Tuesday 24 April 2018

Cambridge Cycling Campaign Election Survey 5: My Responses

Part 5 was about to be UKIP and the new Libertarian Party. But they've got one candidate each and they're so abysmal they're not even funny.

Last time round Al at the Cycling Campaign challenged me to give my own answers. So I did. And it would seem uncharitable not to do so again. Here goes. Here are my answers to the Kings Hedges questions.
What experience do you and your family have of cycling? Do you have any different concerns about younger or older family members cycling than you do yourself?
Its just me and my partner. We both cycle, pretty much everywhere. What on depends what we're doing - might be the big ex-posties bike with a trailer for big stuff. Might be the road bike for going a distance. Might be the chunky hybrid down to the shops. Depends. I've always ridden, wherever I've lived.

Concerns for the elderly and the young, and for those who don't get around so well, are largely that its just so damned hostile. If you're quick and assertive thats easier - but thats no way to run a road system. The litmus test for whether we're getting cycling right is really whether there are children and old-fogeys riding. That we've relatively few of each tells you what we're doing wrong. Add to that the fact that many cycle facilities here are practically inaccessible for those on non-standard bikes (especially important for the disabled) and it shows we've a long way to go. 
A key aim of our organisation is enabling more people to cycle, by the provision of protected space for cycling away from traffic, not shared with pedestrians, thus reducing traffic and providing transport choice. This best-practice is outlined in our guide, Making Space For Cycling, endorsed by all national cycling organisations. Do you support these principles, and if so, where could they most effectively be applied in your ward?
I support Making Space for Cycling. We should be building high quality cycle provision pretty much everywhere, every time we modify a road. We should be doing this on Arbury Road, along the whole length, Campkin Road, Northfield Avenue, Kings Hedges Road, and Milton Road - we should be looking to have direct routes between where people live and where they work, so this should extend out of the ward down Union Lane, Campkin Road, to the Science Park, etc.
Safe use of the roads is a major issue. Our view is that traffic policing, of all groups of road users (cyclists, drivers, etc.), should become a greater police priority, and that this should be evidence-based, namely based on the relative levels of danger presented by each such group. What are your thoughts, and where would your priorities be?
Flip that around. Would I favour policing based on opinion, belief, hunch, prejudice and guesswork? No. Obviously not. No one would. Would I therefore rather base policing on evidence or risk and relative harm? Yes. The evidence is, in Cambridge and across the UK, that it ain't cyclists causing the problem. Thats just physics. Motorists kill in such huge numbers relative to cyclists its not even something to see the bright side of, there's not even a good laugh to be had here, its hideous.

And if the evidence shows that cyclists are causing specific problems in specific places? Yeah, sure, address it - give that the policing priority based on the level of harm caused. Someone claiming they were 'nearly killed' by a cyclist riding past them isn't going to be a high priority when people are -actually- killed by motorists. If you believe otherwise your sense of perspective is seriously fucked up.
We are keen to see more children being able to cycle safely to school independently. Ideas from our members to assist this include protected space for cycling, parking/pickup bans 200m of schools, cycle parking. What measures would you suggest?
Great starting points. More and better bike locking spaces at schools. Quality cycling infrastructure connecting where people live with schools. Bike maintenance groups visiting schools. Medals for kids who cycle. Ain't rocket science - make cycling appealing and safe and it'll happen, that'll make kids healthier, happier, and the environment they're in cleaner and safer. There are no down-sides to this.
Our volunteers spend a lot of time scrutinising planning applications for failures such as lack of secure cycle parking, poor access, failure to fund nearby improvements to make the roads safer, and so on. Many of these things get let through by officers and Councillors in clear contravention of the Local Plan. The lack of a full-time cycling officer makes this situation even worse. What are your main concerns about the planning system, and how would you seek to make improvements?
Sadly fixing our planning system (which is absurdly uneven, slow, expensive, and inaccessible) is beyond the powers of a councillor - but putting cycle friendliness at the core of what officers are expected to do IS within that remit. I agree that there needs to be a full time cycling officer at the City Council, although planning is only part of that job. And I think its a nonsense that this stuff is left to Camcycle to do - you guys do a good job of this despite opposition from councillors (and it IS opposition - look at how Councillor Sarris acted, his criticism of the campaign was disgusting). So, I'd be looking to give cycle accessibility and appropriateness equal weighting with car access. If it ain't good enough to ride to, you can't build it - just like we currently have for car access. 
Protected junctions where walking and cycling traffic are fully separated from motorised traffic have been proposed by Cambridge Cycling Campaign for junctions being rebuilt by the Milton and Histon Road GCP projects. Which junctions do you think would benefit from similar safety improvements within the Cambridge area?
I think you've called it pretty well with what you want on Milton Road. There's a fight to be fought still there - and I think that the trees issue hasn't yet gone away there. I'd dump the bus lane in favour of a tidal route, I'd have a single row of truly interesting trees rather than two narrow verges of crap ones. Likewise Histon Road needs full segregation, but I'm not sure about how I'd design that yet.

Other junctions needing safety improvements - well, lots of them, but there's not a one size fits all answer. For example, Mitchams Corner needs taming, as does the min-roundabout at the end of Lensfield Road (one of the worst in Britain for cyclist safety!) but they're very different and need different approaches. I'd start with listing those with the lowest cycling rates and the highest rate of cyclist injury and work from there - low rate of cycling here means people are scared off the road, high rate of injury is a self explanatory problem.
 What will you do about pavement parking in King's Hedges, for example, on the roads off Northfield Avenue?
Two problems here, road and verge parking. Verge parking is easy - we already have a bye-law where its illegal if you put a sign up. So put the signs up. 

Pavement parking is beyond the jurisdiction of City councillors - you can pester the police at area committees to treat it as a priority but we all know that means the expenditure of around 2-3 hours of police work on that priority over the course of a year, and that the exercise is police PR achieving nothing of any value. The County can police pavement parking but they're never going to - there are no votes in in for Tory county councillors  helping our residents in the LibDem/Labour City. Parking enforcement powers can only be used if the City gets control of them from the County - so thats where we should start. The alternative - street by street TRO's with consultations for each one, will take forever. My rule would be if you can't push a double buggy past, the pavement is blocked, you get a ticket.
How would you improve permeability and accessibility for walking and cycling through King’s Hedges, especially with regard to the inaccessible barriers that block access to larger cycles such as tricycles, cargo cycles and adapted cycles for disability?
Dig up the barriers. If you can't get a bike through with a trailer its not a bike route. I don't see why this is even questioned. There are still too many left. Actually Kings Hedges is really pretty permeable for cycling already, if you know your routes. Problem is they're badly signposted - but when you know your way through the estate its pretty good. I'd label those routes better both on official maps and on signposts. I'd also look to improve routes such as the back way into the Science Park (which is dreadful, that chicane is truly a thing of evil) and the through-route to the Science Park along Roxburgh Road connecting to Arbury Road via. Nicholson Way could be massively better.

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