Elections – Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Elections

Local elections (City), May 2018: Queen Edith's

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Joel CHALFEN  (Green Party)
  • Manas DEB  (Conservative Party)
  • Dan GREEF  (Labour Party)
  • Colin MCGERTY  (Liberal Democrat)

Questions for Queen Edith's ward candidates (7 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

I cycle most journeys I make myself in the city and also beyond - and in that sense it is a big positive that bicycles are part of the city's culture. I also try to cycle most journeys when travelling with my three young children but with them the decision is much harder: whilst I feel I can navigate the many obstacles to safe-cycling - the amount of traffic; the abrupt ending of cycle routes and shifting between kinds of cycle paths; the inadequacy of many shared pedestrian/cycle paths - these all make family cycling difficult. For new, younger riders, routes like the cycle highway along Hills Road are intimidating and unsafe - but without a comprehensive and complete cycle network around town and beyond, it always feel like you are competing on the one hand with dangerous vehicles and on the other with concerned pedestrians.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

I cycle with my family in weekends and join my child cycling to his school in sunny days. My son has passed level 3 in cycling last year and we send him for cycling courses arranged by his school from time to time. As my child has grown out of his old little bike, I have recently bought him one advanced multi gear cycle with carrier for him to carry school bag safely for his journeys.
Children should be taught about road safety and I have made my child aware of few unsafe cycle paths and he cycles on his own using Hills Road and Queen Edith's Way without much difficulties.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

I am a keen cyclist and have much experience long distance cycling across East Anglia, as well as daily to get around Cambridge. When I first moved to Cambridge I was struck how good the cycling provision here is. I have a two year old daughter and am considering buying a Dutch family bike to make the most of the amazing cycle paths within the city and strongly believe these would be a great idea within the streets of Queen Edith's.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

My whole family cycle as our main form of transport in Cambridge. My work in IT is varied. Sometimes I work from home, other times I’ll commute to London by bike and train. My wife and children cycle daily to work and school.
Cycling on the road with young children can be scary where cycle paths are not segregated from traffic. Teaching the children awareness of their surroundings on the road was our top priority. Our ten-year-old daughter now cycles independently around the city.

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

The principles of protected space is absolutely right - though, even then, there is always a range of cyclists to consider (the high speed commuter through to the first-timer) who have different expectations of such facilities. The challenge is always finding space to modify existing infrastructure without losing important green space and trees or compromising width of lanes for big vehicles. Measures to control parking as well as the 20MPH speed limit are ostensibly making some of the adjustments retrospectively and beyond those Queen Edith's ward is not one where many other changes are possible. Wulfstan Way is perhaps one local road that needs further attention. The arguments over Queen Edith's Way, however, have demonstrated that prioritising the cyclists perspective - especially the commuter cyclist's perspective - is not readily compatible with the needs of those who live in the road. And more importantly, as is often the case, it is pointless identifying individual stretches of road that could be adapted. These need to be part of a holistic change to the way transport is planned and managed.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

I completely agree with this principle. I support more dedicated cycle paths in Queen Edith’s for commuters and school children for safe cycling and reduced traffic congestion. However,new cycle paths should not be built at the cost of losing significant numbers of cherry trees or any residential characters and must be in due consultation with local residents. Fendon Road, Mowbray Road and Wulstan Way could be a possibility to build dedicated cycle paths similar to Hills Road to coonect Addenbrooke’s with Cherry Hinton Road and Perne Road.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

I most certainly do support these principles. I particularly agree with the need to stop rat runs in residential areas and that streets should be closed at times to encourage pedestrian and cycle use only which encourages this more environmentally friendly form of transport. There is a need for balance so I feel verges and trees should not have to be sacrificed for new cycle paths, however the ultimate goal is that we have more dedicated cycle paths on the side of the road and not sharing paths.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

I support the principles. Pavements and road surfaces on Queen Edith’s Way are in a terrible condition. Vulnerable pedestrians need protection and cyclists commuting between Cherry Hinton, Addenbrooke’s and Netherhall need dedicated, segregated cycleways as traffic density and speed is far too high. But this cannot be at the expense of our traditional neighbourhood. The beautiful Cherry trees were planted with the support of Lib Dem councillors and we will only support schemes which promote space for cycling, improve the roads and pavements and preserve the environment.

