Cambridge is a beautiful, historic city with a strong tradition of active travel. Cycling and walking are the dominant modes of travel in its narrow city centre streets and cycling infrastructure continues to be developed within the city and beyond.

In many residential areas of the city, however, the environment for pedestrians remains challenging due to a combination of high traffic levels, narrow pavements and poor maintenance.

The Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan, 2011-26 developed a hierarchy of users placing pedestrians first, followed by cyclists and public transport. This is subscribed to at all levels of local government. But strong lobbies over the years for motor traffic and, more recently, for cycling have contributed to the needs of pedestrians being marginalised and coming last on the list of spending priorities. 

As investment in road maintenance has fallen away, footways have become increasingly dilapidated and dangerous.  It will take a significant, concerted effort to get this put right. 

The Living Streets Cambridge group is determined to provide a voice and a campaigning platform for pedestrians in the city, an imperative that has increased in importance since the pandemic struck and 'active travel' has become a greater focus of policy.

Starting with a campaign to address the state of pavements within the city, for which we are currently developing a survey, our group has an ambitious longer-term agenda. Current objectives include:

  • Gathering evidence on the real state of footways across the city and any impediments to access, such as pavement parking, street furniture and waste bins

  • Making the case for investment in footways to at least the same level as investment in cycling infrastructure

  • Highlighting the health and wellbeing benefits of Clean Air and the health damage from air pollution
     
  • Addressing children's safety on city streets, the importance of play streets and the priority for adequate open space in new developments

  • Greening Cambridge streets to create a more pleasant walking environment.

Other issues will certainly surface, but the primary objective will be to give pedestrians of all ages a voice in policy making and engage with the councils in exploring ways to ensure they are properly served.