A totally transformed public transport service is the only way to tackle Cambridge's growing congestion problem, according to Leader of the City Lib Dem Opposition Group, Cllr Tim Bick.
Recent figures revealed that traffic in the city has increased by 10% over the last 6 years, leading to increased calls for ambitious, blue-sky thinking to relieve the crisis.
Cllr Tim Bick said: "I don't know of any first-rate public transport system in the world that works without ongoing public subsidy.
"It's about time City Deal leaders stopped ducking the big decisions and opened up a full debate on all available fund raising options.
"Bold solutions, including peak-hour congestion charging, must be put on the table if we are to find a way to achieve better buses, reduced congestion, and improve air quality."
On Tuesday the County Council's Highways committee considered four parking issues (click on the link for the report):
- the ending of the parking charge at the Park & Ride sites
- on-street parking charges
- residents' parking scheme permit charges for both residents' permits and visitors' permits
- a plan to develop more residents' parking schemes in the city
Up to this point Labour and Conservative Councillors had been pushing upping permit charges and pushing parking schemes, with Lib Dem Councillors more cautions on both fronts, and objecting in principle to the stratospheric 88% rise in visitor permits.
The ending of the P&R charge was agreed, which is very good news, as we have been campaigning against it within the Lib Dems since its introduction.
The on-street parking charges and residents' permits were agreed, but the 88% rise for visitors' permits has been referred back to officers for further work. The Conservatives and the Independent on the committee accepted the Lib Dem case that the rise was too high and that provision needed to be made to protect vulnerable/ elderly people.
So that is good news too: while we don't know what they will come back with, at least the massive price hike was not voted through.
We will be seeking input into the process to come up with a new plan.
The extension plan for residents' parking schemes was agreed.
This means that nearly every area in Cambridge will be consulted on residents' parking over the next year or so, whether people in those areas have expressed interest or not! At present, the Council is consulting in four areas: Newnham, Accordia, Coleridge West and Victoria. Coleridge west was going to be in the first wave, but has been delayed following evidence of strong opposition amongst residents.
As readers will know we are very concerned about the Victoria scheme and will be arranging some workshops with residents soon.