Active travel must come first: have your say in the latest consultations

This article was published in 2022, in Magazine 155.

With more consultations underway this summer, it can be difficult to keep track of which organisation is asking what and how to respond. Here’s a brief guide; for more detailed guides to help you shape your responses, visit camcycle.org.uk/consultations.

A new road classification for Cambridge

Shortlink: tinyurl.com/CamRoads
From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)
Time to complete: 15-30 minutes (plus time to read the associated information)
Format: Complete the online survey (all questions are optional so you can answer as many as you like) or email comments to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk. You can also call 01223 699906 or provide feedback at one of the in-person or online events.
Deadline: midday on Monday 18 July

As part of its City Access project, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is looking at a variety of ways to make walking, cycling and public transport more attractive to people living in the Greater Cambridge area. To reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions, they need to reduce car traffic by 20-25%.

In November 2021, the GCP consulted on options for raising money to pay for improvements to the transport network and ways to improve buses in a consultation called Making Connections. Now it is looking at ways to reallocate roadspace to walking, cycling and public transport by updating how roads are categorised in Cambridge. This hasn’t been done since the 1980s.

The proposals would change the ways many streets in the city work: cars, vans and lorries could be required to use main roads for as much of their journey as possible and local roads and streets would be freed up for more frequent and reliable public transport, walking, cycling and a more attractive environment. The city centre walking and cycling priority area would also be expanded, for example motor traffic could be restricted from Bene’t Street and Hobson Street and all along Regent Street up to the Catholic Church junction (see diagram) in the way that it currently is in Sidney Street and Trinity Street.

Proposals for the city centre from the GCP consultation brochure.

Camcycle’s view:
When Filip Watteeuw talked to us about transforming Ghent, the subtitle of his talk was ‘Improving quality of life through mobility’. The road classification proposals are still very car-centric; the process should follow a user hierarchy which means firstly considering pedestrians, then cyclists, public transport and then motor traffic. There should also be an emphasis on creating better places to live, work and visit; it’s not just about those passing through. In terms of the survey, we strongly agree with the reduction of through-traffic on local streets by the use of modal filters (Q3), to the implementation of the road classification changes at the same time as the Making Connections proposals (Q9), to restricting access to some city centre streets to pedestrians, cyclists and other active travel modes, with alternative options for those who need it (Q13) and to improving access for low-emission delivery vehicles and e-cargo bikes (Q15). For more detailed guidance, please view our consultation guide and read the discussion on Cyclescape thread 6086.

Local Transport and Connectivity Plan

Local Transport & Connectivity Plan coverShortlink: tinyurl.com/CambsTransport
From: Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA)
Time to complete: 15 minutes (plus time to read the associated information)
Format: Complete the online survey or email comments to contact@yourltcp.co.uk. You can also provide feedback at one of the in-person events.
Deadline: Thursday 4 August, 11.59pm

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (led by Mayor Dr Nik Johnson) is the strategic transport authority for our area and is is consulting on a plan that will set the overall priorities for transport. In November 2021, the Combined Authority held a ‘public consultation exercise‘ to help shape the new Local Transport and Connectivity Plan and now they are publishing the draft plan in full and seeking local feedback. The Authority says that ‘all future transport projects for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough will be guided by the plan’. One notable change from the last Local Transport Plan (published in February 2020 by the previous Mayor, James Palmer) is that this version takes into account the recommendations from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate (CPICC), which were published in 2021. However, despite a slight increase of emphasis on walking and cycling in the strategy, most active travel projects seem to have been removed from the district maps!

Camcycle’s view:
The draft plan is muddled, inconsistent and lacks specific timelines and targets. The CPCA Board have already agreed to proceed with the CPICC’s recommendation to reduce driven car miles by 15% by 2030, so where are the detailed tactics needed to achieve this? And why are they polling the public on the popularity of this proposal (Q7 in the online survey).

As with the GCP Road Classification consultation, this plan needs to be rewritten in line with the hierarchy of road users, detailing active travel projects first, then public transport, then motor vehicle schemes. We reiterate our call for the CPCA to pledge 20% of the transport budget to walking and cycling. There must be a unified approach across each district and the strategy must include demand management policies and the creation of active communities: for example, through low-traffic neighbourhoods. The document must be written to be clear and inspiring to everyone, with climate change at its heart.

For more details, read our consultation guide at camcycle.org.uk/consultations and the discussion on Cyclescape thread 5940.

Cambourne to Cambridge Environmental Impact Assessment

Cambourne to Cambridge EIA consultation brochure coverShortlink: tinyurl.com/C2Cimpact
From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)
Time to complete:
From 10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents).
No questions are obligatory, but there is a lot of detailed content to read and respond to.
Format: Questionnaire (online or paper version)
Deadline: Midday, Monday 11 July

The GCP is undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the preferred route for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway and adjacent active travel path. They are seeking views on how best to manage and mitigate the scheme’s impacts on the landscape and environment.

Camcycle’s view:
If this scheme proceeds, the detailed design of the active travel route must be guided by LTN 1/20, the government’s standards for cycle infrastructure (but current documents do not give enough detail to evaluate the project). Particular care should be given in regards to safety, including separation from fast-moving bus traffic, suitable lighting, visibility splays and natural surveillance. There should be frequent, well-designed connections to surrounding paths. For more details, view our consultation guide and read the discussion on Cyclescape thread 1855.