Azara Blog: Cambridge car drivers avoid the Cam

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Date published: 2005/04/15

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Traffic flow into Cambridge has gone down by 2,000 cars a day - but it has gone up everywhere else in the county.

New figures compiled by traffic counters show that 2004 saw a reduction in motor vehicles in the city.

There were 3 per cent less vehicles crossing the River Cam in 2004 than in 2003 and 19 per cent less than a decade ago.

The survey figures show that people have moved to using the park and ride which saw a 6 per cent increase in usage in 2004 and now carries 1.5 million fare-paying passengers a year.

Well one of the reasons for the 19 per cent reduction over a decade is because the city has closed down some of the routes over the Cam (except for rich people in taxis). And just counting the number of vehicles crossing the Cam is missing out most of the picture. What has happened to traffic on the (99% of) city roads that are not crossing the Cam?

The shopping strip in the Newmarket Road area of the city has doubled or tripled in size the last few years, with no change in the road capacity (in fact a reduction thanks to the silly and confusing bus lanes they have put in). Anyone who pays any attention (and do any of the politicians or bureaucrats who run this city?) knows, for example, that in the last year or two Coldhams Lane heading into Newmarket Road has become one big traffic jam. To get from Sainsburys on Coldhams Lane to Arbury you would be crazy (except in the evenings or early mornings) to go via the city, you would instead drive out of the city and use the A14. One less crossing of the Cam according to the statistics (one crosses the Cam, but not via a bridge in the city). More traffic elsewhere. More car mileage. More pollution. (Relative to the situation a few years ago.) One big victory for the environment, thanks to the chattering classes who run Cambridge.

Traffic has gone up elsewhere in the county because there are now many offices outside the city (just as well, given the double whammy of the extortionate rents in the city, and the fact that the city government refuses to allow enough car parking, which is one of the stumbling blocks in the redevelopment of the area around the railway station).

(Another question is whether the Park and Ride sites have increased or decreased total energy consumption. When the sums are done properly.)

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