Big plans for the region’s transport future: make sure you have your say

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 153.

Many different local authorities want to hear your views on transport in Cambridgeshire this month: here’s a summary of four consultations you can respond to. For more information, and more detailed guides to help you shape your responses, visit camcycle.org.uk/consultations

Greater Cambridge Local Plan

Cover of the Local Plan First Proposals consultation documentShortlink: tinyurl.com/LocalPlan2021
From: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council)
Time to complete:
From a few minutes (for a single comment) to a few hours. This is a big document!
Format: Complete the quick questionnaire (anonymous) or give more detailed feedback online (log in required) using the comment boxes on each section of the plan. A downloadable Word document is provided to help you prepare your responses. Comments via email or post are possible, but not encouraged.
Deadline: 5pm, Monday 13 December

The Local Plan is a legal document that councils are required to prepare, setting out land use and planning policies. It looks at the number of new homes and jobs that should be planned for, the services and infrastructure needed to support this change and which areas to prioritise for new development. In the First Proposals document, the councils have set out their vision and suggested 19 new sites that they think might be suitable for additional development to meet the needs of the area up to 2041.

Camcycle’s view:
The vision – of ‘a place where a big decrease in our climate impacts comes with a big increase in the quality of everyday life’ – sounds ambitious, but it’s worth noting that a big decrease in climate impacts is enough of an existing challenge without the high levels of growth planned for our region. Transport emissions in Cambridgeshire are much higher than the UK average: there is a lot to do to address this. Every development must prioritise walking, cycling and public transport over private cars (including electric cars). Safe, convenient and inclusive cycling infrastructure (including secure parking) is essential.

Making Connections

Cover of the GCP Making Connections consultation brochureShortlink: tinyurl.com/GreenerTravel2021
From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership
Time to complete:
Around 30 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents if you want more information than that given in the survey)
Format: Online survey (with options to call 01223 699906 or email your response to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk)
Deadline: Midday, Wednesday 22 December

Making Connections is the next consultation on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s City Access project, following on from the Choices for Better Journeys consultation in 2019. The GCP wants to hear people’s views on ways to reduce traffic to free up more space for sustainable transport and to fund a much improved bus service with more frequent, lower-cost bus journeys.

Camcycle’s view:
We strongly support the aims of this project – including improving air quality and public health and freeing up road space for better walking and cycling infrastructure – and support the idea of a better bus network in principle. A combination of charging mechanisms could quickly achieve transformative change. If a congestion charge was introduced, a lower charge covering more of the city would result in fewer conflict and traffic displacement issues. However, we are not clear where all the additional buses will terminate or loop around in central Cambridge. A radical reallocation of road space on the inner ring road would be required, providing space for cycles, pedestrians, and buses at the expense of car parking and traffic lanes. Parking would need to be reduced to deter journeys and a high-quality, connected cycle network is an essential part of this scheme. How much of the revenue raised will go to active travel schemes?

Cambridge Eastern Access – Newmarket Road improvements

Cover of GCP Eastern Access consultation brochureShortlink: tinyurl.com/EasternAccess2021
From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership
Time to complete:
5-10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents)
Format: Online survey (with options to call 01223 699906 or email your response to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk)
Deadline: Midday, Wednesday 22 December

The ‘Eastern Access Better Public Transport and Active Travel’ project is one of the schemes the Greater Cambridge Partnership is working on to improve transport and reduce congestion in and around Cambridge. The first phase of the scheme is focusing on proposals for Newmarket Road – reallocating roadspace to bus and cycleways, improving the dangerous junctions at Elizabeth Way and Barnwell Road and relocating the existing Park & Ride.

Camcycle’s view:
All the Newmarket Road options include protected cycleways on both sides for the full length of the road, so we would support all of these. However, we note that options with shorter sections of bus lane may result in more space for cycling. Two options are offered for each of the major junctions: (1) a roundabout with some improvement over the current situation, or (2) a CYCLOPS-style traffic signal junction design, similar to the one recently installed at Histon Road. In both cases, the roundabout option appears to be far worse in terms of space and delay for people cycling and walking. Therefore we prefer option E2 for the Elizabeth Way junction and option B2 for the Barnwell Road junction, which are the CYCLOPS-style junction options. There are also three options given for the relocation of the Park & Ride, some of which may have an impact on the High Ditch Road junction of the A1303 (Newmarket Road). National Cycle Route 51 runs along the northern side of the A1303 here, and it is important that the cycle route is protected and improved in any design that is chosen.

Soham Active Travel

Map of suggested street changes in SohamShortlink: tinyurl.com/Soham2021
From: Cambridgeshire County Council
Time to complete:
5-10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents)
Format: Online survey (a paper alternative can be picked up from the Town Council offices on Fountain Lane or by calling the County Council on 0345 045 5212)
Deadline: Tuesday 17 January, 2022

The county council has put forward some ideas for changes to the roads in Soham as part of its plans to improve walking and cycling across the county. Soham’s new rail station is due to open in December: concerns about additional traffic, road usage or connections between sustainable transport modes can be shared as part of this consultation.

Camcycle’s view:
At time of writing, we are still preparing our views on the specific proposals. However, we support the principles of one-way streets with contraflow cycling (Cambridge’s Downing Street has been in operation for around 40 years!), HGV restrictions and widened paths for people walking and cycling.