Looking for ideas

The Greater Cambridge City Deal Assembly are looking at the congestion problems in Cambridge.  Did you know that their are over 200,000 cars entering and exiting Cambridge each day?  Last year this increased by over 5%.  

As a member of this committee I am challenged to find ways of achieving a 15% reduction so as to free up the congestion that occurs each day at say for example Hills Road.  

At first view it seems the only way this can be done is to persuade people to change their behaviour and to leave their cars at the park and rides and take the bus, cycle or walk.

I am now looking for suggestions for how we may improve the problems associated with the congestion that exists

  • specifically on Mill Road
  • and the wider area of Cambridge City.  

Would you like to leave a comment on this page?

Danger to Cyclists

There are also so many stories about people being knocked of bicycles by car doors (that are probably illegally parked anyway) that I think it is interesting to show an example from London

There are also countless stories about cyclists being put in danger by cars – see the video taken on Mill Road

If you have a video or an incident that you would like to share send it to me

What do the people of Romsey and Petersfield think?

  • Is there a way of making Mill Road cycle friendly?
  • Can we reduce the fumes?
  • Can and should we stop the fly parking?
  • Can we stop non-residential traffic from using Mill Road as a through road?
  • What do you think?

Please make your comments on this page.

Facts about Cambridge Traffic


Over 200,000 motor vehicles per day entered and exited Cambridge – this is a 5% increase since 2013 – it is not yet clear if traffic is starting to increase or if the 2014 result is a blip.  However if it is not a blip then we are heading for even more jams and more polllution.

Of all people working in Cambridge, nearly two thirds travel in from South Cambridge and further afield, between 71 and 77% travel by car(27-7-15).

Cambridge City Council provide some information and data about air quality

Location of Air Quality Permanent Monitoring Sites in Cambridge 




Cambridge residents from Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Friends of the Earth, local churches, the Citizens Climate lobby, RSPB, and CAFOD will descend on Westminster for a day of action on climate change tomorrow Wednesday 17 June.

MP Daniel Zeichner will meet the Cambridge campaigners and strongly back their calls for action.

2015 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change, with world leaders meeting in Paris in December to agree a legally-binding and universal agreement on climate.

At the event Daniel Zeichner MP will say “This is a vital time for everyone concerned about safeguarding our environment. We are witnessing record losses to our nation and planet’s biodiversity and the Climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 – and the actions that follow – are being seen as the last hope of keeping global climate change within 2 degrees.

“I will be keeping the pressure on the government to implement a series of actions that include backing a low carbon plan here at home and to fully engage internationally to tackle pollution and support developing countries so that they can achieve clean development.” 

For further information please contact Daniel Zeichner on 07767253060

Daniel Zeichner out with Romsey Canvassers


Since joining the committee helping to administer the City Deal I have been able to understand more about how we need to reduce the amount of cars that are driving around and into Cambridge.  Owen Jones tells us “it costs money upfront to create cities with well-kept parks where we can walk with our families or jog with our friends; to support those dispensing with cars in favour of bikes; to encourage burning off calories in easy, fun, fulfilling ways.” But there is more to it than that.  It will also take some bold steps by politicians to push this agenda because disadvantaging cars to make way for cyclists and pedestrians is unpopular with the car lobby.  Trying to build new and greener routes that advantage buses, cyclists and pedestrians is also unpopular with sectional groups who want to protect their patch.

Nonetheless, if we are going to reduce the traffic in Cambridge then we have to act.   Currently many of our roads are so dangerous that people will not cycle on them, let alone let their children do so.  Consequently the school run means using a car when a bike would be much better.  And of course the school run takes place at the same time as the commuters come to Cambridge.  Outcome gridlock.

The same can be said for buses.  If the bus sits in the same traffic jam as the car you were driving, why would you take the bus?  So we have to look for ways to advantage bus travel so that the bus is quicker than the car.

