Friday, 20 March 2015

Lib Dem Councillor raises concerns over consultation on cycle projects

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are calling for earlier consultation with all road users on future cycling projects after recent schemes led to negative feedback.

They claim that in some cases cyclists were consulted earlier than other road users creating resentment.

The call for change comes from Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Ian Manning who wants to see the council adopt the recommendations of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s Make Space for Cycling report.

He believes by doing so the council could benefit all road users and make more efficient use of public money.

Cllr Manning said: “We will be receiving more government money for cycling after the announcement of £214 million nationally and this will be hugely beneficial for our county. But I want to make sure that we consult properly with all road users so that we devise schemes which bring the most benefit to all users and don’t result in conflict.

“We have to avoid solving one problem only to create another. It is really important that we listen to all views so that the investment we receive is spent wisely for the benefit of all.”

Negative feedback was received by the council about schemes at Cambridge’s Perne Road roundabout at its junction with Hills Road and the shared use of a cycle path on Eddison Bell Way, Cambridge which resulted in conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.

A cycle path scheme at Ermine Street in Huntingdon was also criticised for failing to provide provision in an area considered to be at the highest risk for cyclists.

Cllr Manning will raise his concerns in a motion to full council on March 24.

The full wording of the motion is as follows: 

This Council recognises:
  • the recent announcement of £214m for cycling schemes announced by the Government.
  • work done by officers of this Council towards securing a portion of this money for Cambridgeshire.
  • redesigning existing layouts, and providing adequate space for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians is very challenging.

However, Council regrets:
  • negative feedback on recent cycle schemes including, but not limited to:
  • the Perne Road roundabout and the Hills road/ junction
  • yet another shared use path on Eddison Bell Way – resulting in conflict between cyclists and pedestrians
  • Ermine Street in Huntington, where no provision is made in the highest risk area
  • that negative feedback on these often comes from all road users: pedestrian groups, disability groups, cycle campaigners and from motorists.
  • that consultation in some cases took place earlier with cyclists than with other road users – this should not be the case, as it creates resentment amongst the other groups.

Council believes that adopting the recommendations of the Making Space for Cycling report could mean more efficient use of public money to the benefit of all road users: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.  As this is of benefit across a number of Council areas, Council resolves to:
  • ask all the Service Committees to review and adopt, if appropriate, any recommendations of the Making Space for Cycling report relevant to their remit;
  • ask the Economy and Environment and Highways and Community Infrastructure Committees to use the report’s recommendations when developing or commenting on schemes that are funded from money designed for cycling improvements;
  • consult with all road users earlier in such projects; and
  • by doing so, ensure that any such schemes benefit all road users, and tax payer money is spent more wisely.