Published: Monday, July 2, 2018
Local authorities in Greater Cambridge have welcomed a call for more funding in cycling for the city, outlined in a new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) report published today.
However, leaders have expressed disappointment that the report commissioned by the NIC has not gone far enough in reflecting the already high levels of cycling and cycling investment investment in the city which has led to Cambridge’s enviable status as the UK’s cycling capital.
In the past three years, Cambridgeshire councils have invested more than £18 million in growing the local cycling network, with up to £50m of investment earmarked for cycling-specific projects to 2021, with a particular priority for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, assisted by “City Deal” funding.
Nearly half of all work journeys (43%) in Cambridge are already made by bicycle and it’s the mode of choice for a third of local residents, figures the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cambridgeshire County Council and district councils are determined to increase further.
The new report ‘Running out of road’ by Andrew Gilligan, commissioned by the NIC to explore the potential of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford growth corridor, sets out a case for a £200 million national funding boost for the three cities.
The report calls for a consistently high quality approach to cycling infrastructure and safety to encourage even more people into the saddle.
However, the report also criticises the lack of priority given to cycling and proposes a review of some existing and planned schemes.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council and Interim Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership said: “The report is detailed and offers a number of recommendations which we will all consider fully. We also welcome the general call for more funding for cycling as we recognise there is always more than can be done.
“However, while Andrew Gilligan is a champion for cycling worthy of respect, it is a major omission of his analysis to exclude other forms of transport from serious analysis, including the role of planned new public transport, the potential of CAM Metro and of investment already underway in cycling/walking routes.
"This joined up investment in infrastructure will result in a double shift from the car, both to cycling and also to high quality public transport for longer journeys.
“I pay tribute also to the contributions of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign and a succession of councillors and campaigners who have championed transformational cycling investment locally for over 20 years which means that, while we still have a long way to go, we have far better cycling infrastructure than comparable cities.”
Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We have worked hard to obtain funding for many new cycling projects in recent years.
“While the report rightly highlights that cycling rates in Cambridge are the highest in the English speaking world, our objective is to get more people cycling by providing the right facilities and links. More people cycling means less congestion, boosts the economy and improves health.
“The report shows that cycling has a 43% share of work journeys made entirely in Cambridge and a 29% share of all work journeys by Cambridge residents – more than double that seen in Oxford.
"This is not by luck but by design, and is thanks to the high levels of investment in cycling schemes and development by the County Council and, more recently, the Greater Cambridge Partnership.”
Schemes currently underway include improved cycling provision along key routes into the city, the Chisholm Trail - linking the north and south of the city – and the start of consultation on 12 separate Greater Cambridge Greenways to connect surrounding towns and villages with safe, off-road routes into the city.
Last week Cambridgeshire County Council made national news by announcing it has been awarded £550,000 by the Department for Transport (DfT) to create the UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout at Fendon Road and Queen Edith’s Way in Cambridge.
The new roundabout scheme will improve safety in the area by giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists over motorists.