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

Help us overturn Tory Park and Ride fees

Yesterday, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Conservative Cabinet voted to introduce a £1 parking charge at the five Park & Ride sites in Cambridge. This would be on top of the existing bus fares for those who take the bus, and people parking cars and then walking or cycling from the Park & Ride sites would be paying for the first time.

This is extremely controversial, especially because there has been no consultation with users, employers, residents or anyone else. Nor has there been any assessment of the risks, such as parking displacement or modal shift. I spoke at Cabinet myself and focussed on the danger of extra parking in our already congested streets.

The Liberal Democrats have called this decision in, which means it will be voted on again by a committee comprising councillors from all the parties represented on the Council. (more…)

Liberal Democrats oppose Tory ‘sweat tax’ at Cambridge Park & Ride sites

P&RWe are disturbed to see that the County Council’s Conservative Cabinet is due to consider a lightning strike on Park & Ride users, with the introduction of a parking charge. This would be on top of bus fares and is targetted at people  – such as commuters — who walk or cycle from the Park & Ride rather than take the bus. A sweat tax, if you like.

The Liberal Democrat group has called for the plan to be withdrawn, as there has been no consultation with the users of the service, the people living near the Park & Ride sites, with councillors in the city, or with the district or city councils – despite the statement in their paper that these groups have been consulted.

While it is right that charges should be reviewed to ensure the Park & Ride sites are run efficiently, it is not right to change things with no consultation. In Queen Edith’s, I fear that if charges are brought in at Babraham Road, our local commuter parking problem will intensify.

The Tories’ case for the charges has been badly presented, with insufficient attention to the risk of parking displacement and of the effect on sustainable travel.pound coins

We have called upon the Tories to drop their plans until they have consulted users and people living near the Park & Ride sites, as well as councillors representing people in the Park and Ride site areas.