Highways improvements

zebraDo you have a suggestion for improving our roads and pavements, such as traffic calming, a zebra crossing or parking restrictions?

Cambridgeshire County Council operates a Local Highway Improvement (LHI) programme that funds small schemes costing up to £10,000. It is a competitive process and bids are scored by councillors, but some bids for funding from this area have been awarded funding, even though we have yet to see the results.

The application form has recently been updated and is now online at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/lhi. You can download a guidance document with examples of what has been funded in the past.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 30th November 2016. If you have a suggestion you would like to discuss, please get in touch with me, or contact the County Council direct by emailing [email protected]

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.

 

What would be your top three choices for new mobility crossings?

18 years of dropped kerbs!

Could I have a dropped kerb on Blinco Grove, please?

That was the very first thing I was asked to do as a new councillor back in 1994 when I was first elected. The request came from a lady who used a wheelchair and needed a dropped kerb near her home, (‘mobility crossing’) in order to cross the road. I am sorry to say that I had a forest of bureaucracy to fight through before we got the dropped kerb. Nevertheless, it is a request that comes up time and time again.

I was pleased to help, but it was only when I tried to cross East Road wheeling a friend’s toddler in a pushchair that it really came home to me how difficult it is to do a simple thing like crossing the road if the varying levels of kerb and road mean your wheels don’t work. At the time, I drew a deep breath and heaved up the pushchair  – and thought about how much harder this would be for someone in a wheelchair.

Over the years I’ve been a councillor there have been many new dropped kerbs in Queen Edith’s. Although the public highways are really the responsibility of the County Council, the City Council has funded many dropped kerbs through its environmental improvements programmes. I think the most recent one round here is on Hills Road, to allow easier access from the hospital to Nightingale Avenue.

If you have ideas for new ones in the south of the city, please tell me or one of the other councillors. as there is a possibility we may have funding for a few new ones.