Cllr Tim Bick, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridge City Council and Chair of the advisory Greater Cambridge Partnership Assembly, commented on the publication of the Making Connections consultation response:
“This has been a massive consultation exercise and there is a huge amount of data to consider on what are complex and interrelated issues. It deserves more than knee-jerk reactions. As I think everyone knows, we have serious underlying congestion and public transport problems to solve which will get bigger rather than go away. They threaten business, our environment and cut people off from jobs and education and other services. We do need to arrive at some next steps. And we need to try and build consensus for what is fair, but still faces up to the challenge.
“The vision for public and active transport has been widely supported, but people have questions about whether it can be achieved, which we must consider. There are also lots of people who don’t like the Sustainable Travel Zone as proposed, which was conceived as necessary to enable the improved bus services and provision for active travel - both to fund them and to reduce the congestion that otherwise leaves them unreliable or unattractive. While some were outright opposed to the STZ, others identified problems with key aspects of it: these aspects need to be explored to see how a rethink could address them, which is what I hope the GCP Assembly will start to do next month.
“Based on our own surveys, Liberal Democrats in Cambridge already pledged they would not be supporting the original proposals and would press for changes. These include public control of bus services, more flexibility than a simple 7am to 7pm charge to allow residents to make unavoidable car journeys, and a detailed scheme that levels the playing field for those on low incomes, so they can exercise choice about using their car. We are also keen to explore the question of hospital access and the way tradespeople are treated.”