From Risky Streets to ‘Living Streets’?

The Living Streets local street survey of Cambridge

In December 2020 and January 2121 Mill Road Bridges featured Pavement Survey – Living Streets and Pavement Survey – Update from the Cambridge Living Streets group.

The group’s report From Risky Streets to ‘Living Streets’? – The Living Streets local street survey of Cambridge (PDF) is now available online. Click the image below to read/download the report.

image: Living Streets Group Cambridge
Image courtesy of the Cambridge Living Streets group
The report’s author, Linda Jones. Photo: Cambridge News

Authored by Linda Jones, Emeritus Professor of Health, The Open University (also former Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division in Cambridge) the report highlights Cambridge residents’ dissatisfaction, with fewer than 6% happy with their experience as a pedestrian.

Table 3: Overall pedestrian experience
Are you generally happy with your experience as a pedestrian in Cambridge?
Overall YES 5.4%
Overall NO 62.9%
It Depends 31.6%

Nearly every respondent mentioned the state of the pavements themselves, with nearly 3/4 of respondents complaining about pavements blocked by parked vehicles. Cambridgeshire County Council have had powers for over a decade to tackle the issue of vehicles obstructing our pavements. And it wouldn’t put a penny on the council tax – enforcement would be self-financing as penalty charge revenue would help to pay the salaries of the existing enforcement officers.

See Protecting Pedestrian Space.

Table 4: Pavements: quality and obstructions % reporting
Pavements that are sloping, uneven, cracked or potholed 90.7%
Pavements blocked by parked vehicles 71.5%
Pavements blocked by waste bins 62.6%
Traffic signs and street furniture obstructing pavements 41.5%
Hedges protruding onto pavements 53%

Read/download the report From Risky Streets to ‘Living Streets’? – The Living Streets local street survey of Cambridge, here.

See also Living Streets Cambridge report says just 6% happy with conditions for pedestrians by Mike Scialom in the Cambridge Independent.

And don’t forget to contribute to the Living Streets organisation’s national Cut the Clutter! week of Action Monday 12th July – Sunday 18th July 2021 by mapping the pavement-clutter around your area. If you haven’t already done so, click here to start mapping your local pavement-clutter.

Cut the Clutter!

Week of Action Monday 12th July – Sunday 18th July 2021

The Living Streets organisation is hoping to map some of the obstructions that clutter our pavements throughout this week. Can you help to highlight the problems which pedestrians face in and around Mill Road?

This is a great opportunity to highlight some of the major barriers to safe walking, especially for wheelchair users and others with disabilities as well as for parents with buggies. Click here to start mapping your local pavement-clutter.

Photo as caption below
Black, green and blue wheelie-bins and ‘side waste’ block a narrow pavement, off Mill Road. Photo taken two days before blue bin collection, nine days ahead of black bin collection and 15 days before green bin collection.

If you can, please take some time, during the week, to record the locations of misplaced or broken street furniture and guard rails, A-boards cluttering narrow pavements, badly located bike racks, disused phone boxes, traffic signs or street lamps in the middle of pavements and other obstruction. Enter those details in the simple map provided, together with a photograph if you can take one.

However…
Traders are permitted to place sign-boards, produce stalls, tables and chairs on their forecourt area. Often the only way to distinguish between the footway and the forecourt is a line of paving blocks. Take a look at the annotated photo, below.

Photo showing footway and adjacent forecourt area on Mill Road, Cambridge
The cycle-stands and the two vehicles are pavement clutter. The produce stall, chairs and table are not, as they are on a shop forecourt.

We thank, David Stoughton, Chair, Living Streets Cambridge, for drawing this campaign to our attention.

Grow a Row to Support the Cambridge Emergency Food Response

A guest post, from Jasmine of Cambridge Sustainable Food

Are you a grower or Allotment Holder who could “Grow a Row” extra to help support Cambridge’s Emergency Food Response?

Cambridge Sustainable Food is looking for local growers to help support the Cambridge emergency food programme by planting extra crops and donating fruit, veg and herbs towards one of the eight community food hubs around Cambridge. 

Chesterton Allotments donations

Last summer Cambridge Sustainable Food ran a Grow a Row campaign which saw nearly two tonnes of fresh produce grown and donated by individuals, families, streets, community projects, allotments and community farms, which went towards supporting the local emergency food response.

poster - including brief wording from this post

After the success of last year, Cambridge Sustainable Food are running the Grow a Row campaign again, and are looking for people to grow and share to help support the local Cambridge community. We welcome all donations of fresh fruit, veg and herbs to help keep our services running, and support those struggling to access food. You don’t have to be an experienced grower to help out – we welcome growers old and new. So even if you want to try growing some herbs on your windowsill, please get in touch!

Adopt a herb to grow on your windowsill

If you could “Grow a Row” extra, get your street involved in growing together, or if you find you have a glut on your hands that you would like to donate, please contact info@cambridgesustainablefood.org

For more information about “Grow a Row”, and online resources for first time growers, see Cambridge Sustainable Food’s Grow a Row webpage, here.


