National Pavement Parking Ban?

Government Consultation – Have Your Say

Mill Road Bridges welcomes this consultation, which follows years of campaigning, nationally and locally. Parliamentarians of all parties, on the Transport Committee, including Cambridge’s MP, Daniel Zeichner, have been looking at this problem for some time. This could herald major improvements to shopping along Mill Road.

Now you can have your say in HM Government’s consultation on dealing with pavement parking, run by the Department for Transport (DfT).

We are not the only group in Cambridge to welcome this consultation. Cambridge Cycling Campaign (CamCycle) posted…

We very much welcome the government’s consultation on dealing with pavement parking. This is the culmination of many years of campaigning by national transport groups and disability groups, as well as local campaigning by us and others.

Parking of cars on pavements is a scourge which can be seen all around the city. It makes it difficult for people walking, using buggies, using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and people with visual impairments. It damages pavements, and in general treats other road users with a lack of courtesy. It causes injuries and deaths of people walking, particularly children, as a result of drivers trying to park their cars on the pavement.

CamCycle:  Pavement parking needs to stop – and government is finally consulting on it

Many national and regional newspapers carried this Press Association report, pointing out…

Disabled people and parents are particularly affected by parked cars blocking their way

Recent research from charity Guide Dogs indicated that 32% of people with visual impairments and 48% of wheelchair users are less keen to go out on their own because of antisocial pavement parking.

PA Media in The Guardian (Click to read the full article, on the Guardian website.)
Taxi on Mill Road pavement
Taxi on Mill Road pavement

New research by Guide Dogs shows the wide variety of people affected by pavement parking, and the everyday impact it has on their lives. Nine in ten disabled people, including those with sight loss, mobility scooter users, and parents or carers with children said they had been affected by pavement parking. 

Guide Dogs (Read their full blogpost here.)

Read/download Guide Dogs’ full report Blocked in: the impact of pavement parking – February 2020 (PDF) here.


How did it get like this?

Many towns and cities were not designed to accommodate today’s high traffic levels; and at some locations, especially in residential areas with narrow roads and no driveways, the pavement is the only place to park without obstructing the carriageway. However, irrespective of whether pavement parking is deemed necessary, there are inherent dangers for all pedestrians; being forced onto the carriageway and into the flow of traffic. This is particularly difficult for people with sight or mobility impairments, and those with prams or buggies. While resulting damage to the pavement and verges is uppermost, a trip hazard, maintenance and personal injury claims are also a cost to local authorities.

Dft: Pavement parking – Options for Change

But Mill Road’s pavements are wide, in places…

Whilst some sections of Mill Road’s pavements look wide, a large part of what you think is the pavement may be the shops’ forecourt, which they can use for outdoor stalls, seating or displays.

Businesses are allowed to use the forecourt area for sales, displays or seating

When cars, vans and lorries pull onto the pavement, it leaves little room for people to walk past. It’s even harder if you’re pushing a child’s buggy, or using a wheelchair. And should you have to pull your toddler out of the way of somebody’s car?


But isn’t pavement parking already illegal?

Since 1974, parking on pavements, with certain exceptions, has been prohibited in Greater London… [with] Exemptions at specific locations … indicated by traffic signs… The reverse applies elsewhere in England, where parking on pavements and verges is permitted unless specifically prohibited by a … Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). The DfT is currently … looking at how … to make TROs easier to implement, including for pavement parking.

Dft: Pavement parking – Options for Change

What about ‘obstructing the highway’?

The offence of unnecessary obstruction of the highway, which includes the road as well as the pavement … allow[s] proceedings to be brought by the police … where parking on the pavement, in such a way as to cause obstruction, is … avoidable.

Dft: Pavement parking – Options for Change

Understandably, CamCycle complain that “The police have failed to take action to address pavement parking,” however, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this website

Cambridgeshire County Council have had powers to deal with this for over nine years.

Councils with civil parking enforcement powers (including Cambridgeshire County Council) were given ‘special authorisation’ in February 2011 by the (then) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Norman Baker, to prohibit parking on footways and verges, wherever they considered it necessary. This would be through a traffic regulation order (TRO, or ETRO).

Protecting Pedestrian Space on Mill-Road.com (Click to read the full opinion-piece.)

Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 allows most types of parking contraventions to be enforced by local authorities [in our case Cambridgeshire County Council – Ed] as a civil matter, instead of as a criminal matter by the police. enforcement ceases to be the responsibility of the police and becomes the responsibility of the local authority…

Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs)… place Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) on offending vehicles [and] the local authority retains the proceeds from the penalty charges, which are used to finance the enforcement…* Any surpluses must be used for prescribed purposes only.

Dft: Pavement parking – Options for Change

* This means that enforcement would not increase council tax, and may even help fill a few of our notorious potholes.


What are the options?

The DfT outlines three options:

  1. rely on improvements to the existing TRO system
  2. allow local authorities to enforce ‘Unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’
  3. a national pavement parking prohibition

Read what the DfT says about these options, in full, here.

Which option is best?

  1. ❌ Cambridgeshire County Council would be under no obligation to do anything. The County have had powers to use TROs to deal with pavement parking for over nine years – powers they have not used, despite there being no cost to council tax payers. Option 1 would, effectively, mean no change to having to dodge cars, taxis, vans and lorries on Mill Road’s pavements.
  2. ❌ The same issues apply. Option 2 is simply an extension to the powers which Cambridgeshire County Council have been ignoring for nearly a decade. Would anything change?
  3. ✅ The effect of a national pavement parking prohibition would be to reverse the current situation. Cambridgeshire County Council would be obliged to enforce the ban, and would also have to decide where to allow pavement parking. (And, if drivers ignore the ban, the PCN revenue may even help to fill a few potholes.)

We can see why CamCycle write…

We encourage residents to respond positively to the government’s consultation and to support option 3 … In the meanwhile, we continue to ask why the police are not doing more to keep pavements clear for pedestrians.

CamCycle

But what about Romsey’s side streets?

Nothing would change about the parking arrangements along the narrow sections of (eg) Cockburn Street, Thoday Street and Catharine Street, unless residents asked for change.

Local authorities would be expected to decide where pavement parking remained necessary and to introduce the necessary exemptions and to place traffic signs and bay markings to indicate where pavement parking is permitted. The bay could be placed completely on the pavement where there is sufficient width, or part on / part off.

Dft: Pavement parking – Options for Change

What would change, is that it would become unlawful to pull any vehicle onto any of Mill Road’s pavements – and the same across the whole of Cambridge – except for specific exemptions. These would include:

  • fire brigade purposes
  • police purposes
  • ambulance purposes
  • delivery, collection, loading or unloading of goods to, or from any premises, in the course of business; where this cannot reasonably be carried out without the vehicle being parked on a pavement

Read the full list of exemptions on the DfT’s Pavement parking: options for change webpage, here.


Now complete your response

You can:
Respond online here
or
download a response form to email to Pavement.parking@dft.gov.uk
or
print out the response form to post to
Keith Hughes
Pavement Parking Consultation
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
LONDON
SW1P 4DR

If this all seems very complicated take a look at the Dft’s Easy read: parking on the pavement questionnaire.


If you would like to see a full list of consultation questions before you respond, click here. Note: this is not the response form.


You are welcome to leave (polite) comments below, to engage with the local community, but these will not be seen by the DfT or become part of the consultation.


Mill Road Bridge – Disentangling the issues

Nina Lübbren, Romsey, published this measured and sensible comment elsewhere on an invitation-only social network. It is reproduced here with Nina’s permission.

At this point, I feel it would be useful to disentangle several issues about the Mill Road bridge closure.

  1. The lack of consultation. Probably most of us would have preferred more consultation but also understand why no consultation took place (because of government requiring immediate action).
  2. The need for social distancing. We can probably all agree that it is vital to enable social distancing for anybody crossing the bridge. Pedestrians have to step onto the road to keep a distance. Cyclists have to cycle in the middle of the road to keep a distance. People in cars are protected from the air outside but are faced with pedestrians and cyclists on the road. This was not a safe scenario.
  3. Decreased traffic; less pollution. A separate issue to 1. and 2. As with last year’s closure of the bridge, the decrease of pollution and traffic (and possible moving of this pollution and traffic elsewhere) is a side-effect of the closure of the bridge. Neither last year’s or this year’s closure was effected in order to address pollution. A joined-up urban planning measure with due consultation and a gathering of statistical data (pollution levels etc) needs to be undertaken in order to address this.
  4. Adverse effect on traders. This can be linked to 1. above but does not affect 2.
  5. Accessibility. For those who cannot cross the bridge by bike or on foot, there will need to be provision made, and quickly. Again, this is linked to 1. but now that the urgency of immediate action has passed, I would hope that the [Cambridgeshire County] Council puts measures in place to address both 2. and 5.

