City councillor calls for key cycle routes to be gritted

November 4, 2010 10:14 AM
Clare Blair

Clare Blair

A leading Cambridge City Councillor is calling for key cycle and pedestrian paths to be gritted this winter to prevent a repeat of last year's treacherous conditions.

Clare Blair, Executive Councillor for Climate Change and Growth has warned county Tories that they cannot ignore Riverside or routes across the city's commons when finalising their winter gritting schedule.

"These routes became skating rinks of black ice last winter," said Cllr Blair, "and many cyclists and pedestrians were injured in accidents. The Riverside Bridge alone has around 2,000 pedestrian and bike journeys a day which clearly makes it a major route.

"A large number of people rely on their bikes to get to work and children cycle to school. If this winter is severe, we cannot expect them and pedestrians to risk their safety yet again on ungritted paths"

Last winter also saw a resident led petition collecting well over 1,000 signatures in favour of gritting main cycle and pedestrian routes in the city.

The Tory-run Cambridgeshire County Council has still not finalised which routes will and will not be gritted in Cambridge city centre, having delayed the decision later than that on the rest of the county. But it has announced that it will be investing in additional equipment.

Kilian Bourke, Lib Dem Highways Spokesman said: "If the county council is really serious about promoting cycling in Cambridge, it needs to grit the busiest cycleways, and Riverside - especially since the introduction of the cycle bridge - is effectively a cycle super highway.

"During the cold snap last winter it was reduced to an ice rink, and there were an enormous number of accidents on it, many of which the cycle campaign has documented. A thousand people signed a petition for it to be gritted; the council needs to respond."

Councillor Bourke added: "Lack of funds isn't an excuse. The county spends £2m a year on PR -- much of that could be spent on gritting instead. If the council had supported our budget amendment last year we would have cut PR and invested in enhanced gritting of cycleways, among other things."

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