How do you get from Cambridge to Haverhill? Here are three proposals.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (City Deal) is presenting three travel strategies designed to get people in and out of Cambridge more quickly, reliably and in a more sustainable fashion. The route starts at the Biomedical Campus (the Addenbrooke’s site) and runs along the A1307 to Haverhill.

The strategies encompass everything from major new infrastructure such as a new Park & Ride site and rapid mass transport to lower cost improvements to the existing highways.

At our end of the route, the highlights are:

  • a right-turn lane from Babraham Road into Granham’s Road
  • extra covered cycle storage and electric car  charging points at the Babraham Road Park & Ride site
  • a multi-user path between the Biomedical Campus and the Babraham Research Campus, for cyclists, pedestrians and horses
  • a right-turn lane for the Gog Farm Shop entrance, and a staggered junction to replace the crossroads
  • an underpass at Wandlebury to make it easier for walkers to get across the road

More information can be found at www.greatercambridge.org.uk/CambridgeSouthEast. The GPC promises an advertising campaign and leaflets, though they have not materialised yet, despite the fact the first consultation events are this week.

The GPC is running a consultation running until 3rd April. There are various ways to take part, from letter and telephone to social media and the web.

There will be public exhibitions at various locations, including Queen Edith’s:

4-7 p.m., Thursday 15th March, St John’s Church, Hills Road

8-9.30 a.m., Wednesday 21st March, Babrahm Road Park and Ride site

For those unable to make these times and dates, there will be another chance to hear a presentation at the Queen Edith’s Community Forum AGM on Thursday 8th March, also at St John’s Church.

NB The meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning at the Babraham Road Park and Ride site has just been cancelled due to severe weather.

 

 

 

Park and Ride Victory

Parking charges at the Babraham Road and other Park and Ride sites will END on 1st April. After four years in which usage of the Park & Ride sites has slumped, County Council Conservatives have at last admitted the daily charge was a mistake.

When the Tories proposed the charges, I opposed them, knowing that drivers would just park elsewhere. Unfortunately, that “somewhere else has been outside our houses. In Queen Edith’s, we have been suffering from the extra parking for four years, so I am pleased the charges are at last being scrapped.

Last stop for the 114

Whippet is deregistering 17 bus services in Cambridge, claiming they are unprofitable. The following services will take their last journeys on 2nd September.

Service 1                   Hilton – Hemingfords - St Ives
Service 1A                 St Ives – Fenstanton – Cambridge
Service 2                   Cambridge - Hardwick - Toft - Caldecote – Boxworth
Service 3                   Papworth St Agnes – Papworth Everard – Huntingdon (Saturday journeys only)
Service 5                   St Ives - Hemingford Abbots - Hemingford Grey - St Ives
Service 7A                 Whittlesford - Babraham Road Park & RideAmanda Tayloramandataylor
Service 8                   Cambridge - Dry Drayton - Papworth Everard
Service 9                   St Ives - Elsworth – Hilton
Service 12                 St Ives Town Circular
Service 15                 St Ives - Swavesey – Over
Service 16                 Huntingdon - Oxmoor Circular
Service 18                 Newmarket - Fulbourn – Teversham – Cambridge
Service 21                 St Ives - Earith - Somersham – Ramsey
Service 45                 Huntingdon - Houghton - St Ives
Service 45A                Huntingdon - Houghton - St Ives
Service 114               Cambridge City Centre - Grafton - Beehive - Addenbrooke's
Service 117               Cambridge City Centre - Fen Estate

Here is a statement on the deregistrations from Whippet.

The 114 which runs between the city centre and Addenbrooke’s will be missed in this area. It has provided a useful route to the Beehive and Grafton Centres, as it runs down Coleridge, Lichfield and Mowbray Roads.

The County Council has been considering varying the frequency on this service; they will now need to retender it along with the other services. The challenge will be to find another operator who can make them work financially, given the passenger take-up and the congestion on the routes.

Thunder and lightning expected tomorrow

The Met Office is warning of the risk of torrential downpours and thunderstorms in Cambridgeshire tomorrow.

Very warm and very humid air is expected to arrive across many eastern and southern parts of the UK during tonight,  increasing the likelihood of some high rainfall totals falling over a short space of time.

Severe thunderstorms could occur during Thursday morning and early afternoon in the East of England and there is a further risk of thunderstorms developing later in the afternoon and then into the evening on Thursday.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain for the county from 6am on Thursday until 2am on Friday and there could be localised surface water flooding, especially if downpours fall over urban areas, with difficult driving conditions and disruption to transport also possible. Lightning and large hail are additional hazards which could lead to isolated power outages.

For more information, visit the Met Office websiThu

80K Elected Mayor? No thank you!

why

www.notoamayor.org.uk

The good news: The Government is proposing to devolve some powers, giving Cambridgeshire and Peterborough control over funding for new housing, transport and other infrastructure.

The bad news: in return, they are demanding we have an elected mayor. Unlike ceremonial mayors, elected mayors take executive decisions. The government’s plan is for an elected mayor to lead the new combined authority that would take decisions on the spending.

