Guest speaker: Lucy Marstrand

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We were happy to welcome Lucy Marstrand as guest speaker for the March monthly meeting. Lucy attended school in Cambridge before heading off to university about twenty years ago, so her visit was a bit of a trip down memory lane. We took her on our usual tour with a few stops to see some ‘new’ (to her) infrastructure such as the Riverside bridge, as well as some more recent changes such as the parallel crossing on Huntingdon Road. She was especially interested in comparing the new cycle lanes on Huntingdon Road with cycle lanes that have been built in her current home of Bournemouth. Since we toured in mid-afternoon we got to see a distinctly Cambridge school run, with kids cycling home from school on both old and new infrastructure.

Lucy’s research was featured in an article in Newsletter 136, about last year’s Cycling and Society Symposium. She is seeking to learn more about why our streets are designed the way they are, compared to the much more attractive and walking and cycling-friendly streets of many cities in the Netherlands. The basic question is: ‘who’s deciding how our roads are?’ Some quotes from her talk:

  • In medicine, if you had a drug that led to people dying, being unhappy or unable to move around, you wouldn’t give it to them. Why are we still giving people environments that narrow their opportunities and harm their quality of life?
  • We’ve cut out of the British imagination how streets could be.
  • We need to see multi-disciplinary design teams because it’s not going to happen with only engineers driving it forward.
  • Rather than just attracting engineers we need to attract a greater breadth of talent and skills to transport.
  • We need to ensure that walking and cycling are mainstream in engineering, not separate topics, they’re integral to training.
  • Visioning needs to be a part of the way engineers think.

The video of the talk is available on our Facebook page so you can check it out yourself (see timeline for 6 March).

Matthew Danish