Is there anywhere you don’t walk or cycle simply because it’s impossible or unsafe to do so? Then the county council has a survey for you! It is one that’s worth spending a bit of time on.
The council is producing a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Cambridgeshire to identify missing, unsafe and inadequate pavements, footpaths and cycle paths. It is inviting your input by answering a questionnaire and/or adding comments and suggestions on a map.
You can let them know about changes that would help you or your children walk or cycle more places, such as to school, or to pick up a paper or a pint of milk, or to catch a train or bus. The idea is that if we can fix the infrastructure for those short and first/last-mile trips, then future changes and investment in bus and rail services will give many more people viable alternatives to driving everywhere. It will even make car-free living viable for more people.
Producing an LCWIP is strongly recommended in the government’s Gear Change White Paper and is a prerequisite to qualify for some government grants. The document sets ambitious targets for 2025 to double cycling, increase walking and increase the percentage of children walking to school. That requires walking and cycling routes to be safer, wider and better connected.
The local context is important too: in its new Joint Administration Agreement, Cambridgeshire County Council has adopted a “‘health in all policies’ approach” and sets a clear priority for “modal shift to encourage more residents out of their cars, along with infrastructure development, the encouragement of sustainable travel, and securing safe routes and connections for pedestrians and cyclists.” So we can expect it to start delivering LCWIP schemes rapidly.
Smarter Cambridge Transport also urges the Greater Cambridge Partnership to realign its priorities with those of the county council, and to use funding it has allocated to the increasingly irrelevant busways and car parks to accelerate delivery of walking and cycling infrastructure instead – in particular to improve access to bus and rail services.
Start here: bit.ly/cambsLCWIP
This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 2 June 2021.