It’s not just the clocks you need to check on Sunday

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This is just a quick reminder that this Sunday, 25th March, The UK will switch to British Summer Time at 1am on Sunday morning, meaning people will effectively lose an hour’s sleep. 

The change will mean there is more daylight in the evenings but less in the mornings.

Most electronic devices these days will change the time for you, so you’ve no need to worry but I want to make sure residents do not miss that extra hour.

When changing your clocks manually, it is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarm.

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your loved ones’ lives as well as your own.

Smoke alarms provide the best early warning system in the event of a fire by combining smoke detection and alarm sounding in one unit.

For further information on these lifesaving devices go here.

Hills Road cycleway: lessons to be learnt

Live on Hills Road? Travel along it?

Then you will know it’s been a rough ride since council contractors arrived at the beginning of January 2015 to replace our cycleway.

There has been deep dissatisfaction over the length of time this project has taken, as well as about working practices – and ironically, about the reduced road safety during construction.

With other Lib Dem councillors, I persuaded the County Council to undertake a review of the cycleway so that lessons can be learnt about what went well and what didn’t go so well, and applied in future projects.

Nearly 600 people participated in our survey on the quality of the cycleway and its construction. While cycling levels have gone up and cyclists say they feel safe on the cycleway, it’s not such a good story when it comes to the safety of pedestrians. We have had reports of  collisions at bus stops and delays for emergency vehicles. The project management came in for heavy criticism, with 45% of respondents describing the efficiency of the construction process as poor, inadequate, or very poor.

There were over 500 individual comments Hills Road survey Q10  (Additional comments), including 200 on road safety Hills Road survey Q7.2. We will be pushing to make sure that all of them are taken on board.

The survey results will be considered at the August meeting of the Council’s Economy & Environment Committee. Here is a link to the report.

Council road closure delayed

The road closure at Addenbrooke’s, due to begin today, has now been delayed until next Monday, 19th June. The City Deal has put the date back because there are extra underground utilities cables that need to be moved.

The road closure is to facilitate the construction of the next phase of the new cycleway on Hills Road and will involve the closure of the road between Long Road and the Addenbrooke’s roundabout to outbound traffic for approximately 14 weeks . There will be a diversion via Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road – see the plan on my previous post. The citybound lane will still be open to traffic.

The City Deal assure us that they will still meet the finish date of early September.

Cross city cycling*

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has launched a consultation on five schemes designed to improve safety for people walking or cycling across Cambridge.

Accident clustersThe one that is of greatest relevance to us in Queen Edith’s focuses on the Long Road-Queen Edith’s Way- Hills Road junction, a key route for schools, sixth form colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It’s a difficult junction to negotiate by bike or on foot, with fast-moving traffic coming from all directions and it’s a known accident cluster, as shown on the County Council’s map. I have lost count of the times people have said the latest new cycle lane being built on Hills Road should have started at this junction, rather than just after it.

It’s an expensive project, and the money on the table is from the City Deal, a government-funded infrastructure programme granted by Nick Clegg when Deputy Prime Minister during the coalition government.

Exhibitions

There is a programme of exhibitions showing the proposals, and two are in our area: Addenbrooke’s on 18th January, and St John’s Church on 3rd February. Alternatively, you can see plans and comment on line, on the City Deal website. The consultation is open until 15th February.

* Not, as it looks, a description of the city or the cyclists – better with a hyphen, I think!

Reprieve for mobile libraries and roads maintenance

Cambridgeshire Lib Dem councillors are relieved that the County Council (Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee has had a change of heart on the axing of the mobile library service and cuts to highways maintenance (eg potholes) and will no longer recommend these cuts to the Council’s General Purposes Committee.

We were appalled that the Council was even considering ending the mobile library service. Sometimes the mobile library is the only contact people in rural areas have with the councils. Time and time again when I spent a day on the van, borrowers described it as ‘a lifeline’.

