Today I presented the petition for lighting the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway to the Conservative Cabinet of Cambridgeshire County Council. It closed on just over 230 signatures, 150 on line and 80+ on paper. A great show of support.
The petition’s main focus was on low-level lighting for safety reasons, but it included requests for signs and a dividing line.
I proposed these things should be funded by ‘developer contributions’, money for transport projects, contributed by developers as part of their planning obligations.
Here is the text of my speech:
Good things come in threes. The petition calls for three things: lighting, signage, and a division line
I’ve come to Cabinet as I know you will be deciding on Section 106 transport projects. I know you’re looking at one improvement to the cycleway, a link to the Hills Road bridge. Here are some more!
The cycleway is a fantastic facility: it’s faster than the road, it’s car-free … and it smells better too!
It offers a great chance for modal shift. But it is not reaching its full potential: it is not lit
It goes without saying that cyclists should have their own lights, but you need external lights to see where you’re going – just as on the road. Pedestrians use it too – and they certainly don’t walk round with lights on.
People brought this up with me because of actual accidents.
Several people have bumped into bollards in the dark: One colleague of mine sprained a wrist, another person fell off the track into the ditch
The other very real concern is personal safety. Many people won’t use it early in the morning or after dark – in winter it is dark at 4.30 in the afternoon
That’s not just because of the risk of injury – but the fear of personal assault. You cannot spot a potential assailant if you cannot see ahead. And much of the cycleway is enclosed so there is no escape route. The concern has been voiced particularly by women, mostly young women.
Lighting would increase the usefulness of the cycleway by making it safe, all day long and all year round.
I am aware of concerns about light pollution but some cycleways in Cambridgeshire have used low level lighting such as solar studs – less invasive … and less expensive.
I hope you will consider lighting and signing the GB cycleway as a good use of the Section 106 money in the ‘Southern Corridor’. There is plenty of public support: the petition has 150 signatures on your website, 83 more on paper
One thing we can all agree on is that the cycleway is a Good Thing. I hope you will support the feeling behind the petition as a way of making a good thing even better.
The petition was courteously received by the Cabinet – at least it seemed courteous compared to the way the opposition behaves at the City Council. The councillors asked a few questions to confirm that we were not seeking lighting along the entire length of the busway and that we were not looking at tall bright lights.
We await a written response, and it will be interesting to see the criteria for choosing transport projects for the developer funding. £4.2 million pounds is a lot of money, and I am keen to see it spent to good effect.