Theme 6) Supporting surrounding towns and villages

Supporting our friends and neighbours in surrounding towns and villages, sharing the wealth as well as reducing housing and rent prices in Cambridge and decreasing congestion

 

  • Do you work in Cambridge but live outside the city due to high housing and rent prices?
  • Are you part of the boomerang generation that left home to go to university or elsewhere, only to return to living with your parents due to the high costs of living?
  • Do you find that it is a struggle to get to and from events in Cambridge (and also beyond) because of the lack of public transport availability during the evenings?
  • Do you think surrounding towns might be more economically sustainable if they had better transport links to Cambridge?
  • Do you think transport in Cambridge needs a complete rethink given the long term high demand placed on a limited transport infrastructure?
  • Do you get frustrated that small things such as repairing bus stops seem to take far too long due to what looks like squabbles between different organisations?

 

This theme highlights one of the public administration problems in Cambridge. For those of you not aware, transport formally sits within the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council, rather than Cambridge City Council. Due to the political divide between city and country – former being predominantly Labour/Liberal Democrat, and the latter being predominantly Conservative, we’ve ended up with ‘policy paralysis’ on transport. Even though the 2014 local council elections are for the city council, we cannot ignore transport – or education for that matter

Recent history

The completion of the controversial Guided Busway, and the less publicised but just as successful cyclepath next to it. There has also been the confirmation of Cambridge’s second railway station in North Chesterton. Cambridge Station itself is due further improvements following the creation of platforms 7 & 8, along with rolling stock improvements. There has also been confirmation of a north-south cycle route called ‘The Chisholm Trail’ which will link Addenbrookes with the Science Park.[1]

 

A positive theme

This theme is just as much about linking people and campaigns up as well as the hard engineering. There are campaigns in a couple of towns that want to link up with Cambridge via railway – such as Haverhill[2] and Wisbech.[3] Furthermore, one of the consistent calls from sixth form college students at both Long Road and Hills Road is for a new railway station at Addenbrookes. The challenge campaigning students face is the very high turnover – they are only around for a couple of years before moving on. At the same time, they are also under huge pressure studying – something all too easy for adults to forget. The same is true for Anglia Ruskin University students – what difference would a direct rail route via Haverhill to Chelmsford have on the university given that Cambridge and Chelmsford host its two major campuses?

While the community portal Shape Your Place (http://shapeyourplace.org/) has shown success in the north of the county on community engagement, it is still to reach its potential in the south.

 

My proposals

  • A much more inspiring and co-ordinated approach towards transport planning and consultation
  • Work with campaigning groups such as the Cambridge Cycling Campaign (http://www.camcycle.org.uk/)  and the Campaign for Better Transport (http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/) to use transport themes to encourage young people to get involved in, learn about and influence democracy
  • Use social and digital media both to publicise interesting proposals such as the rail prospectus for East Anglia[4] and also to get a wider range of views – particularly on what they think will work and what won’t
  • Encouraging organisations that host events to give details of how to get to and from events via public transport – ideally with linked maps to bus stops and bus services
  • Offline events bringing people from the city and beyond together for community problem solving events – particularly when there are major consultations on, such as on local and regional planning

“A developed city is not one where more people have more cars, but one where more people – particular the affluent and/or those that have a choice, choose to use public transport.” (Inspired by Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia).

 

[1] http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/cycleroutes/chisholmtrail/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Campaign-for-a-Haverhill-Railway-C2CRP/506281336094588?fref=ts

[3] https://www.facebook.com/WisbechRail?fref=ts

[4] http://www.newanglia.co.uk/find-out-about-us/campaigns-to-unlock-barriers-to-growth/rail-campaign/

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