This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 84.
Transport Commission working away busily
The Cambridgeshire Transport Commission, a body set up to examine the County Council’s proposals for congestion charging plus up-front investment of £500m, has been busily working away over the last few months, holding an extensive series of public meetings (see article). They have acted in an open-minded way, and it has been fascinating to hear the views of a whole range of organisations, and with those views being challenged in many cases.
The economic downturn, and its consequent effect on housing growth, as well as an upcoming general election, all create new factors that Councillors will have to consider in deciding whether to go ahead with congestion charging. Much of the charge’s rationale has been based on projections of housing growth in the coming decade or so. It will be interesting to see what decision is made by the County Council when the Transport Commission reports back, after June’s elections.
The only thing that seems clear to me is that the Commissioners are not going to make up Councillors’ minds for them! Whether to accept or turn down half a billion pounds of investment is a choice that is their responsibility to make.
U-turn into a 20 mph area
There have been dramatic changes of policy concerning 20 mph limits in the last two months (see article).
Last year, the County Council went against government guidance on the creation of 20 mph zones. Less than a year on, there has been a very welcome u-turn on this issue. It will now be easier to introduce 20 mph zones in local streets without expensive and ugly traffic calming. The police are gradually realising that they need to adopt a more co-operative tone with regards to enforcement. And on the national stage, 20 mph is becoming more accepted.
A limit of 20 mph for local streets makes a lot of sense. Note that we’re not talking about major connecting roads like Huntingdon Road, Madingley Road, the inner ring-road, etc. We’re talking about local streets with large residential populations. Places for people, not cars.
Limits of 20 mph should be popular. It makes for safer, calmer streets which people are automatically more likely to walk and cycle in. It improves the quality of life for local people if traffic isn’t speeding through. And it should not significantly affect journey times for motorists, because the 20 mph section would only be at the start/end of an overall journey.
Local politicians need to be reassured that people want 20 mph. If you have the time, drop them a line.