Highways improvements: clean sweep for Queen Edith’s

Eight out of eight bids for highways improvements in Queen Edith’s have made it to the list of funded projects for the coming year – including one which made the top ten for the whole city.

I have been working with local residents to get funding for various small highways schemes, under the County Council’s Local Highways Initiative, which funds schemes up to £10,000. We had to submit the bids last autumn and they were scored by a panel of councillors in January.

A bid for mobile speed signs in Queen Edith’s Way was the top-scoring bid in our area. Many thanks to QEW resident Ken Hart, who put the bid together, and addressed councillors on the day. Speeding is a continual cause of concern in Queen Edith’s Way, especially at the Hills Road end.

The other bids were for parking restrictions, to address concerns raised by residents in many streets:

Cars on the grass

  •  Topcliffe Way, where vehicles park on the grassed island
  • Godwin Way, where vehicles park on the grass outside the school and too close to the junction with Wulfstan Way
  • Netherhall Way and Chalk Grove, to tackle double parking and junction parking
  • Cavendish Avenue, to tackle double parking and junction parking
  • Beaumont Road to tackle junction parking
  • Lichfield Road– submitted by Coleridge ward councillors

Many thanks to all the residents who provided evidence for the bids, especially those who attended and spoke at the council meeting.

Hills Road cycleway: how’s it been for you?

The first phase of the County Council’s new cycleway on Hills Road has had a big impact.

The County tells us it has increased cycling numbers since 2013, and it certainly makes for a smoother ride, especially on the southbound side of the road. It’s changed the landscape of Hills Road.  And it’s given us new bus stops.

October 2015 – Week 37, scheduled completion date!

BUT: the cycleway has generated hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls, due not just to the new road layout but to the sheer length of time it’s taken – or more correctly it is taking.  Two years on, it is still not completely finished, with the pink tarmac petering out at Holbrook Road, and a sedum strip that patently has not flourished. Residents have told me of many other examples of unfinished work.

Traffic management during construction was poor, ironically often putting cyclists and pedestrians at risk.

Was it worth it?

After a lot of effort, we have 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. Although the next stretch of Hills Road going up to Addenbrooke’s is already scheduled, we have asked that the findings of the review be incorporated  during the works as they emerge. They will also inform future projects.

I am on a working party which will be looking at different types of evidence including the user experience, travel statistics and accident records. We would like to invite you to take part in an online survey and we are looking for views from all road users — that includes the experience of residents.

We want to know about your experience of the cycleway if you use it as a cyclist, and also about its impact on you if you don’t cycle, ie if you walk, take the bus, or drive.

Here is a link to the survey: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/hillsroadcycleway/

Hills Road closure: seven questions

County Council officers claim there are ‘many good reasons’ why they need to close Hills Road to enable construction of new cycleways. It is set to be a 24-7 closure, starting in May and lasting for five months. I can see many reasons why this is a bad idea and have grave concerns about access to the hospital (especially the Rosie Maternity Hospital and A&E), the impact on students sitting exams, and the knock-on effect on smaller, neighbouring roads. I have put seven questions to the County Council:

1. What studies have been done of the impact on neighbouring roads?

2. What contact has there been with schools and colleges in the area, and what has their response been?

3. What has the response been from Addenbrooke’s A&E Department, the Rosie Maternity Hospital and the ambulance service?

4. As the closure is proposed to begin in May, what contact has there been with the City Council elections department as to how this might affect people going to vote in local elections?

5. What assessment was done of alternative options such as a non-peak closure?

6. What arrangements are proposed for non-vehicular traffic?

7. How will residents access their homes?

I await their response. Meanwhile, if you have additional questions, please keep them coming.

Also, visit the exhibition on Thursday where the plans will be on display:

Thursday 26th January 17.30 – 19.30 St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road.

Hills Road Cycleway Phase II

The second phase of the Hills Road cycleway is scheduled to start in February.
It is being managed by the Greater Cambridge City Deal. They are putting on two public events to show the route maps; project officers will be there to talk to people about the road layout near their homes.

Here are the dates:
Tuesday 17th January 12.00 – 14.00 Addenbrooke’s Concourse
Thursday 26th January 17.30 – 19.30 St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road.

The project is likely to last for several months and have a major impact on travel patterns, so do go along to see what is in store for us. We hope that Phase II will be better managed than Phase 1, which has taken over two years and still has unfinished elements. That scheme is to be reviewed this year and findings will be fed into the management of this and other future projects.

A bicycle lane needs a coach like a coach needs a loading ban

Safety v convenience. What do you think?

Total disregard for safety

Van outside the EF — Sam Davies

The new cycleways on Hills Road are frequently blocked by coaches, delivery vehicles, and even council contractors working on the cycleway. While the vehicles are usually not there for long, accidents also happen in a flash.

The County Council is proposing to introduce a loading ban, which would prohibit any parking, even for loading and offloading, at peak times – 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. There would be waivers for removal vans, wedding and funeral vehicles, but not for other vehicles such as supermarket delivery vans.

The County Council has advertised the Traffic Regulation Order in the Cambridge News and with notices in the street attached to lampposts. The deadline for objections has been extended to 19th April.

View the details Hills Rd loading ban TRO v2

Send any objections, giving your reasons, to the County Council using the details in the pdf. It is great to have your questions and comments here, but please respond to the TRO to make them count.

Residents’ parking – make your mind up time for Queen Edith’s

Marshall RoadLast year, I ran an informal survey on parking in the north-west corner of Queen Edith’s — the streets opposite the colleges on Hills Road. Residents there experience heavy commuter parking from the sixth form college as well as Addenbroooke’s, Cambridge Leisure and other businesses. Many houses in the streets there do not have their own drives, so residents struggle to park their own cars in the locality.

