Should streetlights be switched off? and other hard questions

The County Council is at last consulting on its plan to switch off streetlights between midnight and 6am. Please take part in the Cambridgeshire Streetlight Consultation, running till 11th December.

This cut has generated a lot of concern especially in areas where people are around in the small hours, or the early morning. But it is just one of many proposed cuts that leave a bad taste in the mouth – other economies are to end mobile library services, stop community transport and school buses, slash the budget for roads maintenance, and reduce the funding for children’s centres and adult social care.

The cut is in response to the deep budget deficit that the County Council is grappling with this year, thanks to a poisonous cocktail of the government withdrawing funding and the population soaring.  To see the streetlighting proposals in context, you may wish to look at the wider budget consultation, Cambridgeshire’s £100 million budget challenge.

Hills Road cycle lanes: good news and bad news

Cycle lanes Sept 15_1809THE GOOD NEWS
The north-bound cycleway on Hills Road is now continuous, running from just past Long Road to just before Purbeck Road. It is good for cyclists to be able to ride continuously, and for pedestrians to have their pavement space back.

THE BAD NEWS
The south-bound cycleway works have not yet started. That side of the road has several junctions and lots of services cables and pipes under the pavement, at varying levels depending on the era in which they were installed. This is causing complications, making it unlikely that much progress could be made before the December ‘roadworks embargo’.

OR PERHAPS MORE GOOD NEWS, IN A WAY?
There will be no major works between now and the end of the year. To avoid leaving part-done works in place over Christmas, the contractor will now not be making a proper start on the southbound carriageway until January. Instead, Skanska will use the time to finish off the northbound side (including yellow lines and cycle markings) and prepare for starting the cycleway southbound side of the road. This should ensure smoother progress in the New Year. The streetlights work should be finished by the end of November too; those holes in the pavement have been around for far too long already.

There was a general update on the cycle lanes scheme at the October South Area meeting. Chris Rand, who writes the Queen Edith’s Online blog, reports on it here:

Hills Road Cycleway: some of our questions answered

Do read it – it’s a very good, and balanced report.

There is a Frequently Asked Questions post on my own website: http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2015/08/08/hills-road-cycle-lanes-frequently-asked-questions/

Hills Road: life in the slow lane, and the Tory switch-off plan

Cones on Hills Road

Cones on Hills Road

Cambridgeshire County Council‘s Cycling Team and the contractor for the Hills Road project will be coming to Queen Edith’s on October 5th to report on the slow-running Hills Road cycle lanes.

Or should that read ‘the slow lanes’? The project was scheduled to take 37 weeks but we are in week 36 already and they still haven’t finished the first side. More red tarmac went down last weekend but the route still involves a mixture of surfaces and cyclists having to move onto the road. All road users are having difficulties: drivers are delayed, pedestrians cannot cross the road because of rows of traffic cones, and bus users have had bus stops out of commission for weeks on end.

The officers will report on the Hills Road project and  take questions, then tell us about other cycle-related matters, including the Chisholm Trail cross-city cycle route.

Here is a link to the agenda of the South Area meeting. There’s also an open forum session and a report on environmental services in the south of the city (rubbish, graffiti and vandalism).

7pm, St John’s Church, Hills Road.

switchoff map

Under Conservative proposals only the blue roads would be lit at night.

STOP PRESS: The meeting will also receive a report on the County Council’s proposals to switch off streetlights at night. County Tories want to stop night-time lighting in an attempt to make the books balance, in the face of swingeing central government cuts to local government.

We believe this will have an unacceptable impact on road safety and on individual safety in Cambridge, given the high numbers of residents and visitors who are about after midnight or early in the morning.

LOCAL BLOGGER CHRIS RAND HAS POSTED A REPORT OF THE DISCUSSION ON HIS WEBSITE: http://queen-ediths.co.uk/cambridge-planning/hills-road-cycleway-some-of-our-questions-answered/