Azara Blog: Victoria Avenue bus terminal objections

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Date published: 2005/10/20

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Residents are campaigning against the creation of a coach terminal next to a Cambridge common.

Council chiefs have proposed longdistance coaches arriving in Cambridge use a new terminal along Victoria Avenue, alongside Midsummer Common, to take the pressure off Drummer Street.

Residents nearby gathered 135 signatures on a petition opposing the move and spoke of their fears at the Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee this week, which includes county and city councillors.

Members of the Brunswick and North Kite Residents' Association said the stop would ruin the scenic tree-lined avenue, cause a danger to cyclists, and passengers alighting at night would be left abandoned in an unsafe area.

Wendy Andrews, from the association, said: "We understand the need to sort out Drummer Street, but we can't see any logical argument in favour of moving the long-distance bus terminus to Victoria Avenue.

"Cyclists will be put at risk by the manoeuvring of 50 buses a day arriving at Victoria Avenue - that's a lot of buses pulling in and out. This proposal will create an eyesore on one of the city's most beautiful vistas."

Jesus College has put in an objection to the plan and representatives from Stagecoach also spoke at the meeting, saying Victoria Avenue was too far out of the city centre and they would lose trade. They said Drummer Street could be remodelled.

Councillors deferred making a decision until other options - such as Parkside and the railway station - could be looked at in further detail.

The Drummer Street bus station cannot easily be remodelled. One option (suggested many years ago) would be to build a new bus area where Bradwell's Court is located. That is supposed to be demolished in any case, but of course the city would never dream of spending money acquiring the site. There have been proposals over the years to move the bus area out onto Christ's Pieces, but of course that always brings howls of hysteria from the chattering classes. So as it stands the central bus station does not have enough space. And this is not even to mention that the site is almost inaccessible by cars and there is no designated place where drivers can drop off passengers. An integrated transport policy we do not have.

The only proposals the chattering classes of Cambridge ever seem to agree about are ones that are anti-car. Otherwise some group finds great offense at any suggestion involving change. The Victoria Avenue proposals are not particularly well thought out but 50 buses a day is not "a lot of buses pulling in and out", it's not even one bus every ten minutes. So cyclists should hopefully be ok, although one of the bad points of the proposals is that cyclists heading northbound would indeed be forced to ride between the bus dropoff site and the normal road lane (of course putting it on the other side of the bus site would mean that pedestrians including bus passengers could be disadvantaged). And again there is no designated place where drivers can drop off passengers. And the bus site is on the opposite side of the road from the shiny new toilets, which not surprisingly many of the bus passengers might want to use. So the overall design is rather weak. However to call the proposals an "eyesore" is ridiculous.

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