Calls for congestion charge to be part of Cambridge traffic management plans

PUBLISHED: 09:05 02 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:05 02 January 2017

Mill Road SlowdownShowdown

Mill Road SlowdownShowdown

ILIFFE

City Lib Dem leader Tim Bick says he wants to see the final nail in the coffin of ‘road closure’ plans ahead of the City Deal’s PCCP consultation response.

The City Deal are expected to publish a respose to the public consultation on city congestion measures on Friday, January 6.

A protest march against Peak-time Congestion Control Points lead to City Deal Board chair Lewis Herbert stating that the measure no longer had Board support.

Petitions also gathered thousands of signatures from residents, and 9000 responses were given to the consultation.

Lib Dem city council leader Cllr Tim Bick said it’s time for the City Deal to end its ‘irrational taboo on congestion charging’.

Cllr Bick resigned the chair of the advisory City Deal Assembly last May in disagreement with the City Deal’s congestion plans, in order to able to argue his case more strongly.

He said: “The first thing people need to hear on Friday is that the road closure plan – as a scheme or in any creeping form - is dead.”

“Barring passage is a much too heavy-handed remedy. It would move congestion from one set of roads to another, and preclude vital access for businesses and homes. People can grapple with making fewer journeys by car, but outlawing all journeys for large parts of every day stops them choosing which ones are really necessary. Let’s hope this message has truly got through!”

“The second thing we need to hear is what the City Deal will do instead. One gaping hole in its strategy is how to change travel behaviour away from the private car. Their other ideas for more residents’ parking schemes and a tax on employers-provided parking are supporting acts, unlikely to make the kind of difference we need. But another equally important gap is how to secure a sufficiently comprehensive and affordable bus service, which must be a large part of the alternative to the private car.

“If you are thinking radical change, then think bigger than the proceeds of a tax on employers parking. These two questions are bound up with each other because, unless car traffic is reduced, any amount of bus service improvement will be lost as the buses will be stuck in the same old queues!

“This has to be why it’s time for the City Deal to end its taboo on congestion charging. Congestion charging has the capacity to deter car use, while still leaving the final decision about any particular journey to the traveller. But it also has the capacity to generate sufficient revenue to enable ongoing subsidy of the bus system, whether that is to reduce fares, extend routes which are disappearing before our eyes, intensify service frequency or cancel park and ride parking charges.”

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