Azara Blog: Cambridge ruling elite wring their hands over Newmarket Road traffic

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Date published: 2007/01/25

The Cambridge Evening News says:

A series of congestion busting measures are being considered for Cambridge's clogged up Newmarket Road.

Transport bosses have come up with a range of options for cutting queues in a bid to get the traffic moving including taking out bus lanes and banning right turns into the road at various junctions.

Barnwell Road roundabout, the Cambridge Retail Park junctions, B&Q junction and the Coldham's Lane junctions have been identified as major problem areas and officers will use a computer modelling programme to see which changes would be most effective.

Residents warned of traffic chaos when a 300-metre stretch of bus lane was put in near the Tesco store in 2004 and now it could be taken out.

Even members of Cambridge traffic management area joint committee said they were confused by the route.

Coun Nichola Harrison said: "I went to Tesco along there and I just don't know how to do it. You're ducking in and out, looking at the dotted lines and thinking 'am I inside or outside the law?'."
Coun Catherine Smart said:

"One quibble I have is that it just talks about Newmarket Road whereas traffic at the Coldham's Lane junction with Newmarket Road is a very serious problem.

"Very frequently there is traffic backed up off the map.

"It would be better if it referred just occasionally to Coldham's Lane and suggested what mitigation there should be for both roads."

Congestion charging could also have an effect on traffic management.

Coun Nichola Harrison said: "Congestion charging is going to have a big effect on the issue.

"This is where congestion charging is really needed in the Cambridge area.

"Very few roads suffer congestion as much as this one."

Richard Preston, head of network management, said:

"Congestion charging is a very relevant comment.

Yes, Newmarket Road and Coldham's Lane are a complete disaster. And it is almost entirely the fault of the Cambridge ruling elite. It is they who decided to pile retail shop after retail shop all in this one area. It is they who approved the wacky bus lanes on Newmarket Road which effectively cut the capacity on the main stretch by half. And it is they who seem to have so little common sense that they are surprised that there is a problem. Will any lessons be learned? Will anybody take responsibility for this mess? Will anyone be sacked or resign? No, instead they blame car drivers. How convenient.

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