The leader of the County Council, Cllr Martin Curtis, is to speak at the Friends of Stourbridge Common AGM on Friday the 13th of September 2013 on the subject of cycling on the common.
I cycle almost daily on the common, it lies between my house and Cambridge city centre, if I’m opting for a low traffic riverside route (which I usually do).
I think there are three current significant cycling related issues with the common which I hope Cllr Curtis will consider as he prepares for his speech:
- Cows The cows on the common are boisterous and often run around making cycling across the common feel dangerous. A couple of times recently I’ve turned around and not crossed; and on others I’m constantly thinking of a plan to escape from a stampede (I’ve considered ditching my bike and jumping on a boat). I think the City Council ought require docile cows (such as the older red polls on Midsummer Common) be grazed in high traffic areas. See my video above and a 2010 news article: People must be warned of cattle dangers.
- reported this issue on FixMyStreet writing:
A trench was dug behind the water point on Stourbridge Common across the path. The path was badly reinstated and has now sunken along the line of the trench.
The path is popular with cyclists, many of whom get a significant jolt as they cross the feature.
You don’t have to spend that long standing by the trench to hear jolted cyclists swearing as they hit the feature. (There is a similar problem on Jesus Green.) The City Council need to ensure those working on the commons put them back in an acceptable state afterwards.
Badly repaired trench by the water point I have
- Bridges Cllr Curtis’ administration is supportive of the Chisholm Trail which includes a new bridge next to, or even suspended from, the railway bridge. This is excellent. The arrangements for cycling on the existing bridge are controversial though with the ward councillor for one end of the bridge, Ian Manning, claiming local residents want cyclists to get off their bikes. I have opposed this and disagreed with Cllr Manning’s summary of his meeting:
— Richard Taylor (@RTaylorUK) March 19, 2013
Wider issues include:
- Promotion of recreation cycling; I would like to be able to cycle across Ditton Fields into Fen Ditton without having to lift my bike over a gate; and I would like the footpaths downstream, and in the wider local area opened up to bikes too. Not via any surfacing just though bike friendly gates and a removal of restrictions.
- The improvements to Riverside which the City Council have started, to connect Stourbridge and Midsummer Commons with a high quality low traffic cycle route need completing.
A Private Event
Unlike the Friends of Midsummer Common or Jesus Green Association AGMs there are no indications the Friends of Stourbridge Common event is open to the public.
There are no details on the Friends of Stourbridge Common website as to how those interested can even become members, those interested are asked to “enquire”.
I am disappointed that Cllr Curtis has decided to speak at an event which is not open to all. If he wants to speak on the subject of cycling on Stourbridge Common I’d have liked him to attend the East Area Committee to do so in public. I would be interested to hear Cllr Curtis’ views on cycling on the common, but as I am not a member of the organisation I will not be able to.
I wonder if users of the common are those represented by the Friends of Stourbridge Common or if it is a mis-named group and it’s actually an association of neighbouring residents (and perhaps given its events, environmentalists) ?
There are no names of individuals associated with the Friends of Stourbridge Common on their website and I have never seen them represented at public council meetings.
Since the organisation started in 2010 I have not seen any notices on the common itself relating to its activities.
As Julian Huppert was the founder chair of the Friends of Stourbridge Common (when he was collecting memberships of things and positions prior to becoming a candidate in the parliamentary election); I had wondered if its prime purpose was to assist him in becoming the Lib Dem candidate.
Cllr Curtis’ Focus
The event is the first appearance I’m aware of that Cllr Curtis has made in Cambridge, outside Shire Hall, since being elected leader of the County Council.
Given Cllr Curtis’ massive responsibilities I find it odd that he has chosen to talk to a select group about such a niche subject as cycling on a few hundred metres of paths across a particular common.
- More Mud for Stourbridge Common – August 2013