Azara Blog: Cambridge Cycle Campaign's fantasy future

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Date published: 2011/03/30

The Cambridge News says:

Cycling enthusiasts have unveiled the transport wish-list they believe could persuade travellers to make 40 per cent of all journeys on two wheels.

Cambridge Cycling Campaign want the city's education, employment and retail areas to be joined in a "Cycle Super Highway" with the train station and argue a north-south track known as the "Chisholm Trail" is the missing link.

It would go from the junction of the guided busway with Milton Road to the railway line near Chesterton, which it would follow to the station and down to Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The campaign's Cycling Vision 2016, published this week, also calls for improved cycle lanes on key routes such as East Road and Newmarket Road - often at the expense of space for motorists - and argues riders need to be given greater priority at junctions.

Suggestions include creating two roundabouts at the junction of Coldham's Lane and Brooks Road, one inside the other, one for motor vehicles and one for cyclists, and turning Mitcham's Corner from a "racetrack" gyratory into a signalled junction.

Currently just over one in five journeys in Cambridge are made by bike but the campaign believes the target should be two in five.

It hopes 20 per cent of all journeys in the wider county could be made on two wheels. Robin Heydon, a spokesman for the group, said: "Our vision is that by filling in the gaps in the current network, and improving the existing road environment, we can all benefit.

"More people cycling reduces traffic congestion and brings economic benefits to companies in Cambridge and the surrounding villages."

The report calls for "blanket 20mph speed limits" to be introduced where there is insufficient space for a high-quality cycle lane, especially in residential areas. It also argues for many more cycle parking spaces, including an extra 5,500 at the station.

It concludes that Cambridgeshire "needs to invest in world-class infrastructure to remain the economic heart of the eastern counties" and Martin Lucas-Smith, the campaign's co-ordinator, called on Cambridgeshire County Council to include the proposals in a forthcoming bid to the local sustainable transport fund.

The council is hoping to secure up to £5 million of funding for transport improvements across the county from this fund.

Cllr Roy Pegram, the authority's infrastructure chief, said: "Cycle schemes in Cambridge are very likely to be part of the bid, but there are other equally pressing priorities such as community transport.

"We will be working with partners such as the Cycling Campaign to prioritise schemes, maximise our chances of funding from the fund, and to identify other funding sources."

The report says there have been significant improvements in cycling in and around Cambridge in recent years, including work on Gilbert Road and Hills Road bridge.

These have helped to push the proportion of journeys made by bike up from 18 per cent to 21 per cent.

But it says some schemes have been "compromised", for example, the absence of a signalled crossing of the A14 slip road on the link between Fen Ditton and Horningsea.

The campaign says the Madingley Road cycleway falls short of expectations, particularly because of missing sections, and complains councillors "succumbed to localised pressure" to remove traffic calming measures from the Gilbert Road scheme.

It is unfortunate that the Cambridge News continually publishes what amounts just to press releases for the Cambridge Cycling Campaign (CCC). Here the only commentary they have added is a (typically) feeble remark from Roy Pegram.

It is also unfortunate that the CCC are still whining about Gilbert Road. They were advocating that Gilbert Road should be demolished with speed bumps, and one of the obvious consequences of that is that drivers would have rat run down other, more minor, roads in Arbury, particularly north / east of Gilbert Road. Cyclists (including CCC members) who live in Arbury (unlike Lucas-Smith), and who also have some common sense, understood this, but unfortunately the CCC ruling elite do not. Or perhaps they just do not care, since, as with all special interest pressure groups, their only goal in life is to promote their own narrow partisan agenda against the interests of society as a whole.

As for Mitcham's Corner, perhaps the CCC has not noticed that there are already traffic lights there on the southern section. Needless to say you could add even more traffic lights. But halfway competent cyclists cope perfectly well with the system as it is and traffic lights would just slow them down. And incompetent cyclists can get off their bike and use the zebras and pelican crossings perfectly easily.

And needless to say, Cambridgeshire does not need to invest in cycling at all in order to "remain the economic heart of the eastern counties", that is just CCC fantasy talk.

As pointed out, only 1 in 5 journeys currently occur by bike and the CCC is arbitrarily pushing for this to be 2 in 5. Needless to say, they (and the rest of the Cambridge ruling elite) are already intolerant and obnoxious to motorists as it is, when they are a small minority. Imagine how intolerant and obnoxious they would be if cyclists became almost a majority.

And of course most of the people who currently do not cycle, do not cycle because they have no desire to cycle. But the academic middle class control freaks in the CCC think they know what is best for the "peasants", and forcing them out of their cars is evidently what is "best" for them, according to the CCC. Britain is not a nation of shopkeepers, Britain is a nation of control freaks, and the CCC ruling elite is a perfect example of that.

The CCC claim that "people cycling reduces traffic congestion" is obviously completely wrong if the way they want to achieve more people cycling is to reduce road capacity for cars, as they are proposing (that is what the phrase "at the expense of space for motorists" means).

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