The Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board has decided to stop the further development of the Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) proposals as part of the Making Connections scheme.
In a discussion at today’s formal meeting, the members discussed the results of last year’s consultation, the evidence gathered through the 24,000 responses, the amended proposals from officers and the feedback from the GCP Joint Assembly.
They collectively decided that while the aims of Making Connections to make travelling in and around Cambridge simpler and faster by saving time and money, would have eased congestion, and offered better, fairer, and greener travel choices, the STZ is not able to progress to Full Business Case due to a lack of political consensus.
Officers will now focus on other areas of the City Access programme looking at issues such as resident parking, road hierarchy and freight consolidation. This is in addition to the other infrastructure projects which include: 150km of Greenways, innovative busway schemes from Waterbeach to Cambridge and Cambourne to Cambridge as well as the significant improvements to Milton Road and Newmarket Road.
Cllr Elisa Meschini, Chair of the GCP’s Executive Board, said: “Last year’s consultation told us many things. We learnt seven out of ten people wanted cheaper, greener, and healthier ways to get around Greater Cambridge. The public told us they needed more buses to more locations, with cheaper fares and longer operating times as well as better walking and cycling infrastructure to give them genuine alternatives to using the car. We also discovered how those on low incomes do not have the access to cars which many perceived, how frustrated young people are by services which constantly let them down and how those in rural communities feel isolated by the lack of connectivity.
“These were the issues we hoped Making Connections would be able to tackle. However, we cannot escape the reality that the support for the Sustainable Travel Zone was not there despite the amendments made to the scheme. We understand without the groundswell of public and political backing for the changes which were being proposed they could not be delivered effectively.
“However, the challenge remains. Congestion in and around Cambridge is real and constant, grinding the city to a halt and this is before further growth comes to our area. We say this not to defend Making Connections but to bring a sense of perspective about what happens next. It is easy to say action should be taken, that something should be done about climate change or air pollution must be tackled for the sake of future generations but finding consensus as we have seen is difficult, requiring both courage and compromise. Going forward the GCP’s focus will be on delivering the safe, efficient, and much needed transport infrastructure communities, residents and businesses tell us they want.”