Editor’s note:
If you’re unable to grow food but have surplus to donate…

Don’t forget about The Edge Café Community Fridge & Larder (Food Hub) Brookfields Campus 351 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3DF T:01223 212 478

Whilst the café is currently closed, the Food Hub remains open 11-1 Monday to Saturday.

Pavement Survey – Update

In December Living Streets Cambridge piloted a survey on the state of the pavements using nextdoor.co.uk for the Petersfield ward. This was also posted, here, on this website. In January 2021 the group has produced a pilot stage report (PDF), a brief snapshot of responses taken from 98 returns.

A second report exploring the findings from Phase 1 and 2 dated 11/03/2021 has now been released. It can be read/downloaded here.

The most striking finding is that only a very tiny minority of respondents responded positively to the question: Are you generally happy with your experience as a pedestrian in Cambridge?

Are you generally happy with your experience as a pedestrian in Cambridge?
Overall YES n= 14 (5.78%)
Overall NO n=153 (63.22%)
It depends n=76 (31.40%)

This clearly highlights pedestrians’ experience that many pavements are in a bad state of repair and frequently blocked for one reason or another.

Mill Road was reported for its narrow sections of pavement which made wheelchair and pushchair access dangerous and for the numbers of parked vehicles obstructing the pavement.

The survey is still open, until the end of March 2021. If you haven’t already taken part, you can do so through this link.

With the current focus on active travel, this state of neglect has come into sharper focus and suggests that continued targeting of limited funds on improving the city centre may not be the best way to address the needs of many of Cambridge’s residents.  This point has been made to the planners in respect of Making Spaces for People which, whilst it has an admirable focus on reducing pollution, concentrates almost entirely on the city centre. Living Streets Cambridge will continue to seek to represent pedestrians on other City and County Council fora relevant to their needs.

The intention, now, is to extend the survey to wider areas of the city and if anyone can help with doing that, through residents associations, social media or posting on notice boards like nextdoor.co.uk for other wards, Living Streets Cambridge would be very grateful for the help. For the present this is limited to City Council wards ( and County divisions within the city boundaries) as far as possible, though at a later stage it might be extended to surrounding areas.

Please email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link if you feel able to assist in any way.

It’s early days for the revived Living Streets Cambridge group and help of all kinds is needed. I hope this small start enables us to gain some momentum and work to stimulate improvement.

David Stoughton,
For Living Streets Cambridge


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

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.

Living Streets Cambridge

You can email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link, and/or sign up for local group news, here.


Living Streets is a UK Charity – Registered Charity Nº 1108448 (England & Wales) SC039808 (Scotland) – “for everyday walking”.

Pavement Survey – Living Streets

Mill Road and its surrounding streets – like much of Cambridge – suffer from pavements which offer a poor environment for pedestrians, particularly parents with toddlers, and people with disabilities.

The Living Streets Cambridge group was set up to tackle Cambridge’s poorly-maintained pavements – pavements which are cracked and rutted, causing trip hazards and puddles to form, with poorly-sited street furniture adding to the pedestrian obstacle-course…

Rainwater conduit with eroded screed covering, uneven, subsided brick and flag paving, highway signage obstructions, 91 Mill Road CB1 2AW

Overgrown hedges create further obstacles as do wheelie-bins left permanently on the pavement. Living Streets Cambridge believe that these obstacles should be tackled, too.

Black, green and blue wheelie-bins and ‘side waste’ block a narrow pavement, off Mill Road. Photo taken two days before blue bin collection, nine days ahead of black bin collection and 15 days before green bin collection.

Too little action has been taken to address these issues, in part because no register exists to identify all of the problems and bring them to the attention of the highway authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) and City Council (responsible for refuse and recycling collections).

Unregulated pavement parking adds to the problem, blocking pavements and contributing to further cracking, rutting and subsidence, despite Cambridgeshire County Council being granted powers to tackle this nearly a decade ago. Read more about those powers here.

Little room for pedestrians, when this delivery-driver prioritises vehicular traffic. Note, too, the damage to the kerbs and paving-stones.

As a first step towards tackling these issues, Living Streets are conducting a short survey to identify where problems exist and catalogue them by type. The survey can be found here.

Readers can help Living Streets Cambridge by taking the time to complete the survey, giving as much detail about problems and locations as possible.

And please let friends, neighbours, and others who may be interested, know about the survey, by forwarding the link to the survey, or this blogpost to them.


Living Streets is a UK Charity – Registered Charity Nº 1108448 (England & Wales) SC039808 (Scotland) – “for everyday walking”.

We want a nation where walking is the natural choice for everyday local journeys.

Our mission is to achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to walk more.

Progress starts here: one street, one school, one step at a time. Read our three year strategy to find out more about our vision, mission and values.

Living Streets > About Us > Our organisation

Living Streets Cambridge add…

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

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.

Living Streets Cambridge

You can email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link, and/or sign up for local group news, here.