21 March 2022
Cambridge Green Party has branded proposals for Mill Road “cosmetic” and demanded real solutions for the area’s traffic problems.
The Greens say the plans unveiled by the Greater Cambridge Partnership fail to offer a co-ordinated strategy to reducing congestion while maintaining access to Cambridge’s most vibrant street.
Naomi Bennett, Green Party City Councillor for Abbey Ward, said: “Mill Road is already rightly celebrated for its diverse businesses and vibrant community life.
“We have a great opportunity to make it even better, but we have to decide: do we want Mill Road to be a thoroughfare for cars or a destination in its own right?
“The proposals presented by the Greater Cambridge Partnership set out some cosmetic changes but suggest only the vaguest of ideas about reducing traffic.
“Without a planned, integrated approach to traffic reduction, congestion is going to get worse and that means more air pollution, longer bus journeys, and a less safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
“The consultation also seems to imply that we’re starting from scratch on these plans, when in fact the future of Mill Road has been under discussion for years.
“We need to learn from what has gone before, both in Cambridge and in other cities.”
Many local people enjoyed the car-free environment when the bridge was closed in the early days of the pandemic, but shopkeepers reported a fall in trade.
Cambridge Green Party believes the initial scheme was hampered by a lack of proper consultation and assessment of potential positive and negative impacts.
The Greens DO want a partial re-closing of the bridge, with a modal filter allowing buses, cycles, electric scooters, taxis, emergency vehicles and disabled vehicle users.
But they recognise other measures are needed to work hand-in-hand with that proposal : better enforcement of speed limits and parking restrictions, more disabled parking bays and dedicated loading bays to ensure traders can restock throughout the day.
Cambridge Green Party says reducing traffic will increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians and make space for positive changes such as wider pavements with more trees, seating and bicycle parking.
Councillor Bennett said: “As a disabled road user myself, I understand people’s concerns about restricting car access.
“Our society has become so dependent on our cars it’s difficult to envisage anything else.
“But as long as restrictions take account of real need to use motor vehicles, and go hand-in-hand with improvements to active and public transport, everyone can benefit.
“Ultimately what we want is for Mill Road to become a better place to spend time – for residents, traders and visitors alike.”
Image: Councillor Naomi Bennett waits at a bus stop