Cambridge transport

Cambridge 2000 memos

June 2000

The county, rather than the city, is responsible for transportation policy in Cambridge, and over recent years it has done a terrible job on this front, making bad situations worse time and again. Not that the city would do any better.

The fundamental problem is that firstly many more people work in Cambridge than live there, because the city is not allowed to grow outwards, and secondly cars have become more affordable, so, for example, parents now often drive their children to school (and in Britain children often do not go to their local schools). Together this means there is more and more car traffic.

The current preferred solution is to try and force poor people into inadequate (and subsidised, i.e. uneconomic) public transport so that there is more space for the rich on the roads.

Park and Ride schemes dotted on the edge of the city are another recent idea. Many people use these because the alternative has been made worse for them. It would have been better to place shopping centres on the edge of the city, near the M11 and A14, but this is against current political dogma. People who do not want to bus into the city will often travel all the way to Peterborough or the shopping malls near the Dartford Tunnel, which is not desirable from any point of view.

Another crazy idea is to close down various main roads in the city, for example Bridge Street and Emmanuel Road, the main consequence of which is that journeys are made ever longer, and there is even more traffic elsewhere in the city, in particular along the Backs, Victoria Road, Victoria Avenue, Elizabeth Way and East Road.

New office buildings are not allowed to have adequate parking on site, so cars are parked where they cause inconvenience and danger, for example in nearby streets.

The Trinity College Science Park and the St John's Innovation Centre and Cambridge Business Park are not allowed separate exits off the A14 (it would be tricky for the latter two, but not impossible if someone was prepared to think about it). The A14 should be a motorway with three lanes at Cambridge. Addenbrooke's Hospital does not have its own approach road from the A10. All of these sites are getting bigger, not smaller.

The planners should start to think about making traffic more free flowing rather than trying to obstruct it. The Cambridge workforce is expanding rapidly so the problem is here for awhile.

Cambridge 2000 memos