The planning morons allowed big box car heavy retail to setup on the cheap inaccessible land to the east Cambridge, effectively screwing the city

Above, – bus jam in Edinburgh
There’s no bus jam in Cambridge. Well, no bus jam that is any worse than the traffic jam leading up to the bus jam so it isn’t a bottleneck.
I’ve marked up a map of Cambridge below.
The two train stations are in pink (east of town) and the bus station is in pink (smack bang in the centre of old town)
The bit circled blue is old town (banks, spendy shops, restaurants) and the bit circled red is chav town (cinema, primark, argos, etc) and big box retail. (asda, tesco, lidl, aldi, b&q, homebase, currys, halfords, etc)
The areas circled in yellow are the new uni campus and science park; the rest of the non-uni employment is either retail in the areas above or corporate campuses to the south of town (new new town)
The area circled in brown is functionally impassable in a motor vehicle during working hours. The streets squiggled in brown are functionally impassable during working hours.
As you can see, the rail stations are nowhere near anything useful. You couldn’t put them further away from places of employment or indeed leisure / retail if you tired. Furthermore they’re separated from these places by roads impassable by motor vehicles.
The planning morons allowed big box car heavy retail to setup on the cheap inaccessible land to the east of the city. These cars, and the cars from out of town attempting to access the old town, are what make the road impassable.
The logical place for this car heavy retail would have been the area marked orchard park, just off the A14, but that would have meant all the business rates going to south cambs council not cambridge city council. 😉
There is a park and pray facility where you can abandon your vehicle miles out of town and wait hours for a bus that takes hours to get ou into town and might never get you back again. I exaggerate slightly, but it’s absolutely the case that you may as well join the traffic queue due to how slow and infrequent the buses are.
The green arrows are 15-20 minutes by bicycle, 30-40 minutes by car, or 40-60 minutes by bus (as you have to allow for their infrequent running in addition to them driving as slowly as cars in the traffic.
Locals couldn’t give a stuff. We ride pushbikes or walk. Commuters to well paid jobs couldn’t give a stuff. They’re all on the outskirts of town and served by the A14/M11 directly. The park and pray buses are only for exploited workers who don’t live in the city because it costs too much and can’t vote there anyway.
You could largely fix this with road closures and three bus routes. Ring road closed to private vehicles during the daytime. [objection: people who live in the centre and the bix box retailers whose sites would be cut off from vehicular customers – solution provide car lane to server them] Buses run around and around that ring with no stops in the old town. [objection: old and disabled people who’d argue that 750 m is too far to walk to a destination that they cannot access anyway – solution one little shuttle bus across the ring] Buses between Milton park/ride and Madingley park/ride, probably going from Madingley to Milton via the north of the ring and from Milton to Madingley via the south of the ring to link the uni / science park / rail station; and for out of towners to access chav town and big box retail) Buses run between Trumpington park and ride and the ring via the main rail station.
Needs road closures (journey time / journey consistency) and investment/regulation (so stagecoach can’t run half a dozen shagged old diseasel buses at peak time then an insufficient service at other times). Won’t happen because in practice it offers zero benefit to those in the city who’d pay for it / be inconvenienced by the road closures.
Where it is viable to bulldoze things (the squiggly grey line) and provide dedicated bus routes the city is doing so. It’s a waste of time without the road closures on the squiggly brown bits though, and you can’t close those whilst big box retail is on the other side of them to all the people visiting it for tax reasons.
I would like to think that they’re not building a bus lane, and that they’re actually building car lane to allow the big box retail to be accessed via the A14 (only), so that they CAN then delete the route between the A603 and Tesco for private cars. I don’t think they’re that smart.
Irrelevant to all discussions whether the buses run on electricity or diesel; tyres or rails. It’s a basic transport planning exercise.
Park and cycle would be more popular. £5 to rent a boris bike or pashley tricycle for the day to get you to your exact destination, including proper provision for cycle parking in the city, rather than £5 to maybe get there eventually on a stinky old bus?
Or today probably park and charge. £5 to park, £X to charge, and £5 for an electric taxi into town that takes you (and a couple of others) to your final destination. You can do that with nissan leafs or similar today…except that stagecoach will kick up a fuss (they’re dead in this scenario) and so will the cabbies (they’d have to work harder for a living if journey splitting were the norm). £10 each way for a 20 minute / 3 mile journey each way in an EV is still plenty viable as a business. Screw any major investments other than EV charging to existing under utilised out of town parking locations and that painted on “free access” route to the big box retail for those wanting to take their own car in?

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