Cambridge’s Congestion Plan - Here’s what you need to know

PUBLISHED: 10:41 26 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:26 05 August 2016

traffic jam in a city street road during rush hour

traffic jam in a city street road during rush hour

kadmy

Have your say before it is too late

Residents throughout Cambridgeshire have been urged to voice their opinions on the planned measures to tackle the city’s congestion problems.

The Greater Cambridge City Deal opened their consultation window on Monday, July 11 and it is set to close on Monday, October 10.

They want residents to air their views on the planned package of measures to tackle peak-time congestion in Cambridge. It is hoped these will significantly improve public transport, cycling and walking journeys. The final recommendations are due to be considered in January 2017.

There are a number of ways residents can make sure their voices are heard.

1) They can complete the online questionnaire

2) They can pick-up a leaflet and questionnaire from a local community hub

3) Book a telephone chat or take part in a web discussion

4) Attend a local event or exhibition

City Deal wants to encourage residents to ditch their cars and get on a bicycle. Picture: Keith HeppellCity Deal wants to encourage residents to ditch their cars and get on a bicycle. Picture: Keith Heppell

5) Email city.deal@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

6) Call 01223 699906

7) Or respond on Facebook or Twitter

Why does Cambridge need a congestion plan?

The city is growing faster every year and allied to that is an increased number of journeys.

There has been a huge rise in the use of vehicles which has effectively began to clog-up a city which was never built for such an amount or variety of traffic.

The result is massive congestion and daily gridlock which, if not dealt with, will choke the very life out of businesses and people’s quality of life in the city.

The City Deal is committed to tackling the problem and ensure that Cambridge is a city for people not traffic.

"Workplace Parking Levy (WPL): Based on a successful scheme in Nottingham, big employers with lots of parking space for employees would be charged an annual fee for each commuter parking space. This will likely be those employers with more than 10 parking spaces. This would also encourage people to switch to other modes as well as create an important new funding stream to invest in better local transport to ease commuter trips."

City Deal Cambridge

The City Deal aims to make it easier to travel into, out of and around Cambridge by public transport, cycle or on foot and to reduce and maintain current peak-time traffic levels by 15 per cent by 2031.

So what is the plan?

The City Deal Board has approved an eight-point plan to tackle congestion in Cambridge.

The package of measures includes:

1) Better public transport and Park and Rides: The package aims to improve reliability and speed up bus journey times. Traffic management measures will remove general traffic from key bus routes in the city, providing faster journeys. This will complement on-going work to improve bus journeys on other routes to and from the city and lead to quick and seamless trips including to/from the Park and Rides. The City Deal will further invest in Park and Ride and Park and Cycle infrastructure including new Park and Rides where there is a case to do so. City Deal also continues to support improved rail services.

2) Better cycling and walking: Opportunities created by the package of measures will be used to continue to enhance cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in the city and work with existing plans and proposals to create a comprehensive cycle network in, out and around Cambridge, linked to towns and villages beyond.

3) Peak-time congestion control points: Similar to the established and successful core scheme in the city centre, ‘virtual closures’ for general traffic at key points on the city’s road network would create a low-traffic zone during rush hour through which only buses, cyclists, local taxis and emergency vehicles could travel. Drivers could still access streets in the zone but would need to find an alternative route or, as is the aim, switch to bus, cycle or walking for part of their journey. The closures would be enforced through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition and £60 penalty fines.

4) Workplace Parking Levy (WPL): Based on a successful scheme in Nottingham, big employers with lots of parking space for employees would be charged an annual fee for each commuter parking space. This will likely be those employers with more than 10 parking spaces. This would also encourage people to switch to other modes as well as create an important new funding stream to invest in better local transport to ease commuter trips.

5) On-street parking controls: The package supports an expansion of Residents’ Parking Zones in areas near large workplaces would further discourage commuter car journeys and work with WPL ensuring parking is not displaced to nearby streets, ensuring limited on-street parking is prioritised for residents.

6) Smart technology: Use of technology and data to help people make smart travel choices including ‘digital way finding’, real-time traffic alerts and intelligent traffic signals prioritising bus and cycle trips. The City Deal has invested in Smart Cambridge to harness technology to improve people’s travel experience

7) Travel planning: Expansion of the existing advice service Travel for Cambridgeshire to help businesses, schools and individuals adapt to changes and make optimum travel choices.

8) Public space and air quality: Using opportunities to make improvements to public space - such as landscaping or new street furniture– to keep Cambridge a pleasant and attractive place to live, travel and do business. The reduction in congestion and, in particular, car travel will improve air quality considerably.

When will the changes happen?

Due to the complex nature of the plan, it would need to be introduced over a number of years. Peak-time congestion control points can be delivered relatively quickly and the recommendation is to introduce these on a trial basis, to allow for testing and real-time public consultation, from Autumn 2017. The WPL, for example, would take considerably longer and is not expected to be implemented for at least three years.

Will there be any further consultation?

This is a preliminary period of engagement on the package of measures.

Further detailed consultation will be taken as follows: Peak-time congestion control points (PCCPs) – it is recommended that public consultation is under-taken during a trial period, people can respond to their experience of them; Workplace Parking Levy – detailed consultation with employers is planned for 2017.

So what happens now?

Between July 11 and October 10, the City Deal will take time to talk and listen to residents, business, communities and organisations across Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire and beyond, to gain feedback on the plan from those people who need to travel in, out and across the city.

At the same time, transport managers will undertake further research and technical work, and liaise with service operators, to further refine concepts contained within the package.

This work and evaluation of public feedback will be used to make recommendations due to be considered by the Joint Assembly and Executive Board in January 2017.

Who is paying for it?

The groundbreaking deal is a partnership between the government and Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, The University of Cambridge and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.

£1bn worth of cash is to be ploughed into the city and the deal secured hundreds of millions of pounds of additional funding for investment in transport infrastructure to support high quality economic and housing growth over the coming decades. According to local business leaders one of the main barriers to economic success is lack of housing or transport measures. The first £100 million of funding was made available in the five years from April 2015. Transport improvements as a result of the deal will start to be seen within the first year. If Greater Cambridge is successful in proving these investments drive economic growth, another £200 million will be available from April 2020 onwards and a final £200 million from April 2025 onwards. Local partners will invest a further £500 million so that around £1 billion will be spent on supporting the delivery of vital infrastructure necessary to provide good quality and sustainable growth for the area for decades to come. The deal will accelerate delivery of 33,480 planned homes and enable an extra 1,000 new homes – creating more homes for families across the region.

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