Tuesday 24 April 2018

Cambridge Cycling Campaign Election Survey 4: Greens

While still a minority party here, the Greens do at least have a city councillor and they've had others. And they're fielding a good number of candidates so its worth putting their answers under the same scrutiny as the other parties. 

Sadly our local Green candidate hasn't responded, so I've got to go further afield. 

His own experience of cycling and fears for others of different ages? 
Cycled since a young lad. Only wasn't able to cycle when I succumbed to a nasty bout of Glandula Fever
Ok. So he's got a bike. Thats not really an answer though.

The 'Space for Cycling' question, about cycle facilities and quality thereof...
 We have a particular problem at my residence (built 1976) with complete lack of sufficient cycle parking (10 spaces for 13 flats). There must be many other residences like this.
Thats not an answer to the question.

On 'evidence based policing' and does he support it? 
 "Levels of Danger perceived" seems more relevant. So cycling courses to increase self-confidence - and these will also raise awareness of where real sources of danger are. It is interesting that "road breakdown-assistance" has provided funding for a very effective pro-car lobby. Would the same help cyclists?
I'm beginning to think he's not taking this seriously. Should we base policing on evidence of risk brought to others and should there be more road policing? No comment but lets train cyclists not to be frightened. What a load of bollocks.

He agrees with examples suggested by Camcycle as to how to help kids ride to school but hasn't got anything else to add. And he hasn't grasped the question about planning and Camcycles filling in for Council staff at all. 

On the plus side he does have a short list of places where silly barriers exist on cycle routes, but isn't clear how he'd improve them. And regarding his junction that he'd improve (Mere Way/Arbury Road/route to Roxburgh Road) he's presumably missed the fact that most of that is about to be dug-up and re-done actually much better (I'll give Greater Cambridge stick where they deserve it, but they're taming that junction and not a moment too soon). And his last response where he says he'd 'arrange to ride with groups specified' to work out what to say about a Greater Cambridge deal sounds good while being completely non-committal. You'd think the Greens would be all-over the cycling ticket but these responses have been woeful. 

Regarding own cycling experience and that of family...

I've cycled all my life as my only or mains means of transport. Cambridge originally, London for some years, Italy (Rome far more pleasant and safe to cycle than Cambridge, believe it or not), Cambridge again.
When I lived in northern Italy (Ferrara), the younger members of the family I stayed with, aged ten or so, could easily and safely cycle to their grandmother on the other side of town BY THEMSELVES. Quite impossible here. But it needn't be.
It is an indictment of Cambridge transport policy that a major concern for us in our child's choice of sixth form was the danger or otherwise of getting there by bike (e.g. Impington = intimidating roundabout to cross over motorway).
Well there's a strength of feeling expressed there thats immediately appealing, and I applaud that. 

And the Space for Cycling question?
Yes, support it. Shared space is intimidating and unpleasant for pedestrians and small children, especially if your balance isn't as good as it used tone - somebody coming up unexpectedly makes you jump. Also, alas, too many cyclists cycle too fast and too close to pedestrians.
Milton Road is the obvious place. Why not "do a Hills Road" on it - decent wide cycle lanes, narrower car lanes in middle, which automatically slow traffic.
Chesterton Road also needs decent wide cycle lanes, especially between Mitcham's Corner and the big Chesterton roundabout. (It could be a beautiful Continental-style boulevard. Trees down the middle?)
Well, ok. Thats all fair enough - although I can think of other roads that need such an approach too!

Does he support evidence based policing? 

 Agree. Would particularly like to see the police do something about the many moped riders who zoom around especially in the evening, without silencers and accelerating hard around circuits in the town. Somebody is going to get killed. From what I have read (hopefully changed?), the Police at most "talk to" those found doing this.
Lights - would like to see the many car-drivers with only one headlight working fined!
Taxi-drivers. Unfortunately there seems to be a culture of dangerous, aggressive taxi-driving (and parking) in Cambridge. This needs addressing urgently, both in education and enforcement. A role for the City Council taxi-licensing department.
Fully support the Police campaign to stop drivers overtaking too close. Was grateful to Cam Cycling Campaign for pushing for this.
 From a cycling perspective this all sounds good - from an evidence based policing its a little shady. Where is your evidence that the things you allude to deserve more 'evidence based' policing? My own instincts say the same - I don't argue thats evidence based. I do know that there is plenty of data available on relative harm caused by different kinds of road user and I do wonder why it is that none of the candidates seem interested in looking that up for themselves. Like, would 10 minutes googling it be too much to ask?

