Views to be sought on overhaul to Cambridge’s roads
Transport leaders have approved a consultation on how the road hierarchy in Cambridge could change – but have yet to confirm whether public transport improvements for Cambridge are on track to be rolled out next year.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership revealed in September that a shake-up of the city’s bus network was planned to be delivered in 2023.
Its future bus network, which was proposed in the GCP’s Making Connections consultation, envisages a bus every 10 minutes in Cambridge between 5am and midnight.
Transport director Peter Blake was asked to confirm this timeline at the GCP’s executive board on Thursday (March 17) and responded: “The work continues on developing the improvements to public transport, and a further update will be provided to the board later this year.”
The question came as part of a debate on the biggest overhaul of the city’s roads for decades, which aims to create a major shift away from car use and ban through trips “on many parts of the network”.
A road network hierarchy review could lead to pedestrians being given priority in further parts of the city centre, with motorised access limited to certain times of the day and “to essential need”.
Vehicle movements would instead be restricted to the city’s main distributor roads.
The plans are crucial in freeing up road space to deliver the improvements to the bus service as well as the introduction of road charging.
The current road classification has been in place since the 1980s and a review offers the chance to shake up how people move around the city.
Executive board chair Cllr Elisa Meschini told the meeting: “We have a road network that was looked at a very long time ago and people’s habits develop based on where the big destinations spring up – and we’ve had a lot of big destinations springing up in the Greater Cambridge area since the 1980s.
“Therefore it is absolutely important that we funnel all the traffic – cars, bikes, buses – in the way that it can be most efficient. Therefore, hopefully this project will go well. We will do everything we can.
“I think running alongside Making Connections is actually a very good thing because we’ve got the right things in mind. We know where we’re trying to go. And this needs to help us do that.”
The executive board agreed to press ahead with plans for the public consultation on the road network hierarchy later this year.
The new hierarchy would also need to be reflected in the new Local Transport and Connectivity Plan from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority which is due to go out to public consultation later in the spring after work was delayed.
The operational principles of a new draft network would see priority access given across the network for walking and cycling along with “extensive network permeability” for bus services, which include school and community transport.
All car trips would have the same level of network accessibility whether by private car or taxi with none given access through network modal filtering points.
Business representative Austen Adams said: “I’m just left wondering if there’s more we could do to publicise this and get people to understand the significance of it. In my mind, the data that we collect from this exercise at the end of the day will be the evidence base and the data that will inform decisions for years to come.
“And to that extent, it needs to be driven home just how important participation is in this stage of the consultation. And could we hear more about what the plan is to publicise this and to drive it to a very high level of participation, contributions, from all the interested parties. In many of these meetings, we hear lots of public questions that are challenging processes that are drawn on evidence that has gone before.
“Now is the time to actually deal with the issues and participate and contribute to getting the right and most robust data that come from the consultation.”
Vice chair of the board, Cllr Neil Gough, added: “This is a really important issue and a really important consultation and I hope that residents of the Greater Cambridge area, but actually those beyond as well, will need to participate in this consultation.”