Azara Blog: The Lib Dems want to partly close down Victoria Avenue and Maid's Causeway

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Date published: 2006/01/30

The Cambridge Evening News says:

More views are being sought on ways to improve a major route through Cambridge.

Residents in the Victoria Avenue/Maid's Causeway area had their traffic concerns heard by members of the Cambridge Traffic Management Area Joint Committee.

Two-thirds of residents who replied to a survey felt there were problems on the route.

Brunswick and North Kite residents' association expressed concern over the volume of traffic and the problems with safety and pollution this caused.

A third of respondents to the survey backed a partial or tidal closure to traffic, such as already used in Silver Street.

Support for other measures of trafficcalming, safety improvements, improved pedestrian and cycle facilities or a combination of these ranged from 7 to 11 per cent, amounting to 44 per cent of responses.

Committee members agreed that further consultations needed to be carried out.

County councillor Julian Huppert, chairman of the committee, said: "There are obviously local concerns about traffic levels on this route but a mix of suggestions over what should be done.

"We must make sure that a reduction in traffic in one road does not bring other surrounding routes to a grinding halt."

The consultation is due to be held in April.

Another useless so-called public consultation, the council is ever so keen to waste money on these. The general problem is that the responses are heavily biased by activists, in particular by middle class (i.e. rich) activists, so are not representative of the public. Here this problem was compounded by having the initial survey only take in people who live near Victoria Avenue and Maid's Causeway (even more middle class than usual). The council does this again and again (e.g. the same happened with Mitcham's Corner a couple of years ago). They ask only the residents of an area whether they want a road closed. They do not ask all the other stakeholders in the road (in particular the people who drive up and down it).

As with all neighbourhoods, most people would be happy to have all roads in their immediate vicinity closed to all cars, except their own. This immediately biases the response, and the fact that only a third of respondents to the survey backed closure already says that the city has monumentally failed trying to push this, their latest pet project, successfully. But that will not stop them. The Cambridge ruling elite hate cars, and will continue to push their anti-car agenda. (The transport so-called planners also have to justify their existence by constantly widening their realm.)

It is particularly laughable that Huppert is allegedly concerned that closing one road causes problems elsewhere. One of the reasons that Victoria Avenue is busier than it used to be is that the city closed down Bridge Street to cars (except for taxis, because the rich get a free pass in Cambridge), and Victoria Avenue is now the most sensible approach route to the Park Street car park, and for deliveries to the centre of town. And Trumpington Street is much worse than it used to be because the city closed down Silver Street to cars during the day (except for taxis, because the rich get a free pass in Cambridge). And the city has made Newmarket Road a disaster area by introducing an idiotic bus lane, so restricting car flow and encouraging cars to rat run elsewhere. So the city has purposefully pushed an agenda which has resulted in exactly the problems Huppert claims to be worried about. We don't need crocodile tears from the Lib Dems who lord over Cambridge. We need some common sense. Sacking everyone who has anything to do with transport planning would be a good first step.

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