Nina Lübbren, Romsey


See also:


Do you have views about the measures which Cambridgeshire County Council are taking? How is it working so far… for you? Whatever your view, as long as it is expressed politely, you can add your comments below. Or on many of the posts above.


Protest Walk

There has been significant opposition to the restrictions on Mill Road Bridge posted on various social media sites.

This protest has been spotted on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor, a localised social media site.

Poster text:

ARE YOU UPSET BY
MILL ROAD BRIDGE CLOSURE
AND UBSTRUCTIUNS?
EN0UGH TALK!

WALK THE WALK WITH us
THIS SATURDAY. 1 AUGUST 2020
Peaceful & distanced stroll up Mill Road.
across the Bridge. and back
Please gather at 12 noon — Petersfield Play Area
(across from Donkey Common)
This poster has been appearing in the windows of some Mill Road traders

The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of this protest or of the objections to the Mill Road traffic-reduction measures and associated restrictions on the railway bridge. Neither should this statement be read as one of opposition to this protest and its aims.

It is unclear quite who the ‘ad hoc committee of Romsey and Petersfield residents’ are, but Pamela Wesson of Fantasia, 64 Mill Road, Cambridge,
CB12AS
purveyor of “unusual and unnecessary items” has been most active on Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter.

Pamela has published, on Nextdoor, some of the responses to the poster. These are reproduced below.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing today to voice my support for the Mill Rd Bridge Closure. I live on Cavendish Road. I think the closure is working very well and makes Mill Rd much more pleasant to use as a cyclist and pedestrian. I do not understand the protests against the bridge closure. It seems unlikely to me that a large number of people drive to Mill Rd to shop given the limited parking, or that they are going to be significantly discouraged by having to park on one side of the bridge and walk to the other.

If anything, now that more of the road can be used by pedestrians, I would like to see provisions for more outdoor seating so that businesses suck as coffeeshops can serve more patrons.

I do not agree with the Mill Road Traders Association or the Ad Hoc Committee of Romsey and Petersfield Residents Against Obstructions and Bridge Closure on Mill Road that the bridge should be reopened.

Kind Regards,

K[…] N[…]

I have just got a flier through my door which does not specify any reasons for objecting the road closure but is planning a demonstration! Mill road is used by through traffic all the time. These people do not stop and visit shops or facilities on mill road, they cause noise, pollution and danger to our children.

I have not been able to cycleover mill road bridge with my children and as a result do not use shops on the town side of mill road. The one time i took my daughter over the bridge she fell off into the road! Wiith the bridge shut i’ll be hanging out and spending money on mill road more.

Shutting the bridge to commuters who have no interest in our community is a good thing.

I do not understand how it has a negative impact on anyone. Cycle or walk and if you must drive, just drive around!

I too now have to go the long way round in my car and i’m more than happy to do so in order to benefit my community.

I really do not understand objections to this scheme. Please can you explain?

L[…] (Thoday Street)

Asked, by another commenter on Nextdoor, “why are you posting copies of other people’s opinions etc?” Pamela responded, “Not fussed by showing other opinions. Often just showing them reveals why I personally oppose them.”


We are happy to publish your (polite) opinions on the Mill Road traffic-reduction measures and associated restrictions on the railway bridge, in the comments section of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge restrictions post. The How is it working so far… post is also open for comments.


Interestingly, in addition to a leaflet from the ‘ad hoc committee of Romsey and Petersfield residents’ (see poster above) a leaflet expressing opposing views from Cambridge Cycling Campaign (CamCycle) based on this post – Camcycle repeats call to county to fast-track improvements on Mill Road – on their website appeared on our web-editor’s doormat on Friday 31st July.

The leaflet also referenced a recent letter to Cllr Ian Bates, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee. See below.

Click on the image to read/download the full 3-page PDF letter.