However, in a city like Cambridge, we do not have the space to provide better routes for buses and bikes without disadvantaging car drivers.  And that is the problem.  How do you keep a vibrant and lovely city successful, and provide a change that will make it cleaner and safer, and keep the political success necessary to stay in power to provide that change?

Is it time to insist on electric taxis?

Should we try the green bikes scheme again?

Would it be a good idea to put rising bollards in at the top end of Mill Road to stop commuter traffic and allow a street market at weekends?

Please email me your thoughts  dave.baigent@cambridge.gov.uk  AND copy to anna.smith@cambridge.gov.uk


Throughout their first year in control of the City Council Labour have been increasingly looking for new ways to influence climate change.  A first step is to create a post on the council for a lead  councillor with special responsibility for green issues, Councillor Richard Robertson.

Romsey and Cambridge Labour are already putting in place plans to use the opportunity provided by having the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords, Bryony Worthington, as a ward member in Romsey.

Baroness Bryony Worthington of Cambridge is the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords, leading on international climate change policy for the Shadow Ministerial team. Made a life peer in 2011, she is a leading expert on climate change policy and carbon trading.

When raised to the peerage one leading newspaper commented that “The House of Lords has become a greener and better place”.

Bryony was born and grew up in Wales. After studying English Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge, Bryony joined Operation Raleigh as a fundraiser. It was in the mid-1990s, working for a conservation charity on new laws for wildlife protection, that she became increasingly concerned by the issues associated with climate change. By 2000 she had moved to Friends of the Earth as a climate-change campaigner where she set up their highly successful ‘Big Ask’ campaign demanding a new legislative framework for addressing climate change.

Bryony then moved on to Scottish and Southern Energy, one of the UK’s largest energy companies, where she advised on sustainable energy policy.  Whilst at SSE she was seconded to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where she implemented public awareness campaigns and helped to draft the ground-breaking Climate Change Bill. The bill became law in 2008, committing the UK to long term legally binding emissions reductions, delivered through a series of 5 yearly ‘carbon budgets’.

In 2008 Bryony launched Sandbag.org.uk <http://sandbag.org.uk/>, a not-for-profit group working on policies that can effectively defend us against the risk of climate change which.  She is also Patron of the Alvin Weinberg Foundation, Ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation and soon to become a trustee of UNICEF UK.

City Councillor Richard Robertson, Baroness Worthington and Labour Group Leader on the County Council Ashley Walsh

Comments so far

Great idea – I would add that electric vehicles can get a key fob and we will start a boris bikes type scheme that includes diff types of bikes eg incl some of the Dutch bikes which carry kids/deliveries  so people can cycle more

And yes once a month close and have a market!


Turn the width restrictions in north romsey into cycle-only barriers


Large amount of through traffic that doesn’t benefit local business


Filtered permeability: rising bollards on MillRd bridge, Tenison Rd (by YMCA). Cut rat-running.


I recently read your blog entry, entitled “Nothing new about Labour being Green”.


I have to say I was delighted to see something on the Cambridge Labour website that truly recognised the congestion problems we have in the city, and that actively asked for the public’s point of view.

So, here is my response. Whilst you read, please can you bear in mind that I drive a car, walk and cycle – not as a sport, but to get from A to B.

As you suggested in your blog entry, the only way to decrease congestion into, out of, and around Cambridge is to get people out of private cars and onto public transport or bikes.

However, people will only do this if using public transport or cycling offers them a better, quicker, cheaper, safer option than it currently does. That it is a viable alternative to the private car.

The problem is, the only way to make public transport or cycling a viable alternative to the private car is to make infrastructure changes that are perceived as anti-car.

A huge issue is the public transport & cycling vs car dichotomy. Or evenmore-so, that improving cycling infrastructure = an anti-car measure.

I would strongly argue that these are false dichotomies.

At ground level, it is not a case of pedestrians vs bus-users vs cyclists vs car drivers because many who cycle also drive/ take the bus/ walk, and vice-versa.

