Azara Blog: Cambridge looks towards developing the east side of the city

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Date published: 2006/11/25

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Transport bosses have been working out how to accommodate the traffic created by 11,500 new homes and 5,000 jobs in Cambridge East which may become a reality over the next 20 years.

It is estimated that nearly 2,300 people could travel from the new developments to the city centre alone during peak hours.

The houses are set to be built in three phases with estates designated for north of Newmarket Road, north of Cherry Hinton Road, and finally, on Marshall's airport, if the company moves to another site.

The scheme aims to get 60 per cent of the development's 30,000 residents to leave their cars at home, and would see up to 21 buses an hour going into the city centre. A segregated busway would be created to allow journey times of just ten minutes, and every house would be within 400 metres of a bus route.

Planners want 30 per cent of people to walk or cycle, and a new direct route across Coldhams Common, including a new cycle bridge, would be created as well as an upgrade of the Jubilee route and Tin's Path from Rosemary Lane.

New residents would also be given a discount pack when they move in offering a year's free membership of a car club; a public transport season ticket pass; vouchers for free cycle lessons; vouchers for use at the cycle shops for maintaining a bike, buying accessories, hiring or loaning a bike, or towards the cost of buying a bicycle; plus discount vouchers for local shops and free home delivery vouchers.

Despite the best intentions, 40 to 50 per cent of journeys will be by car and more than 11,000 cars are expected to travel out of the development between 7am and 10am. If planners only do the minimum to deter drivers, more than 14,500 cars will be on the roads.

Many of these numbers do not add up. In Britain there are around 2.2 people per household, and that number is declining, so it's hard to see how there are supposedly going to be 30000 residents in these 11000 homes.

Further, if there are 11000 cars leaving the area in the morning and only 2300 heading into the city centre that means they are claiming that 80% of the jobs for these drivers are elsewhere. In particular presumably many of these people will be heading for the A14. What's the point of adding thousands of homes in Cambridge if the people who live in them work elsewhere? And in a not-very-nice area like the east side of the city, is that really likely to be the case?

And where are these 5000 jobs coming from? Currently there are no jobs (to speak of) on that side of the city except for Marshall's, which of course the geniuses who run Cambridge are trying to expel (for this very housing). The biggest employers in the city are the university and Addenbrookes, and they are expanding in the south and west, not the east.

And in similar locations elsewhere in the city, do less than half of rush hour journeys happen by car? Or is the city (as usual) sticking up two fingers to new residents and insisting that their living conditions should be worse than for existing residents? Let the peasants go by bus while the ruling elite go everywhere by car (including taxi).

Will there be any substantive shopping centres added to the area, or (as now) are they going to force east-side residents to crawl up Newmarket Road or Coldhams Lane in order to go shopping? Unfortunately the geniuses who run Cambridge have insisted that all shopping be either in the city centre or along Newmarket Road, which seriously exacerbates the traffic problem. But the politicians and bureaucrats of course always blame car drivers rather than themselves.

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