Coronavirus Update 4

This is the fourth of our brief updates on council-related matters during the lockdown.

Parking enforcement resumed Monday 15th June

From Monday 15th June usual enforcement of resident’s parking has restarted, along with bus lane enforcement. This is timed to coincide with reopening of non-essential retail. Please let your neighbours and friends know to avoid risk of incurring fines.

New traffic controls affecting our area

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and County Council have announced plans for experimental traffic controls around the city centre. As local councillors we had no prior notice of these plans, so we are rushing to try and understand them and keep you informed as best we can. The schemes affecting our area are:

  • Maid’s Causeway – Victoria Avenue: A full-time camera-operated bus gate will be placed along these two streets so that through traffic has to use Chesterton Lane and Elizabeth Way instead. It will require local residents to change routes for some journeys, but all homes will be accessible at all times. The location for the bus gate is not yet decided, with the need for access to the city centre via Jesus Lane being one consideration. Traffic officers say they believe motor vehicle flows on Maid’s Causeway will reduce.
  • St Andrew’s St/Hobson St: A part-time (10am to 5pm or 6pm) camera-operated bus gate at the Emmanuel St/St Andrew’s St junction to reduce vehicle traffic using St Andrew’s St, Hobson St and King St. This is an “Access only” route already, but it is widely abused and the bus gate will ensure compliance.
  • Historic centre: Extension of the pedestrian zone hours to 10am-5pm or 6pm.
  • Fitzroy Street/Burleigh Street: Extension of the motor vehicle prohibition zone hours to 10am to 5pm or 6pm.
  • Silver Street: Extend vehicle prohibition to full-time in both directions.

Outside Market Ward, schemes are proposed for the Newtown area, Grange Road, Storey’s Way, Luard Road, Nightingale Avenue and Carlisle Road.

The schemes will be introduced on experimental traffic regulation orders for up to 18 months with delivery after mid-July. The decision to proceed will be taken by a council official with the County Council Highways committee, with no formal role for local councillors, but we are trying to make sure the schemes are sensibly designed.

Public consultation will run throughout the experimental period and we will make sure you receive information on how to respond. At the end of the experiment, the measures will either be removed or made permanent, with decisions taken by councillors on the Highways committee.

We know there will be concerns about some of the planned changes and we would always prefer to see public consultation in advance and decision-making by an accountable committee of councillors. The pandemic is, however, forcing unexpected changes and we believe there’s value in using that opportunity to try to improve how Cambridge deals with traffic. The schemes may make the conditions for cycling and walking better, whilst reducing carbon emissions and pollution. They may work and be popular - or they may not, and that’s what the experiments will reveal.

As always, we will do our utmost to support the interests of our local community:

  • We will work now to make sure the schemes take your interests into consideration
  • We will support you in making your views known during the experimental period
  • We will insist on transparent and accountable decisions after the experiment ends

Decluttering the city centre

You may also notice some changes happening in the city centre as the City and County Councils work to assist social distancing and provide additional cycle parking. We have proposed that A-Boards are removed and feel that in busy places with narrow pavements the area occupied by café tables may need to reduce.

Rough sleeping

At May’s meeting of the City Council, Cllr Tim Bick successfully gained unanimous agreement that the Council would aim to use the achievement of housing rough sleepers during the pandemic to engender longer-term change. His motion, supported by Cllrs Martinelli and Porrer, focused on how access to services for substance abuse and addiction for vulnerable individuals could be improved.

Extended construction hours

As part of the national response to the pandemic, hours of work on construction sites may be extended to allow for social distancing. We are aware this may impact on residents and therefore have gained agreement that there will be consultation with councillors before out-of-hours work is approved - please contact us if you have any issues.

The market

The aim from the Council remains to keep the market open - details on how to achieve this whilst avoiding overcrowding remain under consideration. We are grateful to all traders and would like to thank those who have continued operating under the difficult circumstances of lockdown.

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