Cambridge Congestion Charge

If you live in the Cambridge area like I do, you’ve probably also had a heated discussion about the congestion charge which could soon come into place across Cambridge.

Looking at the Congestion Charge map (Downloadable PDF, source article), it’s like someone gave an idiot a big black Sharpie and told them to go nuts on a map of the city – the whole of Cambridge within A14 and M11 boundaries is included in the congestion charge area! That’s inclusive of all the Park & Ride stations, the Science Park and the Addenbrooke’s hospital.

Of course, it’s for the good of the city, since “Cambridge is a medieval city and it simply wasn’t designed for motor cars”, says Shona Johnstone, Sharpie-armed village idiot council leader.

Sure, I appreciate that the center of Cambridge – in my eyes defined as the Grafton Centre and Lion Yard area – isn’t made for high traffic density. I also appreciates that this only applies to the hours between 7:30 and 9:30 in the morning.

But the Science Park? The Park & Ride areas? You’ve got to be kidding me! Isn’t the whole point of those being on the edge of town keeping cars outside of city centre and encouraging the use of such services?

I’m reasonably convinced that the owners of buildings in the Science Park will come out with pick axes against Johnstone, and that these areas will be excluded from the final ruling, but someone still thought it was worth putting forward the suggestion to include ALL of Cambridge in the Congestion Charge area. This leaves me with that niggling feeling you get when you sense that idiocy might still prevail over simple common sense, and that a repeated headdesk motion may be the only thing you’ll be left with.

Cambridge Council is wasting its breath on me trying to tell me it isn’t doing it for the revenue they can get from the thousands of people who enter the boundaries of the city every morning. Why else would it include high density, yet city-fringe areas? We’re not the ones wrecking havoc amongst the pretty stone streets of town centre. The only bloody benefit I see is that they might get cyclists off Mill Road.

So if you’re as convinced as I am that Cambridge needs to look at alternatives before dipping into our collective wallet, take action! You’ll find the petition against the Congestion Charge here and the Facebook group dedicated to discussing the issue here. The “official” Cambridge Congestion Charge discussion group is also a good place to go vent your frustration and find out what actions can be taken.

I would suggest that Cambridge look at the OC Transpo bus system in Ottawa, Canada – my hometown – amongst some, for tips on how to do a better job at offering us a more suitable public transportation service. I never appreciated OC Transpo until I came to the UK and realised that most towns have completely disjointed, technologically-incompetent companies running the show, leaving us standing in the cold rain – literally. Even in bloody mid-July!

Oh no, now I’m getting started on the weather, I really better stop here.

11 thoughts on “Cambridge Congestion Charge

  1. Liz

    It’s bloody idiotic, however hopefully it will make companies less ‘Cambridge centric’ and make them move out more to places like Ely and Bury St Edmunds both places are lovely and could do with the investment and annexing the Science Park, might just make companies look to move to more business friendly towns – hurrah!

    I still find it hard to beleive that they can just do this without any public consultation whatsoever – madness!.

  2. Tom

    It is a stealth tax, and targets the least fortunate among us – those who cannot afford to live in the centre who must commute via car. Leaders now have the required climate change guilt trip ammunition to put forward supposed green policy, when in actual fact there is no green bias on this whatsoever. Most of the public will suck this up, and buy their Prius’s in droves. The congestion charge will promote longer journeys, clog up the A14 and M11, move business out of the City, and cripple the already poor monopolised public transport system.

    Johnstone should not have any authority in the Council. The council could use the millions to invest in a fresh public transport system. The infrastructure is already in place, notably Park and Ride. It does work. Improving these would be highly beneficial. Plonking them into a congestion zone un-does all that hard work and investment in one fell swoop.

  3. Pingback: » Is the UK a democracy? (Or on Cambridge congestion charges) - The Crests of Reason

  4. Pingback: that canadian girl » Blog Archive » Further thoughts on the Cambridge Congestion Charge plan

  5. chocs

    first time reader…

    thanks for the link for the petition, i’ve seen the proposed area and as far as i can work out i would have to pay to visit my family and my dad says he would have to pay to get home as he works in shelford! total insanity, he’s not even going into the city center!!!

  6. Chris

    The centre of Bury St. Eds is getting pretty congested too these days, they would probably try to follow Cambridge’s lead if it wasn’t for their permanent conservative (and Conservative) council bias.

    What on earth are they doing including the park & ride in this, though… crazyness. Bring back trams to Cambridge, Mill Road is crying out for one.

  7. Robbie Bow

    I think the inclusion of the Science Park and Park & Ride is a deliberate red herring. It’s including so that the council can say they have listened to people and present a *new* map that is more tightly defined, with the P&R and Science outside of the zone. It’s a bargaining tactic. As to whether or not there should be a congestion charge, personally I find it to be a regressive tax system that penalises the poor the most. I don’t doubt that with the arrival of thousands of new homes in the area that traffic conditions in Cambridge will get worse and either we accept a 2nd world country standard of congestion or some form of filtering will be needed to reduce the amount of motor vehicles in Cambridge.

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