On an infrastructure/ political level, the dichotomy is false because measures to get people cycling or onto public transport will decrease congestion, which will directly and positively impact driving time for those who do have to use a private car.

So long as those measures are very well thought-through and infrastructure is of the highest quality.

Half-measures and badly-designed infrastructure will make the situation worse, not to mention make people even more anti-change.

Look to the Netherlands and Denmark for proof (yes, actual, factual, evidential proof) that excellent cycling and public transport infrastructure is good for everyone, including car drivers; that the dichotomies I have outlined above are, as I said, false.

It is therefore very important not perpetuate the idea that improving public transport and cycling infrastructure = making things worse for car drivers.

Another problem you have is where to start?

You will, at some point in the not too distant future, have to act. The sooner this is accepted by everyone, the better.

But do you begin by focussing on buses and bus routes? Or do you look at cycling infrastructure first? Or both?

If you start with a focus on improving bus routes and bus frequency, you will have to build new roads or get rid of certain routes/ road lanes for private car owners. This would be extremely costly.

Meanwhile if you focus on cycling to begin with, you will be picking the most difficult option from a political stand-point.

Doing both all at once is possible, but it is the most expensive and disruptive option.

I would argue that Cambridge Labour has the political strength to stand up and start with with cycling.

After all, this is a liberal-minded and increasingly environmentally-conscious city, with a population that is absolutely in favour of reducing congestion.

I too believe that starting with cycling is the only option from a financial perspective: building/ improving cycle routes is significantly cheaper than building/ improving bus routes.

I would also argue that even if you remove politics and finance from the decision entirely, starting with cycling makes more logical sense too.

Why? Because if you can encourage more people onto bikes, you will reduce congestion on the roads. And if you reduce congestion on the roads, bus journeys will be made quicker, limiting the need for new bus-priory roads

So if you start by focussing on cycling infrastructure, then where do you begin?

I would argue that a good place to begin is to give those commuting into Cambridge from the necklace villages (Histon & Impington, Cottenham, Bar Hill, Dry Drayton, Bottisham, Shelford etc) a real option to cycle into the city centre by building or improving infrastructure.

These routes will have to be of the highest quality.

You will have to be politically strong.

But if done correctly, you will encourage a vast number of people to ditch their cars for the commute.

If you don’t believe me, just go down to the guided busway at rush hour and see for yourself how many people will use a segregated cycle route if it exists.

You have some easy(ish) wins too: many of the arterial roads into Cambridge are already wide enough for segregated cycling infrastructure. I cite Milton Road, Newmarket Road, Trumpington Road, Madingley Road and Huntingdon Road as an example.

Then there are roads with huge potential: I cite Histon Road, Cherry Hinton Road, Long Road, Hills Road and alongside the A14 from Bar Hill.

Other things that could encourage the use of bikes in and around the city:

  • Prevent unnecessary fly-parking (such as on Green End Road). For an example of how well this works, see Gilbert Road.
  • Making P&R parking free
  • Work with schools to find out what is needed to encourage parents not to drive the school-run – then help to facilitate the required changes
  • give existing bike lanes priority over side roads
  • have a formal meeting with the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, yourself and City Deal exec, the County Council and City Council transport planners and the MP. You could go even further than that and invite a transport planner from a town in the Netherlands or Denmark (such as Assen, or Groningen etc).
  • ensure that all new roads factor in cycling infrastructure as a priority – not as an afterthought, as sadly still seems to be the case.

 All of this would be expensive and require very strong political will. And it would only be the start. But where there is a will, there is a way. And you will have to find a way or things will only get worse.

 One last thing, you mention electric taxis and the green bike scheme.

Perhaps both would be good one day. But only wholesale infrastructure changes will solve the congestion problem. After-all, no one will use a green bike if cycling is still too dangerous. And taxis, electric or otherwise, are expensive.


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