The Liberal Democrats have opposed having an elected mayor, at Cambridgeshire County Council and in other councils in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area (see my post on Peterborough City Council’s meeting). We have voted against the proposals, but have been outvoted by the Labour and Conservative parties.

I spoke on the elected mayor element at an extraordinary meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday.

Devolution is meant to be a step forward for democracy, but elected mayors are a step backwards, making government more remote from the people it serves. An individual representing a million people is not likely to have more than a superficial knowledge of local areas.

It is dangerous to concentrate power into the hands of one individual, especially as the proposals we have provide for no right of recall. I fear there is a risk of slipping into ‘personality politics’.

Ironically, it was that great populist Tony Blair who introduced elected mayors in 2000. But even he didn’t force them upon local areas: if cities wanted a mayor they had to get 5% of the population to sign a petition for a referendum, and only if that referendum was passed would a mayor be introduced. Out of 40 referendums, only 13 cities said yes. I remember that the Labour party in Cambridge tried to get a petition up for a mayor, though as we never saw it, we assume they couldn’t get enough signatures.

As there haven’t been any successful petitions anywhere else in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough, it looks as though people here don’t want an elected mayor.

We are told ‘a mayor is necessary’, but why? Why can’t the new combined authority just elect a chair from its own members? The case for an elected mayor has not been made.

We hear the mayor is going to have a salary of £60-80,000 and have an office costing about £300,000. And this after huge cuts to essential services to children’s services and social care!

I applaud the devolving of powers and welcome the extra funding for infrastructure, especially for new houses. But we must say that we do not want an elected mayor on a big salary. I think the public is very unlikely to support that.

UPDATE: Sign the Liberal Democrat petition opposing an elected mayor.

All aboard the Abbey-Addenbrooke’s Express!

115 busGood news! We’re getting a new bus service. Starting next month, the new 115 service, run by Whippet, will run hourly between the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The bus will stop at both Long Road and Hills Road sixth form colleges, St Bede’s and the Perse. In the other direction, it drops you off at shopping and leisure destinations such as Sainsbury’s, Mill Road, the Abbey Pool and the Cambridge United football ground.

The new service is a trial, funded by Section 106 developer contributions and will be made permanent if there is good take-up – so if you enjoy shopping, swimming or soccer, take a ride on the 115. Its first journey will be on Tuesday 3rd May.

Here’s a timetable and a handy map showing the route

The Queen Edith’s News is out!

You read it here first … local news on The Netherhall School, parking, bins, transport projects, and new voting arrangements.

If you’d like to receive news bulletins on council and community matters, drop me an email at [email protected], and I’ll add you to my list.

Should streetlights be switched off? and other hard questions

The County Council is at last consulting on its plan to switch off streetlights between midnight and 6am. Please take part in the Cambridgeshire Streetlight Consultation, running till 11th December.

This cut has generated a lot of concern especially in areas where people are around in the small hours, or the early morning. But it is just one of many proposed cuts that leave a bad taste in the mouth – other economies are to end mobile library services, stop community transport and school buses, slash the budget for roads maintenance, and reduce the funding for children’s centres and adult social care.

The cut is in response to the deep budget deficit that the County Council is grappling with this year, thanks to a poisonous cocktail of the government withdrawing funding and the population soaring.  To see the streetlighting proposals in context, you may wish to look at the wider budget consultation, Cambridgeshire’s £100 million budget challenge.

Hills Road segregated cycleway work has started.

Cambridgeshire County Council is starting to build new segregated and raised cycle lanes on Hills Road. The works are taking place off-peak between 930 and 330pm. The new cycleways are set to be completed in the autumn.

There will be cones and temporary traffic lights during these times to create a safe working area. Whenever possible a cycle lane will be kept open throughout the road works.

Some weekend closures of the side roads will also be necessary to enable the works to be carried out with the least disruption to motor traffic — but not until the spring. Here is a list of planned closures:Floating Bus stop leaflet_main page

Hills Rd closures

As part of the scheme, all the bus stops along this stretch will have new bus shelters.

Concerns have been raised recently about the amount of grass verge being lost, as well as the siting of the new bus stops. A group of Hills Road residents and I met the Cycling Team last week and discussed various issues.

For changes to the original scheme to address safety concerns, see my previous post here.

If you did not get to one of thepublic exhibitions showing the plans, here are some technical drawings of the road layouts, as displayed

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_012_REV G-2

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_011_REV G-3

Cycle lanes_C_5040001_HW_EL_010_REV G-5

Cambridge Joint Area Committee

Since September, I have been chairing the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC for short) is a joint County/City Council committee that handles a number of traffic-related matters in the City of Cambridge, including:

  1. Determining priorities for the Local Highway Improvement Initiative
  2. Traffic management, parking regulation, cycle and pedestrian schemes
  3. Advising on on-street and off-street parking charges.
  4. Advise on priorities for Section 106 funding for traffic management and other transport schemes
  5. Determining objections to Traffic Regulation Orders
  6. Resolving detailed design issues for traffic management proposals

The next meeting is on Tuesday 22nd 20th January, and councillors will be taking decisions on new parking restrictions on the Accordia Estate, cycle parking in Thoday Street, and pavement café licences in the city centre. To view the agenda, click here.