Cambridge residents braced for increase in car parking charges
Drive to get more car owners to use public transport
Charges at city council car parks are set to increase in April as part of plans to cut congestion and air pollution.
The new charges have been agreed in principle following consultation with city centre stakeholders in October, but they are still subject to approval as part of the council's overall budget in February.
The changes are set to include a charge to encourage drivers to switch to other modes of transport to get into the city centre during the busy period between 8am and 10am. Drivers looking to park at those times will have to pay an additional 50p per hour - for example charges at The Grafton and Grand Arcade car parks could increase from £2 to £2.50 for one hour during the peak time.
This will support Cambridgeshire County Council's plans to scrap parking charges for cars at its park and ride sites, with the hope more people will opt to use the services.
Other car parking initiatives include freezing prices for the fourth consecutive year at Castle Hill, Adam and Eve, Riverside and Gwydir Street pay and display car parks.
There will also be an end to last year's trial in which prices were different on certain days of the week - charges will return to a single tariff across the working week.
Evening tariffs for parking will start at 6pm while there will be an increase of 30 per cent for season ticket parking for business users. The council says this increase is to incentivise commuters to use less polluting, less congestion-creating forms of transport.
Cllr Kevin Blencowe, executive councillor for planning policy and transport, said:"Our parking strategy aims to reduce congestion, improve air quality and maintain value for money for short stay parking.
"We want to encourage motorists to use the park and ride sites rather than city centre multi-storey car parks and that is why we plan to introduce charges that disincentivise driving in to the centre.
"We have invested in our car parks and demonstrated that we provide customers with a good service. Now, we need a fair pricing structure that will help to tackle congestion and reduce air pollution."
In the last year, the council invested £2.1m in its car parks, including improvements to surfaces, structure and drainage at Grand Arcade, Grafton East and Queen Anne Terrace car parks. Other recent improvements included new energy saving LED lighting at the Grand Arcade, Grand Arcade annex, Grafton East and Grafton West car parks.