Bitterne Park ward

Summary: Elections to Southampton City Council in May 2016
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2016
Ward:
Candidates (by surname):
  • Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
  • Linda BOULTON (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
  • Stephen FENERTY (Labour Party)
  • James Arnold READ (Liberal Democrat)
  • Ivan WHITE (The Conservative Party)

Questions for Bitterne Park ward candidates (2 questions)

Jump to question: 1 2

# Question 1

If elected will you sign up to the Space for Cycling campaign?
Jenny BARNES (Green Party) If elected will you sign up to the Space for Cycling campaign? Absolutely, I think we need to encourage sustainable forms of transport wherever possible, and to make sure that people can walk and cycle safely. Providing sufficient space for cyclists also helps pedestrians, because shared pathways aren’t ideal. I cycle almost every day, so am well aware of the challenges cyclists can face.
Linda BOULTON (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Stephen FENERTY (Labour Party)

As a cyclist, I’m very happy to support the campaign, with one proviso. I personally support reduced speed limits where they may be appropriate and are seen to deliver benefit – and if funds are available to support such changes. But I do not agree that 20mph should become the norm for local streets in Southampton. Indeed, the campaign actually refers to “most urban streets” rather than just local streets, and I’m not sure this is possible.

James Arnold READ (Liberal Democrat) The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Ivan WHITE (The Conservative Party) A response has been submitted on behalf of all Conservative Party candidates by the group spokesperson for Environment and Transport, Councillor Steven Galton.

# Question 2

If elected what would you do to encourage cycling in Southampton?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party) If elected what would you do to encourage cycling in Southampton? I think Southampton has the potential to be a great place to cycle. There aren’t too many hills, and it’s often faster to get to places by bike than driving. We already have good cycling rates (14% cycle at least once per month), however this could be much higher. I think the main thing that would encourage cycling is feeling safe. This is partly down to infrastructure, but other aspects are important too. I would also like to have an advertising campaign to inform drivers how they should behave around cyclists. I would also make efforts to consult cyclists at an early stage about road-building, infrastructure, and large development schemes. It seems that a large proportion of the bike thefts in Southampton are due to a small number of individuals or gangs. Although the police are struggling with budget cuts at present, I believe that a short campaign of focusing on bike thefts would help to catch these people and reduce theft significantly. With regard to infrastructure, as a bare minimum, we need better maintenance of existing cycle lanes (where often the paint has worn away, or the surface is rough). I am an advocate of protected cycle lanes – for example where you have parking spaces between the cycle lane and the road. I would push for good-quality cycle routes along the main roads into the town centre (Millbrook Road, The Avenue, Thomas Lewis Way). Investing in cycling infrastructure takes pressure off road surfaces, saving money in road repairs. It would also improve the health and wellbeing of residents, as well as reducing pollution. Not only that, there is evidence that increased numbers of cyclists boosts the local economy.
Linda BOULTON (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Stephen FENERTY (Labour Party)

I’m a cyclist myself, although I don’t get out as much as I’d like, and my three sons have all used their bikes as a main way of getting to college and work. I lived in Germany for a few years in the 90s – even then, cycling was far more integrated in local transport and infrastructure, to benefit town and citizen alike. So I’m pleased to support your campaign.If elected, I’d seek to raise the profile of safe cycling and more space for cycling with the cabinet members responsible, council officers, and wider council / public. I know the current Labour council takes the issues you raise seriously. Investing in our parks, environment, highways, neighbourhoods and young people are priorities, despite the huge cuts in funding handed down by the Conservative government.

I’d love to see a more cycle-friendly city. The Labour council has worked hard to, for example, double investment on road resurfacing – something that benefits cyclists as well. But with potholes a persistent menace, there’s always more to do. This council is also taking action on the environment and pollution, including a focus on the Western approach to the city, to help make Southampton cleaner and safer for all. Just this April, it launched the city-wide Clean Air Zone scheme, the first of its kind in the south of England outside London.

Like you, I believe in the safety, environmental and health benefits of cycling. Improvement plans should, in an ideal world, be integrated with some kind of city-wide transport, environment and public health strategy, rather than as an isolated campaign. I think advice from a group such as yours would be invaluable. Any changes in cycling infrastructure would, of course, need to be done in a way that while promoting cycling didn’t adversely affect routes – and any work would need to be done in a cost-effective way, given the cuts we face.

This could mean looking at ways to make routes more cycle friendly during, for example, scheduled highway maintenance works, as well as seeking additional funding (e.g. public health funds, and from new development sites/investors) to support a more cycle-friendly city. I could start asking those questions.

In some residential areas, it may not be feasible (or desirable) to remove through motor traffic; so why not ask residents themselves and explore the potential costs involved? While I would love a more cycle-friendly city centre, I assume there is a cost attached and potential disruption for some. But that’s not to say such ideas shouldn’t be discussed, ideally in consultation with the public. Safer routes to school would be brilliant. Interestingly, the traffic problems and safety issues I see around local schools so often appear to be caused by parents in cars. So this is also about changing attitudes and behaviour, in partnership with schools. I also believe there’s a responsibility on cyclists to cycle safely, with due regard to pedestrians and other traffic – especially in parks/mixed routes. If some cyclists in Riverside Park slowed down a little – and used their bells – walking would feel a bit safer. I’d also like to see wider use of helmets to protect cyclists, especially younger people.

James Arnold READ (Liberal Democrat) The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Ivan WHITE (The Conservative Party) A response has been submitted on behalf of all Conservative Party candidates by the group spokesperson for Environment and Transport, Councillor Steven Galton.