Residents’ parking scheme about to launch

After many years of discussion and debate – plus plenty of legwork – residents’ parking is about to arrive in Queen Edith’s. It has been named the ‘Morley’ residents’ parking scheme after the excellent Morley Memorial Primary School in Blinco Grove; and it will include the streets from Elsworth Place to Blinco Grove inclusive, plus the stretches of the main roads that link those streets. The new scheme will operate Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm. See here for a guide: Parking_Guide___Morley_Area_2017

The new scheme will give residents priority parking within their area but it also takes into account the needs of local businesses and community facilities such as Rock Road Library.

The scheme will officially launch on 1st November. Residents can apply on the County Council’s website for permits for themselves and / or guests to park within the zone. Residents’ annual permits are £50 each.

I have been working with residents and officers for a long time on this and given the majority support shown when the Council consulted last year, I’m pleased that the scheme is coming in. It will give local residents a better chance of parking near their homes – very important, especially for people with medical/ care needs, or with young children — but it will also bring road safety improvements, reduce congestion and air pollution, and generally improve the local environment for everyone.

The other good news is that there will be no joining fees. Usually people pay a starter fee when they buy their first permit on top of the cost of the permit itself. Following requests from myself and from the Hills Road Residents’ Association, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (City Board) has agreed to fund the implementation costs.

Morley residents parking scheme

The County Council highways officers have been working on the back office systems for the Morley residents’ parking scheme, to ensure everybody eligible for a permit is listed properly. The scheme is bounded by the southern side of Cherry Hinton Road, the eastern side of Hills Road, and Blinco Grove.

The officers are about to order signs and pay & display machines, as well as book the yellow lining works. There will be letters to residents informing everybody that the parking scheme is going to be installed, followed by another inviting people to apply for permits. The first permits should be issued in September.

Streets need to be free of parked cars for the installation of bays to be installed and the painting of yellow lines. The Council is concerned that in the summer there may be some cars on the street belonging to people who are on holiday, which would frustrate the works – so the physical installation will take place in September, when the cars’ owners are less likely to be away.

The Council is about to commence consultation on seven new residents’ parking schemes, including two in Coleridge, starting on the other side of Cherry Hinton Road. Other areas of Cambridge should follow later this year. The Greater Cambridge City Deal have been asked if they will consider funding this scheme, as well as others, and we are hoping for a positive response.

For more information on residents’ parking, see https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/parking-permits-and-fines/parking/residents-parking-in-cambridge/.

Council road closure delayed

The road closure at Addenbrooke’s, due to begin today, has now been delayed until next Monday, 19th June. The City Deal has put the date back because there are extra underground utilities cables that need to be moved.

The road closure is to facilitate the construction of the next phase of the new cycleway on Hills Road and will involve the closure of the road between Long Road and the Addenbrooke’s roundabout to outbound traffic for approximately 14 weeks . There will be a diversion via Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road – see the plan on my previous post. The citybound lane will still be open to traffic.

The City Deal assure us that they will still meet the finish date of early September.

Hills Road cycleways: U-turn on total road closure but no end in sight

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has announced new plans for traffic management on Hills Road to facilitate cycleway construction.

Diversion routes for cycleway works

Having announced in January that they would close the top section of Hills Road entirely for five months, there has been some rowing back following public anger. The road between Long Road and the Addenbrooke’s roundabout will now be closed to outbound traffic for approximately 14 weeks, starting in June. There will be a diversion via Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road see right). The citybound lane will still be open to traffic.

The modifications to traffic management are welcome, but the works will still continue to be extremely disruptive to local residents as well as to people visiting the area, including the sixth form colleges and Biomedical Campus.

Outstaying their welcome

When the first phase of the cycleway works started in January 2015, it was scheduled to last 37 weeks. Over 2 years on, Phase I is still unfinished and it seems the Council cannot even organize simple things such as bus stop signs. The City Deal told us the second phase would take 11 weeks from February, but it is now not due to finish till September 2017. (They might like to update their website.

