Liberal Democrats propose 1,000 new cycle parking spaces

One challenge faced both by Cambridge cyclists and motorists is finding somewhere to park in central Cambridge. The lack of places to lock a bike up securely in town is one of the key factors in the high level of bike theft in Cambridge, so I am pleased that the Lib Dems on the Council are proposing an extra 1,000 more spaces.

The proposal is to spend half a million pounds on parking for up to 1,000 bikes in on-street or ‘just off’ street locations, and to identify places for a third new cycle park like the one in the Grand Arcade, which is wonderful – but often full up.

As Cllr Tim Ward, the councillor with responsibility for environmental matters, says, more cycle parking will benefit pedestrians as well as cyclists, reducing the number of bikes parked in the street, often getting in people’s way.

If approved, the project will be funded by housebuilders.

South Area councillors support cycling schemes

A bunch of simple line bikes. Image: Bianchessi

Transport was on the agenda again at this week’s South Area Committee meeting – councillors were receiving a report on transport projects from the County Council. Highways officers had assessed projects proposed by local people last March, and assigned them scores.

My Light the Cycleway proposal, to light the bridleway running alongside the Guided Busway, was given the top score, and another local project, improving the cycleways on Long Road, were given two of the top scores, and were well supported by councillors. I went along to speak, as did Sam Davies, who has spearheaded the Long Road campaign. Read about it in the Cambridge News.

County gives top billing to Light The Cycleway and Long Road improvement proposals

It was a pleasant surprise to come back from holiday to see that the County Council has given top billing to my proposal for lighting the Guided Bus cycleway in a report going to Cambridge councillors tomorrow night (Wednesday 5th Sept).

This year I have been leading a campaign calling for better lighting along the city stretch of the Guided Busway bridleway, following a spate of accidents.

Cyclists have been injured while riding there, and others, especially women and older people, fear for their personal safety on dark stretches of the path.

Together with Trumpington councillor Caroline Shepherd, I launched a petition asking Cambridgeshire County Council to install lighting along the cycle path in Queen Edith’s and Trumpington.

The petition was supported by many working people and had the support of trade union UNITE. It garnered 230 signatures and I presented it to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22nd May. You can read an account of that here.

The cycleway is a fantastic facility for cyclists and pedestrians; it is well used, but the lack of lighting on most of the route poses a serious safety risk, especially as the days get shorter and it becomes dark both in the mornings and evenings.

Lighting this track provides an opportunity to make a good thing even better, and I am delighted that the County Council has put this project top of its list on value for money. I look forward to seeing progress.

Another scheme with very high scoring is a plan to remodel the Long Road cycleways by widening and resurfacing the existing shared us, to improve access for the thousands of people who walk or bike down Long Road en route to school or college as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The case for this was eloquently presented to the South Area meeting by Hills Road resident Sam Davies.

The funding for transport schemes is to come from developer contributions as part of their planning obligations. You can see the report and a list of all the projects under consideration here.

If you would like to lobby for any of the schemes being considered, contact your local councillors.

Trying out the new cycle racks at Cambridge Station

Cycle parking at Cambridge train station has been a bone of contention amongst cyclists for many years. There are not enough spaces for the bikes available, a problem caused partly by the fact some bikes are left behind by their owners when they leave Cambridge, and never collected. Because the parking is cramped, it’s also easy for bikes to get damaged by others. Finding your bike at night if you get home late is an interesting challenge!

So it’s good news that the train operator Greater Anglia has got together with Cambridgeshire County Council to instal some new racks.

To get the best use from the space, they are double-decker, and the train company and council are looking for opinions of how easy they are to use. There are a number of different designs, and your views could inform future cycle provision at the station and further afield. To comment on the new rack, log on to www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cycling.

I first visited on Wednesday evening. As my bike is too heavy to lift above shoulder height, I used one of the ground floor racks (Type 4) – easy to attach a D-lock to, and the bike stood up well. The higher racks were reasonably full too , so I guess they would be fine for those with longer arms and legs!

Today, there was a special event at the station – at the request of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. I visited with Jean Swanson, and we bumped into Philip Tucker, a Lib Dem councillor in Castle Ward, who helpfully put my bike on one of the ‘upstairs’ racks.

Great to be able to park in a decent rack for once – a big improvement that’s been needed for a long time.

Cycling blackspots: government announces funding to fix jeopardous junctions

Personal injury lawyers Levenes published a Top Ten Cycling Blackspots for Cambridge earlier this year. Two are in Queen Ediths – see their interactive map.

The Queen Edith’s Way/Fendon Road junction near Addenbrooke’s has the second worst accident record in the city – 34 crashes between 2005 and 2010;  the Hills/Cherry Hinton Road junction had 23. Work has been done on the Hills Road bridge, but the Cherry Hinton Road turn into Hills Road is still the most unnerving manoeuvre of my daily commute. Addenbrooke’s is generally difficult on a bike – or, for that matter, on foot.

In Queen Edith’s as a whole there were 13 accidents involving cyclists that caused serious injuries.

With this in mind, I very much welcome the announcement by Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker that £15 million is to be assigned to safety improvements at dangerous junctions for cyclists. It is not enough money of course – but it is a good start. There should be enough to do about 75 junctions.

Local authorities will be bidding for the fund. I would encourage you to write to the Transportation Department at Cambridgeshire County Council to support funding for the junctions that you consider dangerous, explaining why. As Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, a great cycling advocate, has said, “In order to promote cycling we have to make it safer, and that requires investment in infrastructure.”

Bring it on.

Amanda Taylor: Your Liberal Democrat candidate in Queen Edith’s

Amanda standing for re-election

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Amanda Taylor is standing for re-election in Queen Edith’s. Amanda has been in Queen Edith’s for nearly twenty years and represented the area on Cambridge City Council since 1994. She lives in Holbrook Road with her husband Ashley, and their eight-year old son, a Morley Memorial pupil.

Amanda is best known for her work on transport and housing. Her biggest achievements have been Dunstan Court on Wulfstan Way, which replaced Labour’s sub-standard sheltered housing accommodation; and improved bus services, following her campaign for improved reliability. ‘When I first came to live here,’ says Amanda, ‘there were just two buses an hour into town from Hills Road – and they didn’t always come on time. Now there are over twenty buses an hour, and bus usage has increased dramatically.’

More recent successes for Amanda and the Lib Dem Focus Team include revamped play facilities at Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground and new lighting and paving outside the shops on Wulfstan Way. They have also got the police to monitor parking outside schools.

Amanda is currently campaigning for improvements to cycleways in the area, for example lighting the Guided Bus cycleway, and for road safety improvements, eg yellow lines on junctions near the Queen Edith’s Primary School.

She is an active member of the Friends of Rock Road Library, which started as a gardening group and then took on a campaigning role in the fight to prevent the Conservative County Council from closing the library down.

In our wider community, Amanda chairs the Council’s South Area Committee, is a member of St John’s Church on Hills Road, and is a member of the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group.

Amanda and Lib Dem team visit residents in Queen Edith’s all through the year, not just at election time. When there are issues in a particular street, we always try to listen to the concerns of residents. At election time we try to call on as many households as we can, and we look forward to speaking to you soon, if we haven’t already! The BBC came to see us in action on Tuesday: see here.

Please see the link on the left for this year’s Liberal Democrat election manifesto for Cambridge.