Cambridge Labour Councillors have a Seven Point Congestion Plan to tackle Cambridge congestion, improve life for residents and workers, bus users, cyclists and pedestrians, and cut commuter parking in residential areas. This updates our 2016 proposals when Labour Councillors were the first to state policies, including that tackling congestion needs to be a combination of both citywide measures and local decisions including on the city centre.
CAMBRIDGE LABOUR’S SEVEN POINT 2017 PLAN TO CUT CONGESTION
1. Introduce measures, after detailed consultation, to reduce traffic in the City Centre and reduce vehicle traffic entering central Cambridge and along/across the inner ring road at peak-times, and make major interventions to improve city air quality.
The 2016 City Deal consultation, reported in January, has improved the earlier City Deal proposals and led to extra plans being developed by the City Deal to tackle congestion. We welcome their plans for a “Cambridge Clean Air Zone” including investigating the option of pollution charging.
Consideration of city centre changes to the routing of traffic and buses is also needed while ensuring that access is maintained for residents and deliveries.
The further development of a “workplace parking levy” on major worksite parking in Cambridge is an essential component too, and this also needs to prompt travel planning interventions by major employers to switch peak-time employee and other journeys from cars to other transport options.
2. Control the flow of incoming cars and lorries using smart traffic signalling at the city boundaries.
We believe that smart traffic signalling should be considered at major intersections on key routes into the city, along with wider smart Cambridge technology use and related interventions to alter travel patterns.
3. High quality cycleways and cycling provision, with pedestrian and cyclist friendly junctions.
Labour Councillors have already persuaded the City Deal and the County Council to allocate over £19m to cycling schemes within Cambridge in the last year including the Chisholm Trail, the Abbey/Chesterton cycling and pedestrian bridge, and extra cross city cycling schemes to address hazardous intersections and improve cycling and junctions on many of the city’s busiest cycling routes.
Further investment in cycle needs to continue, including Greenways, cycling routes linking communities on the edge of Cambridge with communities in South Cambridgeshire.
4. Control ‘free’ parking for commuters in our residential areas, reduce private parking in city centre, and integrate City and County Council parking management.
We want decisions on parking to be made locally and will involve residents in different areas of the city deciding what is best for their specific area. We regret that the County Council has deferred the adoption of a revised Cambridge parking policy but are determined to continue consultations and local decisions using the existing countywide policy. Residents can then choose yes or no, and take account of City Deal funding for set up costs, for ‘signing and lining.’
5. Invest in Park and Ride including additional facilities closer to where people live in South Cambridgeshire e.g. nearer to settlements at Cambourne, Northstowe and Waterbeach.
Smaller Park and Rides and Travel Hubs are needed closer to where people in South Cambridgeshire start their journeys, including at rail stations and major employment and housing sites, not just on the city perimeter.
We also want free parking restored at Park and Rides, and will be pressing the County Council to agree to fund this change in 2017.
6. Press bus companies to provide orbital services including around the inner ring road, express buses from towns and villages, and smart contactless ticketing.
Involving Stagecoach and other transport operators is critical to improving bus services in combination with other citywide and local measures, including use of smart technology to give travellers far better real time travel information and options and easier ticket purchase.
7. Win major further rail investment building on the delivery May 2017 of the new Cambridge North station, including via devolution
We want investment in the preparatory work needed to secure a new station at Addenbrookes, work with councils to the west to being forward East-West Rail and the line to Oxford and the addition of stations to serve Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn, and other new South and East Cambridgeshire stations and extra rail links.
Labour also supports major devolution investment in rail across Cambridgeshire and East England, linking all market towns and villages on and near existing routes..
We also want “light rail” and underground light rail and fast bus transport options for Cambridge assessed by the City Deal both on deliverability and viability.
WHY WE DON’T BELIEVE A CITYWIDE CONGESTION CHARGE IS THE RIGHT ANSWER …
We do not believe a citywide “Congestion Charge” to be the ‘magic bullet’ solution that the Liberal Democrats claim. The wider package of measures above is what is needed to tackle congestion and improve transport choices, and is both deliverable and fairer. We believe the full package will cut congestion and improving non-car transport options for all everyone.
A citywide congestion charge would force all local residents using cars to pay, whether or not they add to congestion. Worse, it discriminates against those in lower income jobs least able to pay, including many working long hours without workable public transport options. It would also take three to five years to implement.
The City Deal and other agencies are developing their plans during 2017 and the City Deal will then be consulting city residents and businesses on options for cutting Cambridge congestion and seeking South Cambridgeshire views too, once reports are published for discussion and public input. Residents and businesses need to have their say, and Labour welcomes your views on the package proposed above.