Rural county councillors combine to block Busway lights

It is frustrating to report that the County Council’s Economy & Environment Committee refused last week to approve extra funding required for lights on the Guided Busway bridleway, instead voting to defer the decision until the committee’s next meeting (September). Even if the lighting gets the OK then, the delay will mean the lights cannot be installed until December – meaning yet another dark winter for people using the path and cycleway.

The vote was 9 for deferral, 7 against, the votes to defer coming from UKIP, Independent and all but two of the Tory councillors. The chair abstained.

The reasons given betrayed a total lack of understanding on the part of several councillors of how Section 106 transport funding works and in particular, the need to demonstrate that a scheme mitigates the transport impact of a development. See previous post.

But several councillors took a rather ‘dog in the manger’ attitude, arguing that because streetlights are being removed in their villages, cyclists in Cambridge should not have lights.

The most ridiculous comment came from Wisbech councillor Cllr Alan Lay (UKIP), who declared that he had experienced the blackout during the Second World Way, and couldn’t see what cyclists and pedestrians were making ‘such a fuss about’.

The fight continues. If you support the campaign and know people who live in other parts of the county and who have Conservative/ UKIP/ Independent councillors, I would urge you to write to them.

£200,000 for Queen Edith’s transport projects

Amanda on the cycleway underneath Hills Road Bridge

Amanda on the cycleway underneath Hills Road Bridge

Today, Cambridgeshire County Council gave the green light to two local transport campaigns:

Both campaigns were initiated by local people who wanted to improve conditions for cycling and walking:

My own Light the Cycleway petition asked for lighting on the bridleway that runs alongside the Guided Busway, to make it safe to use at all hours. At present it is pitch black both in the mornings and evenings, and there have been several accidents, including falls, bumps and serious injuries such as a sprained wrist and smashed teeth. There is also the personal safety issue for women – something that has been raised with county council transport officers.

Together with Trumpington councillors Caroline Shepherd and Andy Blackhurst as well as the support of my trade union UNITE, I launched a Light the Cycleway! petition asking Cambridgeshire County Council to install lighting along the cycle path in Queen Edith’s and Trumpington. The petition garnered 230 signatures and I presented it to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22nd May.

(more…)

Cycling projects: time for the County Council to decide

Cyclists, hold your breath.

Two big cycling improvement projects are being recommended to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet next week:

And campaigners, take heart.

Both schemes are the direct result of people campaiging for the improvements they believed were needed:

(more…)

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.

Light the cycleway! 230-name petition presented to Shire Hall Conservatives

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:

(more…)

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.

The Guided Bus: the latest bus ever and the highest fare?

Guided Bus

Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that the long-awaited Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will finally open on 7th August.Better late than never. It is incredible that the project has overrun by two years. It is the longest busway in the world in more ways than one.

And we are appalled that the cost looks likely to go up to £187 million, with local people left to pay for £71 million of this. So much for the Conservatives’ promise at the beginning of the project that ‘not one penny” of taxpayers’ money would be needed to pay for the busway’. The Guided Bus will link the north of Cambridgeshire with the Cambridge Science Park, Addenbrooke’s and Cambridge railway station, so we hope that it will relieve traffic congestion not only in this area, but on the A14. Here is a plan of the route.

The Guided Bus timetables can be viewed the County Council website: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/around/thebusway/timetables/.