This post is also open for comments, but please limit these to this protest walk (ahead of the walk, during the walk, or afterwards).

If you have photographs to accompany your comments, please email them to us, from the same email address which you used for your comment.


See also:


Mill Road Bridge – Blue Badge Petition

Romsey resident, Ruth Greene, has started this petition.

To allow Blue Badge holders have access over Mill Road Bridge, Cambridge

Cambridge Council took the decision to widen the pavements over Mill Road Bridge, without consultation and only 2 days warning. Their reasoning was to encourage people to social distance. 

This will allow access for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport & emergency vehicles. This work is permanent, not temporary.

However, no access for Blue Badge holders, taxi drivers or private vehicles. I believe the Council has said it will review access for Blue Badge holders in 6 months.

Discriminating against the disabled is disgusting – and contravenes the Equalities Act 2020.

Work will also be done to widen some of the pavements both sides of the bridge – at the moment they are just screened off. We were not informed of this.

Not every resident on Mill Road is able to ride a bike or walk very far. Taking a taxi will cost more because of the circuitous route that the driver will have to take – and the disabled and elderly are not all made of money! And yes, I am walking disabled, not allowed to drive and cannot walk far without pain.

Please sign up to this petition, and compel the Council to re-think before it is too late.

Ruth Greene, Romsey Resident

Click here to go to the petition and decide whether to support Ruth.


See also these related items:


This post is not open for comments. Signatories to Ruth’s petition can leave them with their vote.

Comments on this website could be left below one of these posts.



Petition: Allow taxis to go, where buses go

Rashel Mohammed started this petition to Cambridgeshire County Council

Mill Road Bridges exists to give a voice to all who live in, trade in, shop in, visit, or have an interest in Mill Road. Our linking to this petition should not be read as support. Neither should this statement be read as opposition.

By excluding taxis access on Mill Road Bridge will discriminate against the elderly, or people with disabilities who are totally reliant on a door-to-door service. 

These individuals are statistically more likely to not own a vehicle or cycle and have mobility problems. Furthermore, in these challenging times they may have significantly less disposable income with which to pay additional costs associated with travelling the much longer routes incurred as a direct result of the diversion, for instance doctors appointments or essential shopping trips.

Rashel Mohammed

Click here to see the full petition, and decide if you wish to sign.


Don’t forget: If you have a petition about any aspect of Mill Road, let us know and we’ll usually be happy to link to it.


You can also add your (polite) comments below, or in the comments section of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure post or the How is it working so far… post.

See also:


Petition opposing the bridge closure

(Technically this is a restriction rather than a closure)

Mill Road Bridges exists to give a voice to all who live in, trade in, shop in, visit, or have an interest in Mill Road. Our linking to this petition should not be read as support. Neither should this statement be read as opposition.

Click on the image to go to the petition

James Youd, Labour Organiser started this petition to Cambridgeshire County Council.

Cambridgeshire County Council has is using £575k funding to implement a number of Experimental Traffic Orders (ETO) to completely shut several roads in Cambridge for an initial period of 6 months without consultation.

The most drastic of these in the closure for all traffic expect buses, cyclists and pedestrians of Mill Road bridge…

James Youd

Click here to see the full petition, and decide if you wish to sign.


Don’t forget: If you have a petition about any aspect of Mill Road, let us know and we’ll usually be happy to link to it.


You can also add your (polite) comments below, or in the comments section of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure post or the How is it working so far… post.


See also:


How is it working so far…

Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure


Some comments on Twitter prompted the web-editor to take a look, and to create this post – examining barrier positioning, pavement safety and the problems on Mill Road Bridge.


Pavement parking (including loading/unloading) is problematic. These vehicles were spotted on Friday 26th June between 16:35 and 17:11.

If the intention of these works was to enhance pavement space for pedestrians, it seems self-defeating if vehicles are still permitted to mount the pavements. See my personal view about Protecting Pedestrian Space.

Some of it is habitual on behalf of drivers, but some is a direct result of mis-placed barriers by Cambridgeshire County Council, as in this case at Arjuna.

Annotated photo from Arjuna wholefoods co-operative

More on Arjuna’s criticism of the scheme here – Arjuna calls Mill Road scheme ‘potential disaster zone for traffic and pedestrians alike’ by Mike Scialom, in the Cambridge Independent.