Potholes and cracked pavements are amongst the most frequent complaints that councillors receive. They make life so difficult for people tryjng to get about, whether by car, on foot or on a bike. Poor surfaces are particularly dangerous for older people, sometimes resulting in broken bones and hospitalisation. Cutting this budget would have been not only a false economy but a slap in the face for the people of Cambridgeshire, so I’m pleased that the committee saw sense and decided to maintain funding for this core service.

But we were disappointed that Conservative councillors voted to endorse:

stopping school crossing patrols
turning lights off at night
cutting grants to agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau — when the need for help with money and benefits grows ever more acute.

We were sorry that Labour councillors sat on their hands for the votes on the streetlighting switch-off, mobile libraries and the CAB grant. What was the point of their being at the meeting if they do not vote?
These cuts will be included in the budget recommendations to the Council’s General Purposes Committee, which meets later this month. You can help defend these services by writing to your county councillor.

 

Hills Road cycle lanes: Frequently Asked Questions

Hills Road cycle lanesCambridgeshire County Council’s new cycle lanes on Hills Road have generated a record number of questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common ones:

Q: Why is Cambridgeshire County Council doing this?

A: The County wishes to enhance cycleways in order to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population, which will result in more traffic. The County would like to keep the extra motorised traffic to a minimum and encourage other modes of transport. Similar schemes have substantially increased cycling in other areas, particularly amongst children.

Q: How is it being funded?

A: Through central government’s Cycle City Ambition Fund.

Q: Who approved it?

A: County Council Highways officers identified Hills and Huntingdon Roads as main routes into Cambridge that would benefit from enhancement. The scheme was first presented to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee in May 2014. Councillors deferred it as they were unhappy with elements of the scheme including the floating bus stops, and changes were made. It was passed in July 2014 at the second time of asking, with an undertaking to conduct traffic surveys before and after implementation, an amendment I requested, in order to assess the level of rat-running as a result of the narrower road carriageway. One survey was done last year and another will be done after completion.

Q: Will any trees be felled?
A: The County Council has stated categorically that no trees will be felled. Some pruning of vegetation that encroaches onto the public highway may be necessary.

Q: Will new rubbish bins be provided at bus stops?
A: Providing litter bins is a City Council responsibility. The County Project Team is discussing with City Council about replacement of old bins with new ones and other locations where a new bin may be desirable.

IMAG1839Q: How will works across junction mouths be organised?
A: Junctions are being closed off at weekends to allow works to be safely and quickly undertaken. Letterdrops to residents and advanced warning notices inform those affected at least one week in advance.

Q: How will work on junction mouths of cul de sacs be organised?
A: Junction works to be constructed one half at a time with access maintained into/out of the cul de sac.

Q: Could the concrete layby near Glebe Road be used as a bus stop?
A: This layby is halfway between two other bus stops so if a bus stop went there, the other two stops would be removed, meaning bus users would have a long walk to the next stop.

Q: What consultation took place before this scheme was agreed?
A: The proposals were advertised in FOCUS, as well as via a streetletter from myself to all residents in Hills Road and several of the side roads. The County Council delivered leaflets with feedback forms to a wide local area and held local staffed events in March 2014. Drawings and information on the proposed scheme were put on the County Council website, together with contact details.  The Team also had information stalls at Hills Road VI Form College, Long Road VI Form College and at an Addenbrooke’s Sustainability Event.

In November 2014 the County Cycling Team wrote again to residents inviting them to a pre-construction event at Rock Road Library — an opportunity to find out about boundary issues, construction sequence etc.  This event was well attended by residents of Hills Road. The letter included details of where the final drawings could be seen on the website and asked residents to provide email addresses if they wanted updates on the scheme.

Q: What will happen when there are weddings and funerals at the church? What about hearses and wedding cars?
A: The Cycling Team has been liaising with St John’s Church. During construction, the cycleway works will be left in an appropriate state to accommodate wedding cars and hearses. After completion, wedding cars and hearses will be able to park for the duration of services, as the new cycle lanes are not ‘mandatory’ and there are no loading restrictions attached to the double yellow lines.

Q: Is the width of the carriageway being reduced?
A: Yes, the carriageway width is being reduced, to 6m.

