Wednesday 26 April 2017

Cambridge Local Election Survey - Conservatives

I've no idea if the regular name I see on the Tory party line in our ward is even a real person. Never met her. Never seen her. Never heard from her. 

Regarding being a cyclist?
I do not cycle. I have never owned a bike. I have no family living with me or anywhere in Cambridgeshire. I am always meaning to get a bike but somehow never get round to it. I would be nervous about cycling on road
Well thats at least honest. And I'm not surprised, its a bleeding awful place to live if you ride a bike.  

And the barriers to cycling in the ward?
My division has some new cycling facilities and is due to get others some time in the future. There is certainly demand for more facilities. I am working on trying to get forward funding if at all possible. There are also safety concerns for Girton residents accessing the University primary school and other residents will need improved crossing facilities when Sainsbury opens and they also wish to access community facilities that will be available on the NWCD. I am working with residents, the university and county officers to find a resolution.
Hang about a minute, what?  You're talking about Bar Hill? Effectively an island cut off from civilisation by the A14, a motorway in all but name and one so terrifying that if someone rides a bike on it its actually a newsworthy occurrence? Where if you want to ride a bike anywhere else there's one route that isn't deadly and thats muddy, gravelly and chicaned? There's an elephant in this room...

She supports greenways for commuting, fair enough. And she'd like more cycle routes.

Well, she's not hostile to cycling. But this is thoroughly underwhelming. 

I've struggled to find another Tory who's answered, but one called Heather Williams out in Gamlingay has

So does she ride, does her family and what would help?
Unfortunately due to surgery that I have had on my back I can no longer cycle. My mother and father in law cycle locally for short journeys within our village and have not come across any problems.
Well if she can't ride I'm of course not holding that against her. But mother and father in law ride bikes, only in the village, and haven't come across any problems? I dunno. This looks like a warning light to me. 

Regarding challenges people face cycling, especially those with mobility problems...
The Gamlingay division is a very rural division and most cyclists are using country lanes. I have raised concerns about the paths that connect our villages for example guilden to steeple, litlington to bassingbourn with particular concern to these as they are roads that children take to get to school. Many parents drive their children to school because they do not think there is adequate facilities to walk or cycle. I do believe that if the inter village links were improved with particular priority put on where local facilities are shared (e.g. Schools, post offices) then we would see more people walking and cycling.
Interesting. Because when I ride a bike in rural Cambridgeshire the challenges I encounter are, well, drivers going too fast on country roads. And the obvious solution to that is that the routes connecting places need segregated cycling infrastructure. But this reply also betrays another sad truth about that environment - people aren't even walking to the post office or to the school. The car is king - and we're not seeing much imagination here to combat that.

Its the next answer (regarding City Deal) that really makes me want to just give up. 
I welcome many of the proposals made from the city deal in particularly those related to housing as this is an area of key concern in south Cambridgeshire. I agree that congestion in Cambridge is a challenge that needs to be tackled and I believe that this requires a combination of approaches. With the Gamlingay division bordering both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire I believe that from this areas perspective improved rail links are vital, along with improving pedestrian/cyclist routes to the stations. I believe that it is a cultural shift that is required to reduce traffic long term. If children are used to traveling in cars alone, they will then continue this practice as adults. I believe that if the city deal looked at improving cycle paths or footpaths on school routes then this would make parents more comfortable in their children cycling to school. Those children will be used to cycling/walking and the cultural shift changes from always being in a car to a mixed method of transport. I also think that part of the city deal funds could be spent on cycling classes for children in schools so that they are confident and safe while cycling.
...what? Like... What? Well, yes, ok, getting kids on bikes is good. Tackling congestion is good. But with respect, cycling isn't only to be encouraged among children. And if you're seriously saying you want to spend City Deal money on cycle training for Children then firstly, go back to the County and demand that they invest in this anyway and, secondly, you've not really got a grasp on what infrastructure spending is about. 

As for junctions, here she completely loses the plot. 
There are no particular junctions that I believe stand out as a cycling concern, tho many are an issue for motorists such as the tadlow junction in the b1042 and the odsey junction on the a505. I would however welcome a cycle path along the a505, a603,a1198 and b1042 such as the one proposed for the a10. These roads are main roads to cambridge and many other villages, they are the quickest routes but many would feel uncomfortable cycling on such busy main roads and I believe a separate cycle path alongside these roads would make people feel more comfortable.
Hang on, there are no junctions that stand out as a concern for cycling? I beg to differ. And you don't fix a junction by putting a cycle path alongside a road - you fix it by taming the junction itself and resolving priority to make it safer. 

Her thoughts on facilitating bikes on trains to get people in and out of Cambridge would be great if she also acknowledged the need to allow bikes to be taken on to peak time trains. But I dunno, there's a general 'people don't ride here, thats for city folk' feel to what she's answered all the way through.

Now I don't want to be harsh, these Tory folk aren't actively hostile towards cycling here. But they're not particularly facilitating either. Not impressed if I'm honest. And the fact that I've got to go to far-flung parts of the county to find anyone who has answered the survey either tells us the Tories don't take cycling seriously or they don't see any point bothering with Cambridge. Or both.

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