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

There would be benefits to cyclists to know that the police take responsible cycling seriously. But still it partially feels like a moment of loss when the advocates for safer public spaces ask for more policing. It would be far more preferential - as your position paper does indicate - to have well-designed transport routes that make self-policing between travellers the way to manage this. Indeed, developing legal guidelines on responsible cycling will require support in the form of training and that in itself may be enough to circumvent the more disciplinary approach! What the campaign is focusing on: education, cycle servicing, better road design and signage - seem to be vital to strike a good balance in which the need for greater police intervention is underwritten by better road awareness and communication.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

I agree that motorists and cyclists should follow road signs and highway code and respect traffic signals, pedestrians, fellow drivers and bikers. Police is doing a fantastic job on the road and under Police & Crime Commissioner’s leadership arrested many offenders and bike stealers. We would need more dedicated cycle paths in Cambridge to reduce accidents and improve quality of journeys for cyclists.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

Police cuts have made enforcement difficult, although I know that enforcement hasn’t always been strong even before these cuts. I am always frustrated when waiting on my bicycle at a red light and another cyclist passes through. We all have a responsibility to make sure our friends and family are fully informed about the highway code.
I would like to see shared paths and cycle paths at a minimum and when used that they are clearly marked as I have seen cyclists on footpaths illegally and I have been shouted at while using a shared use path. I also find the one-way system in central Cambridge very frustrating and have seen cyclists going the wrong way down one-way streets, as cycles aren't as big a danger as motor vehicles couldn't these be made two way for cyclists?
Ultimately it comes down to cyclists feeling safe on the road as motor vehicles have the ability to do serious harm to cyclists which puts many off from cycling on the road. I want to see more dedicated cycle paths as a way to make cycling for everyone more accessible. It would be amazing to promote a safe cycling day once a year when road traffic is limited to bikes and emergency vehicles only.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

Enforcement, whether it be of road users or parking restrictions, is something people often tell me is important to them. It’s frustrating to feel we are observing rules which others are ignoring, especially where safety is concerned. We are acutely aware that police funding is under pressure, however, residents, councillors and neighbourhood policing teams have worked together in some areas on Speedwatch schemes, with good results.

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

The question of children's independence to be in public spaces is part of a broader question around community and trust. However, specifically in terms of cycling to schools, there are measures that can be taken - that start with the Schools offering support to parents to allow for those choices. Some research is worth doing by schools first and investigation needs to be made as to why so many cars are used and whether alternatives could not be found - perhaps even with a school bus. But there are other issues such as providing ample safe cycle parking and ensuring that bin trucks are not blocking traffic at these critical times in neighbouring streets as well as the schools' road itself. Each school should advertise its safest cycle routes and have them upgraded so that they are 'the instinctive choice'; schools should investigate the possibility of buses and promote car pooling where cars have to be used. Drop off points need to be carefully managed and schools need to be designated 'safe zones' at critical times.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

Parents should send their children to road safety courses and once they are ready should encourage them to bike to their schools. It is scary for parents of young children to see that some cars don’t follow speed limits near schools and speeding cars at round about and near schools could be dangerous for young school going cyclist and if elected as a Councillor, I would like to see more slowing downs signs and cameras before round about and schools to build cyclists confidence.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

I used to cycle to my primary school each day and I wasn’t allowed to do so until I took a cycle safety course. I think schools should offer these courses to every child as they will save lives. It taught me a simple version of the highway code and enabled me to be a safe cyclist. Secondly, schools must have safe streets surrounding them and/or cycle paths which could have a school crossing patrols at busy crossings.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

Car parking on the road and pavement around all three primary schools in Queen Edith's has come up time and again with residents. All three have zig-zag lines outside but parking enforcement here is poor. This is an issue councillors of all parties agree on and has been raised repeatedly to the police at area committee.

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

Funding. As far as I can tell, there are not enough staff and it would be excellent to have planning submissions viewed by a full-time cycling officer. But also a lack of vision in which sustainability generally is taken account of. The Green Party is in the best position to shift this fundamental problem - so the improvements need to be in resource and leadership.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

Volunteers of Camcycle are doing a fantastic job and I believe all new developments in Cambridge going forward should submit a plan to highlight provisions for cycle parking, good access and cycle storage before planning permission is approved. If elected as City Councillor, I am happy to work on this issue with other Councillors to implement necessary changes in planning permission.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

Thank you Camcycle for the work you do for all of us. We are at an exciting time with the development of the new local plan. I want to see better provision made for cycling as a minimum standard for planning applications as each development has a knock on traffic implication for Cambridge’s streets. With this in mind I will campaign to see a suitable local plan which takes into serious consideration all types of cycling and that treats cycling as one of the main methods to improve transport in our city.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

I am very worried that local people no longer feel confident that their concerns are heard when planning decisions are made. Under the Lib Dem administration, these decisions where made at Local Area Committee but this was centralised when Labour took control. Although Queen Edith’s councillors have regularly been members of the central planning committee, this inevitably rotates around the city and results in people quite remote from us making local decisions.

