We have seen changes to traffic patterns as a result of COVID-19. Does this mean that we won’t need this project?
COVID-19 has led to significant reduction in travel in the short term and that may lead to a long term change. However, it is unclear as yet what the long term impact may be and there is evidence that traffic growth is recovering rapidly.
The local economy in Cambridge is based around growing technology and specialist sectors such as biomedical research. So the need to improve public transport, cycling and walking as a cleaner alternative to car usage is still relevant.
This project along with all of GCP’s transport projects aims to help get Cambridge moving again and support the City’s recovery from Covid-19.
What is the Cambridge Eastern Access Project?
Cambridge Eastern Access is one of four areas identified by the GCP Executive Board as being in need of a high-quality public transport route into Cambridge. It is one of four corridor projects that aim to provide better public transport and active travel routes for walking and cycling as well as offering alternatives to car use.
Why have you chosen Cambridge Eastern Access for a public transport route?
The key radial route into Cambridge from the east, the A1303 Newmarket Road, suffers from significant congestion during peak times as do the arterial routes of Ditton Lane, Barnwell Road, Airport Way and Coldham's Lane. This means that people can be sitting in traffic for lengthy periods.
Developments in the area, with 1,300 new homes under construction in the Marleigh and Land North of Cherry Hinton (LNCH) developments and the potential large scale redevelopment of Marshall’s/Cambridge Airport site, will place considerable additional pressure on the corridor.
We plan to manage this with an improved or new public transport route to avoid congestion and help people to make quicker, more environmentally sustainable and reliable journeys into and out of Cambridge from the east by public transport, walking and cycling.
There are lots of projects planned for the east of the city. How does this project fit with them?
There is currently a lot of development work happening in and around Cambridge. We regularly talk with those organisations undertaking other developments to understand how our project fits into the bigger picture.
This project, like all of our transport schemes, will deliver a better transport system for Greater Cambridge, which will help manage the impacts of developments proposed and currently underway.
Who decides whether to go ahead with the options?
The decision over the final options and whether to proceed to construction will be made by the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board The membership of the Executive Board can be found on our website.
Where will the funding come from?
The project will be funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership through the City Deal monies it receives from central government.
I live in east Cambridge. Do you want to hear from me or just from people who travel into the city?
We want to hear from anyone who has an interest in the proposals. Whether you live in, work in, travel to or from, or have a commercial interest in the area, we want to hear from you.
What allowance have you made to electric and autonomous vehicles?
Electric vehicles are already with us and are very similar to existing vehicles. As their range and number of charging points increase, they are likely to become widespread.
We have long been clear that we are committed to the use of electric zero-emission vehicles in our public transport schemes, and that our proposed schemes are designed to be flexible so they can adapt as technology advances.
Replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric cars would do nothing to improve congestion. There is a risk that as electric vehicles are considered to be clean, people may choose to drive more and create increased congestion.
The GCP schemes are intended to promote alternatives to use of cars, electric or conventional to reduce congestion in and around Cambridge.
The future for autonomous vehicles is less clear.
Driver aids are becoming ever more common and GCP is supporting trials of fully autonomous vehicles.
However, the timescale by which such vehicles would be freely operating in Cambridge is not at all clear but is likely to be some way off.
In any event, as with electric vehicles, there is a need to promote alternatives to the use of cars as public transport, walking and cycling are less likely to cause congestion.
What are the objectives?
Generate options that support the reduction of traffic levels in Cambridge to 10%-15% below 2011 levels, which equates to a 24% reduction from 2018 traffic levels;
Generate options for ‘quick-wins’ to address known problems that can be achieved over a period of one to two years;
Improve connectivity between existing settlements and identify the best package of measures to ensure connectivity is in place at the opening of new developments, thereby reducing the propensity for trips to be made by the private car.
Identify options which will improve the reliability, safety, capacity and speed of sustainable transport connections for those wishing to access Cambridge from the east.
How is this consultation different from the County Council’s Active Travel consultation?
Cambridgeshire County Council have recently run their Active Travel consultation looking at various locations across Cambridge to implement changes to roads to encourage active travel. One of those locations was Barnwell Road roundabout which this project is also looking to make improvements to. The county’s scheme is not connected to the GCP’s; however, we will continue to liaise with out colleagues at the council to ensure plans for the roundabout are consistent with our own.
What is the timetable for the project?
The results of this consultation and stakeholder engagement will be taken back to the GCP Executive Board - alongside further technical work – in 2022 to decide on next steps on the preferred options.
How does this project fit with the East Barnwell Masterplan?
Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridge City Council are keeping in close contact to discuss the impacts each project could have on the other.
Upgrading the Cambridge to Newmarket railway line was a popular opinion in the last round of consultation. What are you doing about looking into this option?
We are currently liaising with rail industry about improvements to the railway line. However, these works are part of the phase 2 longer term improvements and so therefore this will not be looked at as part of this consultation.
Phase 1 are short term actions that can be delivered by 2025. These address existing problems on Newmarket Road and elsewhere.
Phase 2 are longer term actions which could be introduced after 2025. These address the opportunities and challenges that may emerge from the Greater Cambridge Local Plan process.
What is happening with the Marshalls site?
The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service recently published First Proposals for the Greater Cambridge Local Plan. These will be subject to consultation from November 1st to December 13th. One of the proposals in the Plan is that the Marshalls site should be redeveloped to provide 7,000 new houses as well as employment.
If that proceeds then Phase 2 of the Cambridge Eastern Access study will develop a new high quality public transport link from the Park and Ride to Coldhams Lane.
How does this consultation link up with City Access?
Cambridge Eastern Access and City Access are closely interlinked and the consultation processes are running in parallel.
Why aren’t you doing something about McDonalds?
We are aware of local concerns about the impact of traffic queueing to enter McDonalds and will consider whether there are solutions to this problem that could be adopted without wider negative impacts.