Cambridge residents support giving more road space to cyclists, pedestrians and buses
Cambridge council looking at 15 year plan to ensure transport network can support population growth
75 per cent of people in Cambridge are in favour of giving more road space to cyclists, pedestrians and buses, according to a new consultation.
The idea of restricting where cars can go in order to make other journeys more efficient was also back, but by 62 per cent of people this time.
The consultation, which was responded to by a statistically significant 1,237 people, found that the overall objective of increasing sustainable transport was supported by 76 per cent of people.
A spokesman for the Cambridge Cycling Campaign told the Cambridge News it was vital to change road use in the city.
He said: “There really is no alternative. Cambridge already suffers badly from congestion. Imagine if everyone who currently cycles used cars instead?” he said.
Respondents were also asked whether they supported construction of new park and ride sites, if this went hand-in-hand with more on-street parking restrictions in the city centre.
Fifty per cent were in favour, but 28 per cent were not, with a split between the wishes of city residents and those living in outlying villaages.
Cllr Ian Bates, the cabinet member for planning, said: “Cambridge and south Cambridgeshire has one of the most dynamic and forward looking economies in the UK, and will continue to attract growth in jobs and population.
“Working alongside Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council we have developed a transport strategy to align and integrate with the ambitious growth plans, to ensure the transport network can cater for the predicted 44,000 new jobs and 35,000 new homes that will be created here by 2031.”
We recently reported how the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said that parking charges in Cambridge are too high and disadvantage motorists, and suggested that prioritising cyclists over motorists favours an “elite” rather than ordinary people who want to use cars to visit shops.
But Cambridge City Council responded that local retailers support its transport policies, which are focused on improving cycling infrastructure as well as buses to make it easier for people to get around.
The city has the highest proportion of cyclists in the UK – half the people who live there cycle at least once a week, and one in five commuter trips are made by bicycle.
Commenting on planning guidance, which is not obligatory for local authorities to follow, Mr Pickles warned that “anti-car dogma” meant that shoppers were increasingly deserting town centres for out-of-town superstores, or were shopping online.
And Cambridge could have traffic free days in the city centre each year to mark the anniversary of the Tour de France visit in July.
The closed roads would mimic the ones needed for the race, according to the Cambridge News.
It's just one of the ideas that was suggested at a meeting to discuss the potential cycling legacy of the Tour's visit, with the aim of encouraging new riders to try the city streets for themselves.
The Tour is expected to attract up to 400,000 fans to the city, and another idea being floated is for a local cycle race the day before the pros arrive.