# 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?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

I use a cargo bike everyday. Wherever cycle routes are on pavements - such as on Cherry Hinton Road or Queen Edith's Way - cycling the bike can be difficult but nor can I ride it in the road. Certainly, it now needs to be recognised that wider bikes are now much more common and accommodation should be made for them by removing unnecessary obstacles. It is the same as for wheelchair and disabled access. I would support every effort that can give consideration to non-standard cycles but again everyone needs to accept that we share our public spaces and whilst cycling can offer the advantage of speed and directness, sometimes there are compromises to be made.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

Increasing number of big pot holes in many parts of Queen Edith’s residential streets are potentially big hazards for adapted cycles, tricycles, handcycles, cargo cycles and cycles with trailers. This could cause serious accidents if not repaired immediately. Elderly residents in Queen Edith’s often use cycle to visit Post office and local shops to buy milk, tea, medicines etc. and very scared of pot holes. If elected as City Councillor, I will work with local County Councillor to repair pot holes with top priority. Our Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor has already provided £950k to County councils to repair existing pot holes.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

As I frequently cycle through Queen Edith’s I am frustrated by some of the potholes that one has to dodge to avoid an accident. These will be particularly difficult to avoid in a adapted cycles, tricycles, hand cycles, cargo cycles and cycles with trailers.
Poor parking on verges is a huge problem in many roads within Queen Edith’s and this makes using any type of cycle much more dangerous, with blind crossings for pedestrians. I am also concerned about the height of the speed bump in Blinco Grove which must make cargo bikes struggle to clear. If elected I will work with Queen Edith’s County Councillor to improve our roads and take pressure of our street parking.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

Cycle provision along Cherry Hinton Road needs improvement. This is a busy road with many local shops and cafés which are well used by Queen Edith’s residents. Access should be safer and easier but currently there are no high-quality cycle lanes, difficult junctions, uneven surfaces and many parked cars to negotiate. Councillors are engaging with officers to propose measures that will improve access for both cyclists and pedestrians.

# Question 7

Increasingly, commuter cars are being parked in Queen Edith’s on verges and pavements, including shared-use paths. In many cases, the remaining gap is too narrow, forcing some users (e.g. wheelchair users, or various kinds of child-carrying cycles such as cargo bikes, or adapted cycles such as tricycles) onto the roadway. This is dangerous, but as the behaviour goes unchallenged it becomes more widespread. What do you think of this behaviour, and, if you think it should be stopped, what practical steps would you take to do so?

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

This may require a change in law as pavement parking/parking on verges is not necessarily illegal. Certainly it needs to be made clear where it is not legal! Or at least where this is a regular problem, residents and citizens need to be able to report it such that signs and lines can be put in place (we all know how expensive and protracted that kind of process typically is though). Again it comes back to holding a complete vision of how to manage traffic flow into the city and where to direct students and commuters so they are not creating problems for the people that live where they happen to park.

Manas DEB
(Conservative Party)

Many builders and resident visitors often park their vehicles on verges and pavements and this is certainly a serious hazard for child carrying cycles, cargo cycles and wheelchair users because the gap is so narrow that they have no choice but to use the highways making their life dangerous and this needs to stop. Vehicles parked regularly on verges permanently damage green verges and remains unchallenged most of the time. If elected as a City Councillor, I will work with local residents & PCC to check the possibility of enforcing any law to stop this.

Dan GREEF
(Labour Party)

Alleviating the parking problems in Queen Edith’s is one of my top priorities and on day one of being a councillor I would start to tackle this problem. Firstly enforcement needs to be improved and I am happy meet drivers with Police and Council officers to make clear to drivers what their responsibility is. Secondly we need a holistic plan to reduce parking congestion in our streets, including better parking provision at Addenbrookes and park and ride provision for eligible students at Hills Road College. Finally, from my experience talking to parked taxi drivers with their engines running, people can be very reasonable when spoken to in a respectful and courteous way.

Colin MCGERTY
(Liberal Democrat)

Lib Dem councillors in Queen Edith’s have proposed a scheme to residents of Baldock Way to provide low-level fencing around the grass verges and yellow lines on this narrow street to ensure cars are parked only in the appropriate places. At the same time, we successfully lobbied the County Council to remove the self-defeating charge at the Park & Ride, helping to deal with the problem at source.

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.