(Bus lanes expanding, whilst the trees begin to disappear)
On Tuesday, I attended the first GCP Milton Road Workshop for developing the ‘Final Concept Design’ recently approved by the GCP board. This was an invitation only event, with local officers presenting potential options for bus stop designs and seeking comments on the placement of bus stops.
The bus stop design issues were interesting and I was pleased to see that officers are not looking at any options which would force cyclists out towards traffic. Instead focus was on how to pedestrians could safely reach bus stops, with a preference from many residents to avoid ‘shared’ areas (which cause significant conflict between different groups and would be especially dangerous on long straight cycle paths) and focus on segregated options. However, as one resident noted, we were left picking the ‘least bad’ options and many did not want their preferences on proposals treated as endorsement of the developing plans.
This is because the ‘modified’ plans looked problematic from the outset and the GCP have failed to explain how they would deliver on the City Deal's original objectives. From tonight’s evidence, they seem to be getting worse than when they were presented to the Local Liaison Forum (LLF) and they are increasingly unrecognisable to resident’s own Do-optimum plans.
From discussions around the safety of the latest extremely narrow (3m) bus lane proposals, it became clear that the bus lanes have already been widened compared to original presentation (now 3.2m). It was not explained where the additional width would be taken from (i.e. pavements, cycle ways or green verges).
At the same time, the length of bus lanes has also been expanded, with plans indicating a bus lane on one side of the road for almost the entire length of Milton Road. The obvious victim of this did appear to be the grass verges. For example, the maps presented showed no grass verges north of Ramsden Square running to the King’s Hedges Road junction. This follows a presentation to the LLF where the following was presented as the proposed outbound view:
I was at the GCP Board meeting where these proposals were agreed despite resistance, with Labour Councillors scrambling to heap praise on local residents and providing assurances that the ‘Final design concept’ was an exciting development of their ‘Do optimum plans’. They in fact appear to be moving further and further from those proposals.
However, I would warn the GCP Board (and its City representative Cllr Lewis Herbert) that they clearly underestimate Milton Road residents at their own peril. If these plans continue to deteriorate and they break their commitment to an avenue of mature trees; they will be challenged, they will be resisted and they will be held to account.
The City Deal "Greenways" project is proposing a cycle/walking link from Waterbeach to Cambridge. This would come near to Chesterton, and possibly use the Halingway.
We'd like your thoughts on whether it should or not, and if it should, would you want to make changes to the tow path as part of it?
The County Council has started to produce a newsletter once a month. The most recent is here:
I regularly travel to London too see my girlfriend and/or friends, but experienced a very odd ticket issue yesterday, which has meant I've raised a complaint with greater anglia.
If any constituents have had this issue, please let me knowRead more
Further to consulting door to door and with residents associations via this post I have told officers and fellow County Councillors in neighbouring wards that I am not happy for plans to progress at this stage, until I have had time to run some meetings with resident, particularly around the Hurst Park area.
To be clear: a scheme around the Triangle area south of Milton Road is likely to go ahead, in some form; it is for the residents North of Milton Road to decide whether and what form they want to happen.
ALso for clarity: I will only be dealing with those roads in the County Division of Chesterton.
For those interested there is a video of the meeting where this was discussed, taken by a private individual, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKfTuZppwQw with my first contribution here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKfTuZppwQw#t=07m13s
Credit to Richard Taylor for the videos (http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/ ).
Provisionally I have booked Milton Road Library for 2017-10-11 and 2017-10-18 to run some workshops with residents to a) look at refining the current plans for north of Milton road and/or 2) start from scratch in working out what they might want.
I've also booked Milton Road library for 2017-10-05 from 18:00 - 19:00 to answer general questions about how schemes like this work, the background to the project etc. If there is time I'm happy to cover any other topics residents may wish to talk to me about.
The annual report into complaints against Cambridge City Council has shown an increase in the number of complaints for the third successive year. This compares to a downward trend when the Liberal Democrat Group ran the city, including a 45% reduction in the number of complaints from 2008/09 to 2013/14.
Cllr Damien Tunnacliffe has been working to get residents parking around the 'Triangle' area (the set of roads bounded by Chesterton Road and Milton Road, from Springfield Road to Hawthorn Way) for a while.
We've finally managed to get traction and are being asked to approve for public consultation a set of plans. Please take a look at let us have comments asap - we need to give the go ahead to consult by 12th September.
Note: I've proposed allowing some extra parking along Chesterton Road, but officers are concerned this isn't allowed 'because' it is part of Cambridgeshire's "High and Wide (Abnormal Load) route". I'm following up with them why this is.Read more
Why a cycle campaigner would support parking in an unsegregated cycle lane when a decision maker???
This is a blog post in response to a number of people who’ve asked the above question. I believe I’ve got a great record in getting cycle and pedestrian friendly schemes implemented across my division, as well as staunchly supporting wider cycle/pedestrian initiatives across the County.
I also happen to believe in the politics of the possible – which doesn’t mean ignoring per sae the views of those who might think pedestrian cycle infrastructure has too much priority, whether I agree with that or not.
The answer to the question is that, the final decision is a compromise, and of course, I didn’t.Read more
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Ian Manning has hit out at Labour Leader Lewis Herbert after Herbert accused him of wanting “the world to go away, the greater Cambridge Partnership to go away” at a meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive yesterday (2017-07-26).
Cllr Manning had submitted notice to the greater Cambridge Partnership that he could not support the plans for Milton Road – after representations at the Local Liaison Forum had once again been effectively ignored.
“Cllr Herbert can claim to be residents’ rep on the Great Cambridge Partnership all he wants, with multiple voices from the community not content with plans, he still won’t stand up for residents and slow the progress of this project.”
Kings Hedges Lib Dem campaigner Jamie Dalzell pressed the meeting as to why the promise of “Mature” replacement trees had now back tracked to “semi mature” replacement trees.
“For all Labour’s criticism of the 2010 coalition, its seems Cllr Herbert is happy to vote along with the Conservatives on half formed plans that could see Milton Road’s beautiful tree line ruined.” said Jamie.
I'm aware of the persistent parking in the cycle lane, in particular by businesses working on the developments nearby.
Enforcement officers have visited the site 43 times in the last month and issued 6 penalty notices.
I will continue to follow this up.