The project is the responsibility of the City Deal but is being managed by the County Cycling Team.They have given us a Q&A, which I can share with you here. FAQs Hills Road June TM

Any other questions or complaints should be directed to them at [email protected].

Why prospective elected mayors should pause after the Cambridge roadblocks fiasco

It appears that Labour/ Conservative proposals to fine drivers using key roads in and out of Cambridge in peak hours may be for the scrap heap, or at least the City Deal chair, Labour councillor Lewis Herbert, has declared them ‘unviable’.

It’s excellent that the huge volume of objections appears to have forced the Cambridge area’s City Deal Board into a rethink. But such a plan shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place, especially without proper exploration of other ways to achieve the very necessary aim of reducing traffic congestion in Cambridge.

The decision two years ago to introduce parking charges at the Cambridge Park & Ride sites resulted in half-empty car parks and a drop of 15% in bus passenger numbers. That clearly needs to be reversed. And we need an open and wide-ranging conversation including all who live or work in Cambridge, or visit the city for whatever purpose, about how to make travelling into the city more sustainable.

But the whole fiasco is also an object lesson in what happens under remote boards like City Deal, consisting of representatives selected by councils to make decisions at an extra remove from the public. And it’s an alarm bell about how decisions on all sorts of matters will be taken by the new ‘powerful Mayor’ of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and his ‘combined authority’, which will be foisted on us by the Government and by Conservative and Labour councillors from May next year.

City Deal consultation starts today

City DealThe Greater Cambridge City Deal is a partnership between central and local government to deliver new infrastructure in Cambridge and the sub-region.

It is managed by a board comprising leaders of the councils in the area (Lewis Herbert, Steve Count and Frances Burkitt), plus representatives from the universities and business. They have just launched proposals to tackle rush hour congestion and are proposing eight initiatives. Some of the proposals have had a mixed reception, particularly bus lanes at the expenses of trees. One that has generated a lot of controversy in this area has been the congestion checkpoints, which would block major roads at peak times, incuding Hills Road.

The package includes:

  1. Better bus services and expanded use of Park & Ride
  2. Better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure
  3. Improved public space and air quality
  4. Peak-time Congestion Control Points (PCCPs)
  5. A Workplace Parking Levy
  6. On-street parking controls
  7. Smart technology
  8. Travel planning

These proposals aim to transform people’s ability to travel into, out of and around Cambridge by providing more efficient, safe and reliable capacity for travel, without the need to get in a car.

There is more information on the City Deal’s website and at community hubs and employment locations across Cambridge, South Cambridge and beyond. A series of events and exhibitions are being held including three in Queen Edith’s:

Addenbrooke’s Concourse tomorrow, 12th July

Babraham Road Park & Ride site 13th July

St John’s Church, 20th July

Cross city cycling*

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has launched a consultation on five schemes designed to improve safety for people walking or cycling across Cambridge.

Accident clustersThe one that is of greatest relevance to us in Queen Edith’s focuses on the Long Road-Queen Edith’s Way- Hills Road junction, a key route for schools, sixth form colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It’s a difficult junction to negotiate by bike or on foot, with fast-moving traffic coming from all directions and it’s a known accident cluster, as shown on the County Council’s map. I have lost count of the times people have said the latest new cycle lane being built on Hills Road should have started at this junction, rather than just after it.

It’s an expensive project, and the money on the table is from the City Deal, a government-funded infrastructure programme granted by Nick Clegg when Deputy Prime Minister during the coalition government.

Exhibitions

There is a programme of exhibitions showing the proposals, and two are in our area: Addenbrooke’s on 18th January, and St John’s Church on 3rd February. Alternatively, you can see plans and comment on line, on the City Deal website. The consultation is open until 15th February.

* Not, as it looks, a description of the city or the cyclists – better with a hyphen, I think!