This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 78.
Probably our busiest ever month!
May 2008 has arguably been the Campaign’s busiest ever month, with no less than six major projects or events launching. We profile these later in this Newsletter. It was great to see these all coming to fruition, though many of us feel rather exhausted as a result!
May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped with these in any way, in what we eventually billed as a ‘Month of Cycling’, and also thank our speakers at the Conference.
Cycling 2020 and
Cycling in New Developments launched at last
At long last, we launched these major new documents. They dovetail with each other, though their agendas are different. The New Developments paper deals with what should be done where there is a ‘clean sheet of paper’, whereas Cycling 2020 deals with the whole range of issues that exist around the existing (as well as new) areas of the city.
We have received nothing but positive feedback on these documents, and personally I feel they will do much to enhance the reputation that the Campaign has built up for making a professional and well-argued case for high-quality cycling conditions. Many people remain surprised that we still have no paid staff, being entirely voluntary, and working from a relatively shoestring budget and one-off grants!
On that note, I should like to give particular thanks to our donor who supported the Cycling 2020 project and who is also helping out in other ways. Having the money to do such projects has been a real weight off our shoulders, enabling us to spend the time working on real campaigning rather than obtaining grant funding.
Our next major projects are the Cycle Parking Guide (for which we have funding of £3,500, have appointed consultants, and which we should launch in August) and the hiring of a planning consultant to help us deal with the huge number of issues relating to plans for the new developments.
Almost immediately after organising the national cycle campaigning conference, a group of us travelled to Holland – to see again how they provide for cycling. What a contrast it was with Cambridge.
The difference in mindset is staggering, and it really shows how giving genuine priority to cycling results in enormously high rates of cycling. In one notable example, a whole new bridge was being constructed basically in order to deal with a location with poor visibility.
Another real point of interest was seeing hundreds of children arrive at a primary school by bike – mostly on their own – within 10 minutes. If Councillors in this country were to prioritise road space for cycling rather than parked cars, such things might be possible in Cambridge.
Of course, Cambridge is not Holland, and there are differences in terms of space available, legislation, and motorist behaviour. However, the key difference is that politicians there don’t just vaguely try to make cycling fit in – as so often happens over here – but instead are really willing to make cycling the main form of local transport, and provide the money and mindset to make it so.