Cambridge Park and Ride parking charges: to be decided on Tuesday

P&RThe Tory Cabinet at Cambridgeshire County Council is to vote on parking charges for the Cambridge Park and Ride sites on Tuesday.

The rot set in last September, when the Tories proposed a £1 charge, but the vote on Tuesday will be on a schedule of parking charges, which starts at a £1 but goes up to an eye-watering £30 for a longer stay.

There have been nearly 200 objections, focussing on shifting the parking elsewhere and the threat to the Cambridge evening economy.

I objected, as I fear that even a £1 charge will displace parking to residential streets, which in this area are already blighted by commuter parking. There is an amendment for new parking restrictions in Babraham Road itself, which will stop parking on the highway and on the grass verge and this is welcome – but I do not think this will be enough. Once away from the Park and Ride site, a commuter might as well park elsewhere and catch an ordinary bus. My objection

Park & Ride was introduced to keep cars out of Cambridge city centre and the charging for parking, on top of the bus fare, is a regressive move. While the P&R sites need to make more money, we in my party do not believe this is a wise way of raising it, and would prefer the Council to look at other ways of raising revenue, eg retail or catering at the sites, or raising the bus operator’s departure charge.

The £10 charge will be a lot to pay for low paid shop workers if they work long shifts, and jeopardises the evening economy, as it will be costly to do any shopping or socialising in the city after a day’s work. It will have an additional sting at the Babraham Road Park & Ride site, which is closest to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in my ward: it could well catch people who have to stay at the hospital longer than they expect to, for medical reasons, even the newly bereaved. There is an amendment to the original charging schedule to make this 18 hours instead of 12. I hope this is accepted.

The decision on the charging structure is to be made by the County Council Cabinet on Tuesday. You can read the report and recommendations here: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CMSWebsite/Apps/Committees/AgendaItem.aspx?agendaItemID=9419

Objection to the Park & Ride parking charges Traffic Regulation Order

P&RI have just written my formal objection to the Tory plan to introduce parking charges at the Park & Ride sites. Anyone parking for more than hour will face a £1 charge, which rises to £30 depending on how long you park for. There are season tickets for weekly, four-weekly and annual parkers, although the weekly parking ticket offers no discount over the daily charge. The parking charges will be on top of bus fares.

Formal objection to TRO PR0074

The Council invites representations and comments and I am sure they will receive plenty; although as the Tories have already taken the decision, the consultation appears artificial. You might wish to comment on the charging structure, eg season tickets.

The parking charges are being imposed to stem the deficit in the Park & Ride accounts and in the words of Cllr MacGuire, the Tory councillor in charge of the Park & Ride sites, ‘to catch’ people who don’t take the bus in after parking, but walk or cycle.

Liberal Democrats have warned of the risk of reducing usage of the Park & Ride sites, pushing parking elsewhere as well as increasing traffic in the city. We would prefer other ways of making money at the sites to be investigated, such as small-scale retail concessions, or reviewing bus operators’ departure charges.

Here is the formal traffic regulation order: P&R TRO

Send your comments to [email protected] by 14th February, quoting reference PR0074.

After a year of talking, the County Council unveils its Parking Plan

QUEEN EDITH CHAPEL THIS WEDNESDAY

Most residents of Queen Edith’s will know that parking is a big problem in this area. Lib Dem councillors have for many years been calling for action from Conservative-run Cambridgeshire County Council, the council responsible for parking management and highways.

Last summer the County agreed to set up a parking review group, to look at all of the south of the city, including Queen Edith’s, Trumpington, Romsey and some streets in Coleridge. Cllr Jean Swanson and I attended the first meetingabout a year ago, and since then Cllr Geoff Heathcock has represented Queen Edith’s on that group.

The County officers have visited twice, once to our South Area meeting at my request and again to meet residents in Queen Edith’s. It was made very clear that people were impatient with the long delays and looking for solutions soon.

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Expansion work starts at Babraham Road Park & Ride

Cambridgeshire County Council is starting work on extending the popular Babraham Road Park & Ride site.

The Babraham Road site is the most used of the five Cambridge Park and Ride sites and the expansion is needed to ensure there are enough parking spaces for people wishing to use the highly successful service into and across Cambridge.

Most weekdays the site is full for around two hours and 90% of spaces are taken for four hours.  On weekends, 90% of all spaces are full for three hours a day.

The expansion project will increase the existing capacity of 1000 car parking spaces by about 500 and add a further 80 sheltered cycle parking spaces. The extension is expected to cost £2 million, with funding provided from developers in the area served by the Park and Ride.

The construction will not affect the normal operation of the Park and Ride service. However a very small number of existing parking spaces around the work site will not be available. The extended site is expected to be available in time for Christmas.