Q: Will there be a loss of grass verges?
A: The roadside verges next to the road will go, but there is a half metre sedum strip between the cycleway and the footway on both sides of the road.

On the outbound side of Hills Road, the verges next to the houses will be largely the same except where space is needed for the floating bus stops.   On the citybound side (the side with the current shared-use cycle/footway) the verges next to the houses are increasing.

Here is a link to the drawings showing details:
On the west side of Hills Road (S to N), from No. 284 to 256, and from 248 to 228, a 800 or 900mm wide strip of footway will be turned into new verge. From No. 226 to Homerton College this strip widens to between 1.4 and 1.6m and then it is about 2.5m wide running past Homerton College. On the east side (S to N),  there are no significant areas of new verge until you get to the block north of Glebe Road, No.s 253 to 247 have 1.2m wide new verges. Re. the loss of those verges on the residence side of the footway, the only real areas where there is loss of verge is near the floating bus stops (and to some extent near crossings) but this does vary depending on the location.

Q: Was Cambridge City Council consulted?
A: The City Council is a statutory consultee for every cycling project within Cambridge.   The Project Team was keen to gain the input of City’s Urban Design team on the Huntingdon Road and Hills Road schemes – a meeting with the City’s Head of Urban Design was arranged before the schemes were approved and, in neither case were concerns raised about the proposals.

Q: Are our streetlights being replaced to facilitate the cycleway scheme?
A: No, the streetlighting on Hills Road is not being replaced as a result of the cycleway scheme but as part of the County’s streetlighting replacement programme – as such, the lighting along the whole length of Hills Road is being updated to conform with new British standards.

Q: At present, the pavement cycleway on the northbound side of Hills Road provides a convenient way of turning into Luard Road. Won’t the new arrangement be more dangerous?
A: The main carriageway on Hills Road will be narrowed to 6m, which should reduce traffic speeds. Equally, the speeds of vehicles exiting side roads should be slowed by the tighter turning movements required by the new scheme.

The Road Safety Audit 2 did not raise any issues about the changes to this junction, nor the removal of the shared-use foot/cycleway. The new scheme (unlike the shared-use foot/cycleway) gives cyclists on Hills Road priority through the junction with Luard Road so there should be a reduction in the number of cycle-related accidents at this location. Less confident cyclists on Hills Road may choose to pull in and wait on the left side of the new southbound 2.3m cycle lane before turning right. The County Council will monitor the situation and may consider installing a central island that would offer cyclists some protection whilst waiting to turn right.

Q: How will it be made clear that vehicles cannot drive across or park on the cycleway?

A: Cycle symbols will be added to the cycle lane and double yellow lines will be painted on the main carriageway (next to the outside edge of the cycle lane) to prevent parking in the new lane. This work should be taking place on the northbound side in  November 2015.

Q: How will the construction for the southbound side of Hills Road be handled?

A: The intention is to keep the citybound shared-use path open whilst the outbound works are carried out – to ensure safety for cyclists and pedestrians during the construction phase. The footpath work will be done first, then the cycleway and ‘Cambridge kerb’.

Q: Whom do I contact for more information?
A: If it is an operational matter, contact Grant Weller at Cambridgeshire County Council: [email protected] If your question is about consultation or general principles, contact Mike Davies: [email protected]

MONDAY 5TH OCTOBER: REPORT ON THE PRESENTATION ON CYCLING SCHEMES AT SOUTH AREA MEETING, ST JOHN’S CHURCH, HILLS ROAD.

Cambridge cycle routes

dual useDo you know where you can cycle and not cycle in the city centre?

Many don’t, as the signage is not exactly clear.

Sergeant Ian Wood of Cambridgeshire Police and his colleagues at Cambridgeshire Police are working to make sure more people are aware of which streets are OK to cycle in. He has asked us to share the excellent cycling map produced by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. Useful information for pedestrians and motorists as well as cyclists.

And for those who like lists easier to take in than maps, here is a link to streets where you can cycle and where you can’t: http://www.camcycle.org.uk/resources/citycentre/#signs.

