Tuesday 3 May 2016

Response to 2016 Election Surveys - Liberal Democrats

They got a damn good kicking in the general election of course - and recently lost their overall majority on the City Council too. But they remain the very clear second-placed party in Cambridge, and had the Greens not challenged them so hard in the General Election they might have held on to Cambridge. But lets see what they have to say on cycling.

Our Kings Hedges candidate hasn't replied to the Camcycle survey - nor indeed have I heard a peep out of him in the campaign. I'm almost down to the river before one of them has bothered - Shahida Rahman in East Chesterton.

Does she support 'Space for Cycling'? Yes, and she's given us a clear example of where she'd apply it. Simple, clear, excellent.

As for kids cycling to school...
There should be more safer routes for cycling to school. This would encourage more parents to cycle to school with their children.
It can be a dangerous place outside schools for traffic, particularly cyclists. Cars should not be allowed to park very near the school and mounting on kerbs. At the moment, this has proven hard to enforce as well as the 20mph rule; for the former I will push the Cambridge Joint Area committee for more enforcement of yellow lines and a more transparent way of setting where enforcement resource is sent.
I’m very keen to get parking controls in place, around Chesterton Primary School in East Chesterton as well as make the route to that school safer via the Lib Dem project 'Green Up Green End Road' part of the City Deal to redesign Green End Road.
School children are less experienced in being aware of cycling hazards. It is very important for all children to be able to cycle to school safely and conveniently.
Flat out the best answer I've seen to anything yet!

And her main concern for people older and younger cycling?
 Cars parking on the cycle lane. This means we have to manoeuvre to the main road which isn’t safe at all. They feel unsafe doing this. I believe that more action should be taken to stop people parking their cars like this. Cycling in busy traffic can be difficult too. I am particularly concerned when my children bike during these times. As explained in Question 2, children are less experienced in being aware of cycling hazards.
Again, excellent answer.

Her answer to what to do with more bike parking in the city centre is reasonable but rather uninspired, but she's the first candidate I've encountered with a policy method for fixing cycle access during construction projects, which is impressive. I'm also delighted to say she really gets the question about the kind of thing that obstructs bigger and non-standard bikes and has a clear example of something in her ward she'd want to address and she's very clearly picked out what kind of junctions she'd like to improve (although I'd like to hear how she'd do it). 

But all in all, an excellent candidate. Really, one of the best sets of responses we've seen in Cambridge. You can also see her responses to the Smarter Transport Survey here.

Now it would be asking a lot for all of the LibDems to get cycling right - but lets pick the next one we find. Lets go the other way this time and head in to Castle ward, where we find Mike Argent.

Does he support Space for Cycling?
Cambridge lends itself to cycling, as usually the most convenient and easiest way to get around and is something to encourage. But the needs of cyclists have to be held in balance with the needs of other road users.
 Errrm... So that would be no then? I mean, you're saying you want to balance the need for cyclists to use facilities that won't kill them with the needs of other road users? Nope. Bugger off.

Kids getting to school safely?
I'm not sure there is an actual problem -- beyond the general issue of congestion. What is your evidence for there being a problem?
Oh, ok, your answer to that is to tell children to go play in the traffic. Great. Nice one mate. Next time your'e passing, just... keep passing, will you? He also doesn't think there are problems for more vulnerable cyclists (older or younger folk). His answer on city centre cycle parking isn't so daft and does at least acknowledge the fact that one of the great things about cycling is locking up wherever you like - but I can't relate to his view that there's always somewhere to park - I've lost track of the number of times that just hasn't been the case.

And the rest of his answers... he doesn't get that there's a problem with access while building works go on, doesn't really understand the issue with parking affecting cycling on residential streets, and doesn't get that sometimes daft chicanes and dismount signs really mess things up if you're on a cargo bike.

I'd go looking to find his responses to the Smarter Travel thingy, but I don't respect him enough to make that worth my while.

So there you have it - two LibDem candidates, one excellent and the other a complete waste of space - the Liberal Democrats have a serious identity problem going on here, and you'll only really know whether they've a clue on cycling issues if you look very, very closely at what they say. Well, I suppose 1 out of 2 ain't bad. Actually, no, what am I saying, its terrible.  

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