Since the late 1980s the City Council has used planning permission to reduce the provision of office parking spaces, by including restrictions as a condition for permission. It attempted to develop the Clay Farm estate, off Long Road, as a car-free housing estate but a Department of the Environment inspector ruled against it. It campaigned for this area to be taken out of the Green Belt, since it's almost completely surrounded by built-up area, is just ordinary farm land and is the one obvious area that's suitable for development.
The County Council launched a new strategy in 1996, including a TravelWise campaign. The City & County Councils then joined Streets Ahead, a network of local councils committed to reducing public dependence on cars. See also Council joins "Streets Ahead"; 31-Jan-96 at East Cambridgeshire Online News.
The Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997 requires local councils to plan for traffic reduction. The 1998 Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Act sets firm targets.
The then-Labour City Council commissioned consultants to come up with "radical" solutions, using money that was to be for the late-night bus service.
The 1999 Cambridgeshire Transport Plan, drawn up by the councils, restates all the usual worthy ideas, such as the ones below. The point is to try to get investment from the Government. An exhibition is touring though with very poor advertising. [On the first day, at the Grafton Centre on October 24 between 10am and 4pm, there was no sign anywhere of the mobile exhibition as of 11:15.]
Many people in Cambs. will find this a sick joke but then truth is stranger than fiction!
In September 2001 the Council won the award of Transport Local Authority of the Year from the Centre for Transport
Policy at Robert Gordon University.
They were praised for "innovative and integrated transport solutions".
(CEN 19-Sep-2001 : Council wins transport award)
Newcastle University's Transport research group produced the experimental road pricing system.
As a variant of this, there are suggestions for permits for peak-time use of roads.
This has been tried successfully in Milan.
Crucially, it is beginning to be of use to office workers as well as shoppers, making it so much more worthwhile. This will be a major factor when workplace car park charging is introduced.
The Cambridge Evening News has frequent letters pointing out deficiencies with the sites, such as full car parks and empty buses. On the other hand, the sites have proved extremely popular, mainly with regional (as opposed to local) shoppers and with office workers, balancing the street closures.
The main problem has been with the appalling Stagecoach Cambus services. Workers need to feel confident the bus service is reliable and is still available in the evening. As the Emmanuel Road closure and Babraham Road Park-and-Ride began in Auguast 1999, the County Council was applying to the City Council for slightly longer Park-and-Ride hours as set by the City's planning permission.
A report Transport and Air Pollution in Cambridge was compiled by a Homerton College student for Anne Campbell MP (CEN 6-Dec-1995). It studied what might make school and work car users switch to public transport. It showed that people like the convenience and privacy of cars and for school users security was also important. There is scope for encouraging less car use, a more frequent bus service being the best.
Does Bus-Based Park and Ride Assist the Integration of Local Transport? - a fascinating study of P&R's effectiveness.
See also Rivalry with Peterborough.
A circular Park-and-Ride bus route is under consideration as an attempt
to relieve congestion in and around Addenbrookes' Hospital. The Science Park,
Cambridge Regional College and Cambridge Business Park could be included.
In August 1999 diagonal routes were established.
It's gone ahead in the form of rented cycled lockers at the Madingley Road & Newmarket Road Park-and-Ride site.
Bridge Street was the first closure and Emmanuel Road the second. Silver Street seems certain to be the third closure, now that the Trumpington Park&Ride site is operational. The fourth may be Emmanuel Street (reserving the Drummer Street area for buses and taxis) or (more likely) Regent Street.
The programme of closures is closely linked to the Park&Ride strategy, on the carrot & stick principle. The third and fourth closures will probably be balanced by new Park&Ride sites some way outside Cambridge.
See also Pollution in Cambridge at ECOLN.
In early 1997 a £200,000+ bus lane was built into the City along the Girton end of Huntingdon Road for 1km,
championed by Dave Kelleway.
The scheme also includes traffic lights for cycle crossings and improving the dual-use pedestrian/cycleway.
Engineers hope it'll save buses 12 minutes but so far 7 seems to be the realistic figure.
In late 1997/early 1998 the section of Newmarket Road between the new Park-and-Ride site and Coldham's Lane was altered to have bus lanes.
A lane for Trumpington Road into Cambridge (or possibly both directions) is under consideration, linking with the proposed Park-and-Ride site.
In August 1999 a bus lane was constructed on Elizabeth Bridge in the out-of-town direction.
Taxis and private hire cars are now allowed to use bus lanes and there's pressure for motorbikes too. Cyclists always lose out in such compromises.
Another idea for encouraging bus use is that bus stops could have electronic timetable displays, with schedules on the Internet. Norwich City announced in July 1997 that it was introducing railway-like display monitors, showing arrival and departure times, at a cost of £1M.
The extensive Romsey scheme at first seemed to be somewhere in between, with fans and critics. However, compaints in the CEN mounted, the worst part being the excessive restrictions and excess lighting in St. Philip's Road. The supposed 20mph limit isn't policed. The complicated bollard arrangements (for instance, near The Empress pub) are extraordinary. Then cars were permitted to park partly on the pavement, to ease congestion, making life difficult for prams, the disabled and the elderly.
Critics rightly point to excesses such as the section of Hills Road between the Catholic Church and Station Road corner, with five traffic-light-controlled pedestrian crossings in about 600 metres. This is largely a traffic-calming exercise.
Before it was built, on one side James Keen of Churchill College claimed (CEN 7-Mar-1996) the street is only busy in morning & evening rush hours, when traffic is crawling anyway due to queueing to exit to Madingley Road and Huntingdon Road. In such circumstances the only effects of calming are noise pollution from cars accelerating between humps and the slowing down of emergency services. He cites the experience of York, where speed controls had no effect on traffic flow. Then George Abbott (CEN 15-Mar, Storey's Way) refuted the central claim, saying the road is busy as a 70mph "rat run" throughout the day. Much of the traffic is to the Colleges, especially since Churchill's 100-bed Conference Centre opened. The City Council made it a condition for the planning permission that there be a traffic calming scheme. Churchill, Fitzwilliam and St John's Colleges gave £10,000 each for the scheme.
Shortly after the scheme started a set of barriers, supposedly designed to block lorries, had to be moved apart as residents' cars couldn't get through them.
See Chesterton Road Crossing in Newsletter 7 and Newsletter 8 in the Cambridge Cycling Campaign Newsletter.
As of June 1997 some or all of the Arbury area restrictions are now in the form of bumps ("sleeping policemen") covering only part of the road width - cyclists can proceed unimpeded. The Chesterton Road crossing now has a red cycle lane marked out, to make motorists more aware.