and the expertise of the local council.

Mark SLADE
(Green Party)

My gut feeling would be to have a fully signalised junction; rather than just a pedestrian crossing on Barton Road. However, I would not make such a proposition without first consulting the expertise of the Cambridge Cycle Campaign and without first talking to local residents.

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.