My survey resulted in a 2-1 majority in favour of parking controls, including residents’ parking. It has taken much longer to move things on than I would have liked, but  Cambridgeshire County Council will be asking residents if they want a residents’ parking scheme. This will take the form of an official consultation; if there is a majority in favour, the Council will launch the statutory process.

Morley area

Morley area

The streets included will be: Elsworth Place, Rathmore Road, Hartington Grove, Rock Road, Blinco Grove and Magnolia Close, Marshall Road, and the sections of Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road which adjoin these streets.

Residents will very soon be receiving a mailing from Cambridgeshire County Council outlining the proposals. This will include a map showing the proposals, and there will also be information on display at Rock Road Library. You can respond either using the form provided, or on line.

For information on residents’ parking in Cambridge, see http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2016/10/28/residents-parking-frequently-asked-questions/.

Hills Road cycleway this weekend

Red tarmac going down

Red tarmac going down

Hills Road cycleway update: The County Council have advised me that their contractors will be laying down the final stretch of tarmac on the new cycleway Hills Road this Sunday — between Glebe Road and the end of the cycleway near Queen Edith’s Way and Long Road.

A reminder that there is still time to comment on the proposals for cycleways on Queen Edith’s Way and for the Fendon Road roundabout – until 1st August.

Hills Road parking progress

COMMUTER PARKING in Hills Road near the colleges is just as bad as ever, especially acute when it’s raining cats and dogs like it was yesterday – as fair-weather cyclists/pedestrians / bus users) take to their cars. But take courage: work on parking restrictions has been going on behind the scenes. Here is an update.

Following my survey to gauge support for parking controls and the meeting at St John’s Church, a small parking group has launched to co-ordinate ideas and concerns. This is really helpful for the council officers working on the project and for councillors as it means means information can be shared easily.

Steve, a long-term resident and member of the group, accompanied me to a meeting at Shire Hall yesterday with the County Council’s Parking Manager. We looked at preliminary drawings for a residents’ parking scheme.

The parking restrictions will include a mixture of yellow lines, residents’ bays, and short-stay bays for visitors to the shops, churches and libraries. Existing H-markings (white lines marking private drives) would stay. The area that the Council proposes for the scheme is from Elsworth Place to Blinco Grove and the sections of Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road that run between them.

One of the challenges for a parking scheme is that Marshall Road is very narrow. At present cars park on the pavement and people walk in the road, which is clearly harzardous, especially for children and people with disabilities. New national legislation to ban pavement parking is anticipated, so the County Council will not introduce any new parking schemes that allow it. So the proposals for Marshall Road would have a narrower carriageway and staggered double yellow lines. This will mean fewer spaces overall – however, if the law changes, the parking spaces will be reduced whether or not there is a residents’ parking scheme.

We also discussed charges for residents’ and visitors’ permits. At present the residents’ charges range from £52 to £84, but they are under review.. There are details of current schemes and what they cost at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20018/parking_permits_and_fines/9/parking/2. Of course, if you have your own drive, or have no car and do not need a resident’s pass, there is no need to pay anything.

The Council hopes to ballot residents on a residents’ parking scheme within the next month. There will be one vote per property and three options: Yes, No and No opinion. If Yes gets a majority, then the Council will carry out statutory consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders (adverts in the paper and on the street), with any objections being determined by the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC) in the autumn.

Boundary review

TQEThe Boundary Commission is re-consulting yet again on its new county council division boundaries, following complaints about the last, rather rushed, phase of consultation.

You can see their recommendations on the Boundary Commission website at: http://www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/eastern/cambridgeshire/cambridgeshire-county-council.

The number of divisions (voting areas) is going down by roughly 10%. Cambridge will in future have only 12 councillors representing it on the County Council instead of 14, as at present.

The big difference for us is that Queen Edith’s no longer appears on the map as a separate division, but would be merged with Trumpington to create a huge double division running from the Cherry Hinton chalk pits up to the M11, projected to contain over 16,000 people by 2020. It would be represented by two county councillors.

As your county councillor, I want Queen Edith’s to stay as a division on its own, as we are very different from Trumpington and the two areas have different priorities and needs. We have suggested that the Boundary Commission should keep the two divisions distinct by drawing a dividing line down Hills Road, where it sat before the last review.

Please have a look and let the Commission know what you think. The last (hopefully!) consultation phase is open until 20th June.

The types of questions the Commission is asking at this stage are:

a.    Do the proposed electoral divisions reflect local communities?

b.    How do you think the proposals can be improved whilst maintaining electoral equality?

c.    Are the names of the proposed divisions right?

To comment:

Write on the Boundary Commission’s website: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/4143

email [email protected]

or write to:

The Review Officer (Cambridgeshire), LGBCE, 14th Floor Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP
 
 Amanda’s LGBCE submission 0516
Please write before 20th June.

All aboard the Abbey-Addenbrooke’s Express!

115 busGood news! We’re getting a new bus service. Starting next month, the new 115 service, run by Whippet, will run hourly between the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The bus will stop at both Long Road and Hills Road sixth form colleges, St Bede’s and the Perse. In the other direction, it drops you off at shopping and leisure destinations such as Sainsbury’s, Mill Road, the Abbey Pool and the Cambridge United football ground.

The new service is a trial, funded by Section 106 developer contributions and will be made permanent if there is good take-up – so if you enjoy shopping, swimming or soccer, take a ride on the 115. Its first journey will be on Tuesday 3rd May.

Here’s a timetable and a handy map showing the route