On children cycling to school he's agreed with Camcycle suggestions and added banning driving on to School premesis and talked about dry bike parking. Thats sensible. 

And on planning...
Reinstate full-time cycling officer.
Planning system opaque and biased in favour of applicants. Needs better and clearer publicity about planning applications at the site they are being made for. The existing system - a boring small A4 cryptic sheet with small print, attached obscurely near site - seems designed to avoid notice.
 Best answer to that yet.

And which junctions need improving? 

 All of them!
Roundabouts are particularly problematic and scary. Better replaced by traffic lights.
Interestingly (and counter-intuitively), it wouldn't necessarily "impede traffic flow". I am ancient enough to recall the roundabout which used to be at the junction by Parkside Swimming Pool. Because so many cyclists and pedestrians had been injured, it was replaced by traffic lights. Intriguingly, it actually got quicker and easier to use the junction - there was much LESS of a queue! (I lived near there, and used it every day before and after.)
Well at least its ambitious. I'm not sure 'all of them' is quite the right answer, but I'd certainly accept hat we should be looking at them all, based on accident and cycling rates - if the former is high and the latter low you've definitely got a problem. And his response on pavement and residents parking approaches perfection. I'm repeating it all here because it is, frankly, superb.

I loathe parking on pavements. It impedes or blocks progress for pedestrians, is ugly and dangerous (cars driving on and off pavements, often some distance, fast, along the pavement), and trashes our beautiful paving stones, where they survive. It also gives out the clear message that cars are more important.
We need a system like London, where pavement parking has been illegal for decades. (Government has just announced proposal to gather evidence on possibility of extending London system to rest of country - great.)
What is particularly objectionable and dangerous is the officially condoned and sanctioned pavement parking in Romsey, which makes using the pavements difficult to use for everyone, and impossible if you have a buggy/wheelchairs. It needs to be gradually removed, changing the parking back to one side only, as it was until quite recently.
In West Chesterton, the official pavement parking on Milton Road pavement, from Mitcham's Corner to the roundabout, created some six (?) or so years ago, is crazy. In places it makes the pavement about a foot wide (east side near roundabout). It blocks visibility. It looks hideous. It is dangerous. It creates a lawless feeling, a sense that it's fine parking on the pavement anywhere. It's quite unnecessary - nearly all the houses along there have space for at least one car in the drive. (And in the odd place there isn't, since when has there been an automatic right to park outside your house?)
Residents' parking. I am not convinced by the argument that it should be introduced in order to stop commuters parking. The raison d'ĂȘtre of residents parking seems to have completely changed. The point until now was to give residents in Victorian and older streets, with no off-road parking, which were being completely taken up by commuter parking, a chance to park. It seems strange to introduce residents' parking on streets where houses have driveways or space to park one or more cars, and residents don't need to park on the street.
It also seems needlessly divisive. The people who are commuter parking might well like to live in Cambridge, and not have to drive in, but they may well have had to live outside Cambridge because houses are less expensive there. They might prefer to use public transport - but it may well not be good enough, so they have no choice but to drive.
Those of us who live in Cambridge, in the streets proposed for residents parking, are already fortunate to be able to live close to the centre, and close to bus routes/railway We probably have space to park at least one car in our driveway, and don't even need the residents parking.
It is the public highway, after all, not the private domain of those of us who live here.
His response to making the bottom end of Arbury Road safer is a little too tentative - you can't remove the parking that prevents us having cycle lanes gradually, but you need to look at where those cars will go, what kind of parking options can be offered elsewhere. This is solvable, but needs some courage. His answers on Mitchams Corner are ok too, but I'd like more detail on what he'd do.

So thats the Greens. And I'm... Stuck. One great candidate, one rubbish. I'd rate one at 9/10 and the other at 2/10. Maybe 6/10 on balance - but if you've got a green candidate all I can say is look very closely at what they say - you might have a cracker, you might have a stinker.

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