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Cambridge residents' association opposes plans for two-way cycling on local one-way streets

Zero tolerance for cars the only way to make area pleasant to live and work in, say locals

A residents association in Cambridge has called for a ban on cars to make a school traffic rat-run more cycle friendly - saying that now is not the time for contraflow cycle lanes in the area.

The North Newtown Residents Association (NNRA) has said that it cannot endorse plans to introduce two-way cycling in the area close to Hills Road because of the ‘dangerous’ levels of traffic around several schools.

Cambridgeshire County Council is looking into bringing in two-way cycling on a number of one-way streets as a way of using some of the £6 million cycling ambition fund it has been awarded by central government.

Helen Higgs from the NNRA was reported the Cambridge News as saying that two-way cycling needed to be introduced as part of a wider package.

"Too many rat-running cars go through the area, we have too many school drop-off cars coming into the area – we have too many people visiting the area who have to park their cars somewhere," she told the county council.

"The problem at the moment is you've got a mixture of rat-running cars – we have too many cars coming into the area – and schoolchildren criss-crossing the area. It's not safe until the whole area becomes more cycling friendly.

"At the moment, it's a dangerous mixture.

"We want more cycling and safe walking, we want to make north Newtown once again a pleasant place to live and work. But instead we find ourselves forced into opposing what should be part of the solution."

Cllr John Hipkin said: "The increasing feeling in the city is we have got to reduce, control volumes of traffic coming into the city.

"I think we will have to wait until traffic cannot move at all until members from outside the city finally concede that they too have got to be part of a plan to alleviate traffic."

Martin Lucas-Smith from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign added: "Two-way cycling enables more schoolchildren to cycle through the area, avoiding dangerous areas like the Cambridge Catholic church junction."

Last year we reported how councillors postponed a decision on a implementing a £1.8 million bike path project citing concerns about  “kamikaze” cyclists.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s were debating plans for improved cycling facilities on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road, but called for revised plans to be submitted in July, despite warnings from council officers that Government funding for the scheme had to be spent by May.

Councillors expressed concern that the proposed floating bus stops, which allow cyclists to safely pass stationary busses, would be a hazard for pedestrians who would have to cross cycle lanes to board and disembark.

John Williams, Liberal Democrat councillor for Fulbourn, said: “I can’t tell you how often I see cyclists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings.

“I don’t have any confidence cyclists will give way to pedestrians moving to the bus stop because of what I see going on in this city with cyclists.

“Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these bus stops, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”

Williams’ fellow Liberal Democrat, David Jenkins, councillor for Histon, said: “I’m concerned about cyclists’ behaviour. It’s only a small minority, but it’s a significant small minority of kamikaze cyclists in the city and they are intolerant of other road users, and there has to be some way of policing them.

“Simply allowing them to have priority means less confident bus users will be stranded on the island as these guys go past.”

And earlier this year we reported how campaigners hit out at the board of Cambridge City Deal after it rejected a proposal to build long-distance cycling routes into the city from outlying towns and villages.

A meeting of the City Deal executive backed the Chisholm Trail and city-centre cycling facilities, but rejected longer-distance rural projects recommended by a January 12 meeting of the arger City Deal Assembly.

After the decision City Deal executive board members were slammed for not understanding how facilities enabling people to ride in from further away could help with the city's congestion problems.

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