Family cycling
Family cycling

Ely is a wonderful place to live, work and raise children. There’s a superb sense of community that’s passed down – I think – by centuries of people gathering here to worship, socialise, shop and relax. Ely Cathedral, the Ship of the Fens, is a landmark that’s seen for miles over flat lands. But Ely is becoming spoilt by exhaust fumes that are unpleasant and dangerous to inhale and we know are a contributor to the process that is warming of Earth and jeopardising our future.

Sustainable car use over the next few decades is not a done deal and we must look to alternatives urgently. Part of the solution is active travel: cycling. Providing environmental benefits, cycling also helps sustain mental and physical health. It is inclusive and can be a solitary or social sport and leisure time activity.

In terms of improving things in our area, I understand vehicles and cycles don’t mix well in the City and both I and Labour would alter the balance in favour of cycling provision on Council committees.

I have already begun to take action to limit the speed of traffic in Ely by setting up a branch of @20sPlentyForUs in Ely. The purpose of this campaign is to change the behaviour of drivers of vehicles in limit their speed to 20mph through community persuasion and not by putting expensive bumps in the road that annoy all road users, including cyclists. I want to remove speed bumps as softer psychological tactics and roadside signage succeed. I would push for cycle lanes of a quality more akin to the better ones in Cambridge, such as Hills Road and in Jubilee Park in Ely, though the latter is of questionable usefulness, with properly marked segregated routes for pedestrians and cyclists. Routes should be where cyclists use them e.g. those approaching the railway station.

Beyond Ely, the flat land that surrounds us is perfect for cycle paths. I’ve cycled the number 11 route from Ely south to Wicken and occasionally beyond to Cambridge. It’s pleasant but could be improved.

This week I saw a man with two young boys, who I assumed to be his sons, cycling along my road, West Fen Road, that’s currently a rat run thanks to a diversion taking traffic away from roadworks. I’d like to make cycling feel safe in Ely and beyond so more people make the choice to take their bike and leave the car at home.

Rebecca Denness

Labour Candidate for Ely South

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