Cambourne needs better links to Cambridge

Everyone agrees that Cambourne needs better links to Cambridge.  The GCP has a remit to connect communities and employment areas and has stated its intention to provide better transport links for all Cambourne to Cambridge journeys.  In November 2017 the GCP embarked upon a consultation that ran until January 2018 to gain feedback on their proposals for these transport solutions.

The GCP sought feedback on a scheme that was made up of three elements:

  • A dedicated bus route between Cambourne and Cambridge, which should provide faster and more reliable bus services bypassing general traffic congestion
  • A new park and ride site off the A428/A1303
  • New high quality cycling and walking facilities along as much of the route as is feasible.

Decisions on the proposals were due to go before the GCP Assembly in June 2018 and the Executive Board in July 2018.  However, the GCP agreed a temporary pause to allow for alignment with the Combined Authority schemes and projects impacting this area.  The earliest that the Executive Board is now expected to make a decision on the project in Autumn 2018.

Bus Routes for Cambourne to Cambridge

The potential bus routes explore both on-road and off-road options, which are summarised below:

Option 1 – Low cost alternative option using the current road, following the A428 and A1303 into Cambridge as far as Lady Margaret Road.

Option 3a – Higher cost and off-road option. This would be a new and purpose-built public transport only route (no general traffic permitted) linking villages to the south of the A428/A1303 route and entering the city via Grange Road.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board selected this as the route, which best meets the wider City Deal objectives last October. The route is subject to more detailed investigation and thorough comparison with ‘on road’ options.

Option 6 – Low cost on-road option put forward by the Local Liaison Forum. It includes a tidal bus lane – in which buses could travel in either direction depending on certain conditions – for the A1303 west of the M11. Currently this option does not have any new bus infrastructure to the east of High Cross.

In my submission to the Board in January I made clear my preference for a ‘hybrid’ Option 6.  I objected to Option 3a (also known as Route C during the consultation) because in my opinion, it:

  • fails to deliver an adequate cost benefit ratio
  • inflicts the greatest environmental impact
  • and fails to respond to the short and medium term need to reduce congestion and journey times in the next 5 years – crucial to economic stability as we seek to sustain post-Brexit growth in our region.

I encouraged the GCP and LLF to continue working together to develop a predominantly on-road route. I suspect this will be a hybrid, containing features of Options A and B and the LLF’s original community driven proposal known as Option 6. My sense is that an additional “inward only” extra lane may provide the compromise required to engage residents living along the route as it approaches the City.

My submission stated “I believe this will provide the most cost-effective, desirable and realistic way of delivering the vision set out at the start of the consultation. Such a model would demonstrate prudent use of public money whilst being flexible and immediately responsive to the growing demands of our area.

I urge the GCP to be adaptive and responsive now, instead of focusing so heavily on future proofing the project’s infrastructure which in our fast paced landscape could become obsolete before it is complete. The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, East West Rail, potential for a Girton Interchange upgrade and the Mayor’s broader transport strategy will significantly change the local transport environment.

As such, given the more than acceptable journey times of an on-road solution, its modest price tag and swifter statutory development requirements I would urge against over engineering this journey section. We need to deliver something reasonable now.”

Park and Ride Facility

As of September 2017, the short-list for Park & Ride sites had been reduced to two, prior to public consultation.

The two short-listed sites are:

  • Water works
  • Scotland Farm

With regard to the new park and ride facility I expressed a preference for Scotland Farm stating:

“The Scotland Farm Park and Ride Site (P&R Option 1), when considered against the assessment criteria is in my opinion the preferred site. It offers a better solution to ease congestion on the Madingley Road stretch of the Cambourne to Cambridge journey and also offers a longer-term solution for city commuters from the west of Cambridge. I therefore support P&R Option 1.”

Further information can be found on the Greater Cambridge Partnership website.