Here are some thoughts on the Cambridge South East Transport project, following the Queen Edith’s Community Forum meeting and the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) exhibition evening. You may well have different ideas, but this is what I make of it.
Here are my 5 main conclusions so far
1. The ‘Strategy 3’ idea of a one-way busway from the A11 to Addenbrooke’s is a non-starter. It’s expensive for what it is; it serves the wrong side of the Biomedical Campus; and the council officers running the project think it’ll get the fewest people out of their cars. What’s more, the potential impact for the residents of Babraham Road is alarming. In my own response to the consultation, I shall be strongly opposing this.
2. These strategies were developed long before the Mayor and his consultants dumped the idea of a ‘rapid transit bus metro system’ on the city. However, Strategies 1 and 2 could work with this, by connecting their busway sections to the existing guided busway on the Trumpington side of the Biomedical Campus. If that then went into a tunnel at Cambridge railway station which led to the city, Strategy 1 might offer some sort of continuous rapid transit network from the city centre all the way out past Stapleford and Sawston to Granta Park (and one day perhaps even to Haverhill). For this reason it’s much more interesting than Strategy 2, which would terminate at Babraham Park & Ride. (The bus lane proposed from the A11 to there is one-way and could not be considered part of a rapid transit network). I’d like to see it properly landscaped to mitigate any Green Belt impact, but in my own response to the consultation, I shall be expressing the hope that the resources can be found to finance Strategy 1.
3. Many of the benefits of the bus lane along the A1307 can be gained without fully building it. I’m thinking of short sections of bus lane leading up to roundabouts, for example. There are some great ideas being proposed by the public to make small but cumulatively effective improvements to speed up bus journeys along the A1307. These need to be gathered up, studied and implemented by the County Council and GCP very quickly. Because…
4. None of this addresses the arrival of many thousands of people starting work on the Biomedical Campus in the next year or so. It’s staggering that we’ve got so close to them moving into Astra Zeneca, Papworth and other sites with so little having been done by the authorities to cover for the period before big projects such as the new railway station and the busways can be built. The worst case of what this might mean for Queen Edith’s and Trumpington doesn’t bear thinking about. 2019 could be chaotic.
5. We need to stand up for Nine Wells and the park on the Trumpington Meadows side of the railway line. The attitude of the planners to these appears to me to see them as obstacles. The impact of these transport plans on the green spaces, Nature Reserve and wildlife must be fully mitigated, whatever the cost.
Make sure that our voices are heard
As I hope most people know by now, the authorities want to hear our feedback. Everything about the South East Transport project can be found here, including ways to put forward your own ideas. If you do nothing else, complete the survey there (it’s really easy, and you can just tick ‘no opinion’ for ideas where you may not have an opinion; I did for many of those on the first page!).
It seems to me that the authorities consider this to be more about the people out in the countryside who they want to get into and out of Queen Edith’s more quickly. We need to make sure that our voices are heard as loudly.