Many thanks to all who attended our AGM this year. The talk from John Franklin was very well received, and the large turnout of members I think is a reflection that the Campaign is in an increasingly healthy state. This is partly a result of the huge amount of development work which has taken place this year internally, as I outline in the AGM report in this newsletter. We also now have a very full committee, who will thus be in a position to campaign ever harder on a wide range of issues on your behalf.
Our online mapping system is increasingly becoming a strategic campaigning resource, useful in a range of contexts. Increasingly we are using it to report problems with enforcement of cycle lanes, as well as demonstrating the difficulties cyclists are facing daily on the roads.
A staggering 1000 photos have now been added by members of the Campaign and the general public during the few months since its launch this summer. An archive of 7500 more photos have also been added.
We have now added a categorisation system, which automatically groups photographs together to create lists of places where, for instance, cycle parking is needed, or where good practice is demonstrable. We have already heard from some officials at Cambridge City Council that prioritised lists of cycle parking would be useful for them in implementing such provision.
Gonville Place crossing
Since Newsletter 68 a great deal of campaigning has taken place on this crossing, with mixed results, as we explain in more detail in this newsletter . In under a week we organised, collected, and presented well over 500 signatures. Users of the crossing were quite literally queuing at times to sign.
This is an issue where councillors are very much on our side. In response to our campaigning, officials at Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to an on-site meeting, at which a good number of councillors, from both political parties represented on the transport committee, turned up. I have never seen councillors get so angry with officials, who attempted to present a defence of their design, but who could not have failed to notice that there were real concerns that need to be addressed.
This seems to be an issue which unites both walkers and cyclists, as well as elected politicians of all political persuasions. It is good to see political unity on such an issue, a recognition of the strength of feeling from members of the public. Again, during our presence on site, people spontaneously came up and made clear their views to the crossing designers.
We still have a long way to go on this issue. What is needed is nothing less than a full-scale redesign, and to achieve that we have to have genuine recognition from the scheme designers that there is a problem, so that a new design can be produced, and secondly a commitment from Councillors to fund full-scale works. Neither will be easy.
New housing developments
The outgoing committee has felt incredibly stretched by the sheer volume of proposals for new housing developments in the Cambridge sub-region. At the time of writing, in the last week there were three major planning applications in the post, all of which have major cycling implications.
Whilst the Campaign takes no view on the policy question of whether new housing should or should not be built, it is important that we not only scrutinise proposals for inadequate cycling provision, but also make a positive and glowing case for genuine cycle-friendly design, so that cycling in these new developments is the natural choice, by engaging developers somehow. Our Cycling 2020 initiative, which is moving forward, will be key in this.
I hope to see many of you at our Seasonal Social – this year with a short film beforehand – see the diary.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator