Azara Blog: Parkside residents don't want a new bus location

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Date published: 2005/12/20

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Residents are set to form an action group to oppose plans for increased bus and taxi use on Cambridge's Parkside.

Three long-distance bus stops with shelters, an information block and a new taxi rank have been proposed for the street, which runs along one edge of Parker's Piece.

But residents say they will end up with more traffic, noise, pollution and visual intrusion from the double-decker buses and coaches.

Fears have already been raised about the safety of pupils attending Parkside Community College, with head Andrew Hutchinson saying they have "major concerns".

The scheme is one of two options drawn up by Cambridgeshire County Council to take pressure off Drummer Street bus station by moving long-distance bus stops.

A packed public meeting on Friday heard Coun Julian Huppert, chairman of Traffic Management Area joint committee, confirm the shelters would be a temporary arrangement until the bus stops were moved to the train station.

Chris Buckingham, a Parkside resident since 1976, said: "Julian Huppert was very helpful and told us it is definitely a temporary thing, he said about three years - but we've also heard it could be permanent.

"We think this could be the thin edge of the wedge, that buses would be moved permanently to Parkside. We've also got Parkside Community College and the ACE Nursery School here.

"A lot of parents have expressed a great deal of concern. I've been a resident here for 28 years and I've seen a lot of changes. This has been threatened a number of times."

He set up a website to www.stopparksidebuses.co.uk so interested parties can make their views known.

One contributor opposing the plans wrote: "I think this is disgusting. Not only is it next to a school and nursery but it provides the only green area for Parkside."

But Coun Colin Rosenstiel, deputy city council leader, posted a comment saying: "If we cannot expand the capacity to handle bus passengers in Cambridge we cannot accommodate the demand and pressure to let cars back in will grow.

"I am very disappointed by the rather Nimby-ish attitude of Parkside Community College to the coach proposal, who have not engaged in the process and just opposed the whole idea."

The area joint committee is due to make a decision on the proposals on January 16.

The original proposal was for the extension of the Drummer Street bus station to be on Victoria Avenue, but the NIMBYs of Maid's Causeway and nearby stopped that, by creating a bit of noise. So the council decided to instead propose Parkside as an alternative site. The idea seems to be that you keep changing the location until some neighbourhood doesn't have enough political clout to stop the proposal. (This happened in a similar way a few years ago when the Victoria Road residents asked for night-time lorries to be banned from the road, so the council brilliantly suggested instead that the lorries use Gilbert Road. Needless to say this proposal got the flak it deserved.) So the NIMBYs of Parkside have reacted in a totally predictable way. And it is also totally understandable. The city is arbitrarily proposing to cause inconvenience to these people, who are given nothing in compensation. The Cambridge ruling elite think buses are great, but buses are smelly and obnoxious (pushing other traffic out of the way) and are inappropriate for the narrow Cambridge streets. And the idea that this is a "temporary" move is fanciful. Most "temporary" things in life have a tendency to become rather permanent.

Far more worrying is that no matter where the council sticks an extra bus location you can guarantee they will do it in the stupidest way possible, e.g. there will be no consideration given as to how people might be dropped off or picked up at the site.

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