26 May 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: Is the city's cycling network adequate for the new 'cycle to work' guidelines?
The simple answer is, NO. Unfortunately, the problems are too numerous to adequately address here, although the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website provides a brilliantly researched and clear discussion of Cambridge’s cycling issues.
A specific issue is the narrowness of cycle lanes and that they are often shared with pedestrians. These shared facilities are already a source of conflict with no separation of cyclists/pedestrians. How can effective social distancing possibly occur while walking or cycling on paths such as these?
Furthermore, the surface quality of many cycle lanes is poor and the routes are too often disconnected, making cycling neither safe nor enjoyable, failing to encourage people to cycle to work or school. This has been a long-standing issue for the Green Party, which is often told that more people would cycle if they felt safe to do so.
Cities in the UK and abroad have recently unveiled plans or actually started to develop and improve cycling provision. Cambridge must follow this example. Whatever your view of XR, their recent creation of pop-up cycle lanes challenges us to think more radically about our travel infrastructure and is in contrast to our Council’s lack of action in the time since the UK Transport Secretary asked local councils to improve cycling provision.
The Green Party is disappointed by the Council’s long-term failure to tackle this issue and would urge the Council to respond to the ‘new normal’ that we are likely to experience by creatively re-imagining our roads and how they can be improved for all road users.
In a City where cycling is already a large part of life – whether you cycle or not – improving cycling provision will benefit all travellers. We need better cycling provision now for the health of people and the planet. The Council must act.
Our response was written by Nicola Elliott. Nicola is the Co-Convenor for the Cambridge Green Party. Having moved to Cambridge in 2015 for university, she now works in Cambridge, residing in Chesterton.
Note that this was orginally scheduled to be published by the Cambridge News on May-26th but was pushed back to June-02nd.