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No 'road closures' in Cambridge city centre

By Ben Comber

Councillor Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
Councillor Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

City Deal officers have recommended scrapping congestion control points in favour of a 'Clean Air Zone'.

After 10,970 individual consultation responses and 3 petitions opposing PCCPs, with a total of 10,590 signatures, Greater Cambridge City Deal officers have advised scrapping the Peak-time Congestion Control Points (PCCPs) that would have restricted traffic on six city streets.

The intention is to go ahead with the other seven proposals, including a workplace parking levy (WPL), and instead of PCCPs introduce a ‘Clean Air Zone’.

City Deal board chair Cllr Lewis Herbert also made it clear that a congestion charge for the city would not be going forward, as has been called for increasingly in past weeks.

Over 60% of respondents opposed plans for the introduction of peak-time congestion control points, with board members already agreeing to explore alternative ways of reducing the number of cars entering the city at peak times. Young people under the age of 17 were particularly in favour of improvements to bus services and expanded park and ride services.

Cllr Herbert said: “Having now reviewed all the evidence from over 10,000 responses, the recommendation is for seven out of eight of the City Deal schemes consulted on to continue to be developed, including plans to consult on a Workplace Parking Levy.

“Officers advise peak-time ‘road closures’ or control points be ruled out of future plans.

“A city-wide congestion charge for people travelling in, and for residents, is not proposed for very similar reasons. Too many individual and business journeys would be unnecessarily affected and it will unduly hurt low income city and South Cambridgeshire residents – and those from further afield – who currently have no option but to travel by car to work in Cambridge, often to jobs involving unsociable hours.

“Instead, officer proposals add two targeted measures to reduce vehicles entering central Cambridge and increase bus reliability. First, local interventions in the most congested areas of central Cambridge and second, a potential Clean Air Zone option to cut vehicle air pollution.

“No solution is going to be pain free but the City Deal’s commitment to working in partnership with business and the community to deal with this problem remains, including further future dialogue before final decisions.”

With daily trips into the city set to rise by 25,000 over the next 15 years, the plans aim to keep business thriving and people moving by reducing reliance on car travel in favour of public transport, cycling and walking.

Officers have recommended that:

• Time be taken to investigate an alternative to PCCPs that is both ‘deliverable and acceptable’ as a means of managing peak-time traffic levels, increasing bus reliability and reducing the city’s serious air pollution problems.

• That alternatives could include physical or fiscal interventions as a means of reducing private car journeys. A citywide congestion charge is not part of the proposals.

• All seven of the other eight original proposals should be pursued – including exploration and design of a Workplace Parking Levy, in close consultation with employers, linked to options for employers as peak-time traffic generators to offer both employees and site visitors alternatives to the car.

In parallel, councils will shortly consider consulting residents in many parts of Cambridge on Residents’ Parking schemes.

The recommendations will be considered at public meetings of the Greater Cambridge City Deal Joint Assembly and Executive Board on 18 and 25 January respectively.


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