 

Hills Road cycle lanes scheme: view new layout

floatingbusstopTomorrow (Thursday 20th November), Cambridgeshire County Council will be at Rock Road Library, presenting the designs for the new road layout on Hills Road. If you looked at the Council’s original cycle lanes designs you should notice some changes from what the Council proposed earlier this year.

Residents raised a number of concerns with the original scheme, about safety, rat-running and access to properties. Councillors communicated these concerns to the Council and asked County Council Highways officers to do further work to address safety issues. A number of changes were made to the original proposals before the scheme was approved, to address concerns about conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. There are full details on the County Council website but here are the key points: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/hills-road

  • There is now a clearer division between footway, bus stop and cycleway.
  • All the bus stop islands will be at least 2 metres wide and all waiting facilities will be on the island, so passengers won’t have to cross the cycleway as the bus arrives.
  • As the cycle lane approaches the bus stop it will veer left and narrow to 1.5 metres; there will then be a short ramp up to the level pedestrian crossing point, which will have tactile paving and be a different colour to the cycle lane. These differences are to alert cyclists of the need to be mindful of pedestrians.
  • The kerbs will now be sloped to allow cyclists to mount more easily should the need to leave the carriageway arise.
  • Although there will be double yellow lines, there will not be a loading ban to allow commercial vehicles to park briefly.
  • New gullies will be installed and a full CCTV drainage survey carried out to identify any necessary repairs.

There are concerns that if there are additional traffic hold-ups, motorists may evade them by using smaller streets off Hills Road – four of which have schools/ nursery schools. It is hard to predict the effect in advance, but I shall be asking for a traffic survey to be carried out before and after the scheme is input.

3pm-7.30 pm, ROCK ROAD LIBRARY, 20th November.

Police priorities and 20mph

ASPolice priorities for the south of Cambridge will be set next Monday at the South Area meeting, which will take place at Homerton College, starting at 7.30pm.

Following the election of a new chair, there will be an Open Forum, when anyone can speak or ask a question.

After a report on Cherry Hinton High Street comes the police report and priority-setting. Police will report on their activity over the summer and set priorities for the coming three months.

They have been focussing on the supply of Class A drugs and propose to continue with this. There have been reports of illegal drugs dealing and consumption in Hills Road and I would welcome further feedback on this to present at the meeting.bike burglar

The police also propose to prioritise cycle crime and cycling offences, both of which will be welcomed by many people – not necessarily the same people!

There will be further reports on:

  • the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act and its implications for this area
  • Developers’ contributions
  • consultation on the 20mph project

Get fresh with Rock Abundance: coming to Cherry Hinton Road this Friday

ROCK ABUNDANCE: “One person’s glut is another person’s feast”

Were you lucky enough to catch the Transition Cambridge pop-up stall at Rock Road Library last Saturday? I was, and went home happily with some beautiful sweet peas, a little jar of redcurrant jelly, and a prickly cucumber. The idea is that you take along any spare produce from your garden, and swap it for someone else’s superfluity.

This Friday, the group will hold its second ‘Rock Abundance’ stall outside the Blazing Saddles bike shop at 102 Cherry Hinton Road – that’s on the corner of Rock Road, for those who haven’t already discovered this gem of a bike shop.

It’s a brilliant idea: you just take along any home-grown (or foraged) fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs; and you swap them for your neighbours’ goodies. Even if you don’t have anything to take, you can take produce and make a donation. When Rock Abundance took place at the library donations went to the Friends of Rock Road Library for community events; this time they will go to the Homerton Children’s Centre community garden. Any excess food will be distributed to FoodCycle or other local charities.

sweet peasThe stall is just there for an hour, between 5.30 and 6.30pm on Friday – set up an alarm so you don’t miss it!

Further details: www.rockabundance.org.uk (Facebook: /RockAbundance; twitter @RockAbundance) [email protected]; or telephone Rebecca Jones, volunteer and first co-ordinator: 07792 531 400.