Azara Blog: Cambridge parking charges

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Date published: 2005/01/22

The Cambridge Evening News says:

City and county councillors have vowed to freeze the charges in car parks and on-street for 2005 in Cambridge and also the price of using the park and ride service.

But Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Bridge said that rather than just being frozen, parking charges should come down to help businesses attract people into the city.

He said: "I think businesses will welcome this price freeze. We are going to go through a period of disruption with the Grand Arcade development and I think they should be looking to reduce the charges during that period.

"We are going through a very difficult time where there will be a lot of obstacles stopping people from coming to the city centre and a lot of businesses are very concerned about this."

In recent years, drivers and city centre business people have reacted angrily to repeated rises which mean that Cambridge is now the most expensive city to park in East Anglia. Park and ride tickets also went up last year by 20 per cent, from £1.50 to £1.80.

The Cambridge ruling elite hate cars (there is nothing worse than having an independently mobile working class). As part of this policy they charge extortionate rates (e.g. £13 for five hours) in order to discourage people from using Lion Yard (the central car park). Come to the centre of Cambridge the way they want you to or get lost ("the customer is always wrong").

Businesses always grumble no matter what. But Cambridge is indeed in danger of shooting itself in the foot. It's lucky that Cambridge has a captive audience of students, who are pretty much forced to shop in the city centre. And tourists shop there as well. But the city is piling more and more shopping into the Newmarket Road area of town (without doing anything about improving the roads there, of course, indeed making them worse by installing wacky bus lanes) and that is eventually going to hit the centre of town. And many shoppers will just give up on Cambridge completely and go elsewhere where they are appreciated instead of treated like a problem.

The people of Cambridge (and the villages) who live west of the river (especially north-west of the river) are particularly badly affected by the situation, because there is no major shopping centre on that side of the river and the ruling elite have made it harder and harder for those people to get to the shopping, which is all on the east side of the river.

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