Sunday, August 1, 2010

Connecting Asbury Close & Golding Road

Coleridge Conservatives have supported a cycle route between Ashbury Close and Golding Road since 2007.

This is a scheme which Chris Howell requested for an environmental improvements grant. A plan has now been devised. See page 83 (87) of the agenda pack for the last East Area Committee for the details

Cycling is currently banned in the area but in practice this rule is barely followed, with people variously cycling on the pavement and on the grass, neither of which is ideal for residents.

A cycle path between the two, if well sited, could ensure that those who already cycle do so in a considerate fashion and open up the route to people who are currently penalised for following the rules.

If the path eliminates a couple of 4x4s from driving children to school and puts cyclists out of the way of pedestrians and children playing on the grass then it will have been a very worthwhile scheme.

We have generally found residents to be accepting of this idea, with a small amount of opposition. The concerns expressed have been:
  • It will increase cycle movements.
    Not much – the current prohibition is widely ignored & some movements will be instead of vehicle movements clogging up nearby roads and parking.
  • It will bring antisocial behaviour.
    I cannot see how this claim is supportable
  • Parking will be lost.
    This is a risk but a good scheme would lose only two spaces and possibly fewer
  • The money could be better spent.
    The proposed grant is from the environmental improvements pot and this is a capital project so comparisons with potential expenditure that would be recurring are not fair.
  • Cyclists will be a menace to pedestrians.
    This should become less true than it currently is because the path will mostly run along the inside of the existing pavement and will mainly not be shared.
  • The path would otherwise dissect the greens and be a loss to an area for children to play.
    The proposed plan has the path mostly adjacent to the path or nearly adjacent to the path. Of greater impact to children enjoying themselves must surely be the miserly 'no ball games' signs adorning the area?
The bottom line

I support this scheme but only on condition that:

1. No more than one parking space is lost at each end and options are investigated to reduce this to nil. (I think more work on the current plan is due in this respect.) It certainly would not be acceptable for council officers to introduce gratuitous parking restrictions by the back door through this proposal.

2. It is as much as is practical a separate rather than shared-use path.

3. The large grass area should not be dissected.

4. There is a proper consultation of local residents - and not the usual faux consultation.

At the city council's recent East Area Committee of 17 June Coleridge Conservative Councillor Chris Howell spoke in support of the scheme but stressed the importance of a proper consultation, which officers have promised to provide.

As a footnote, the record of what local politicians have said about this scheme in the past is available on the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website:

May 2010 District Elections (question 6; see also question 5).
May 2008 District Elections (question 8).


Equinox said...

Andrew! You're not smiling! If I catch you not smiling in a photo attached to a "Bad stuff is happening, isn't this bad?" article I reserve the right to nominate you for a "Glum Councillors" blog page at

After all, it's a gorgeous sunny day in the picture!

Andrew Bower said...

Hello Equinox,

I was worried you might say that when I wrote the post. It's meant to be a positive article but I suppose I am standing near to signs saying "no cycling", "no ball games" and "residents parking only" so I guess the negativity rubbed off...

It was indeed a lovely day and I was off on holiday the next so you are right I should have been smiling!