Meanwhile, on Mill Road Bridge, I spoke to a retired gentleman, sunning himself on the Suzy Oakes commemorative bench, who told me, “I’ve been sitting here half-an-hour and counted 47 vehicles.”

This level of infringement is borne out by these vehicles, observed on Friday 26th June between 17:28 and 17:36. Some drivers may not have been aware and not have read the signage. But it is difficult to believe that the taxi driver was unaware of the closure, following the noisy demonstration on Wednesday 24th June.


We are waiting for an accident…
Two accidents reported yesterday at Romsey side.

Piero d’Angelico
Video Friday 26th June from Piero d’Angelico

And these vehicles, observed on Sunday 28th June between 16:08 and 17:40.

Notice, again, the taxis, the two supermarket delivery vehicles (Asda and Sainsbury’s, the close-passing of cyclists and the congestion at the top of the bridge. Note also the cyclist on the pavement – avoiding the hazardous layout of the carriageway.

The situation is hazardous. It would appear that some drivers are aware that the ANPR enforcement cameras have not yet been installed. Others have failed to read the warning signs, or think rules don’t apply to them. Signage need to be clearer.

More explicit signage – No Entry except buses and cycles – is needed urgently. A rethink of the width and positioning of the pavement ‘build-out’ barriers needs to be undertaken, so that cyclists are not put at risk by those drivers who fail or decline to observe the signs.


You are welcome to post (polite) comments on bridge infractions and safety, on the layout of barriers, and on pavement below.

If you wish to comment more generally on the merits and disadvantages to the scheme generally, please add them to the comments section of the parallel post – Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure.


See also:


Blue Badge holders access to Mill Road

Could an exemption apply?

In our Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure blogpost we raised the question of potential exemptions for Blue Badge holders. However, it’s complicated, as A lifeline for blue badge holders on Mill Road bridge? – a report in the Cambridge Independent, by Mike Scialom – reveals.

Blue badges belong to individuals, regardless of whether they are a car drivers or not. They can be used by friends and relatives when giving the blue badge holder a lift etc. So they aren’t tied to a car, but an individual, so not sure how easy access would be given…

blue badge holder Suzanne Morris, quoted in the Cambridge Independent

We had a long and detailed comment, from Margaret, which deserves its own blogpost. Her full comment is published below. If you wish to reply to Margaret you can do so here, in the comments section of our post: Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure.


 I agree that this closure of the bridge to cars causes problems for people with disabilities.

My son has a Blue Badge. The poster who cited the arrangements at Cambridge Station for Blue Badge holders as being a workable arrangement probably hasn’t experienced the appalling bureaucracy and the threats from the Car Parking Company. My son doesn’t drive, and we don’t have a car. His support workers do.

The car parking Company makes you register the vehicle not the Blue Badge. This means that we can’t use the Disabled Bays, because of the appalling time-consuming process you have to go through every time there is a different vehicle being used to transport my son. And it seems, even when you have registered, the system issues you with a fine if you need to park at the station the day you have registered.

Last year we had 18 different support workers, most of whom used their cars to transport my son. You cannot register more than one car with a Blue Badge. This means every time there is a different vehicle you have to go online, take a picture of the badge, upload it to their website, fill in a detailed form. This takes me hours and help from several people. We aren’t all able to do this sort of thing. When my son needed a different car with a different driver, we had to go through this all over again.

What I didn’t realise was that we weren’t registering a second car, we were automatically deregistering the first one as well. The system didn’t tell me this. And you try phoning them up! Each time it was at least a 40-minute wait to get through and then you are given wrong information. The [people] from the parking company who set up this system fail to account for the fact the Badge belongs to the disabled person and not to any vehicle. They don’t care. They care nothing about disability issues.

The two railway companies involved at Cambridge station aren’t bothered either. The car parking company is acting as the agent of the company that runs the Station. The NCP should either have staff going round the car park checking the Blue Badge’s validity or, if they insist on scanning, they should scan the badge itself on entry or exit. Instead they rely on number plate recognition.

After I registered the second car, we then found that I needed to re-register the first one. I had an email saying this had been done and off the driver went with my son. But a few days later he then received a threatening letter from NCP imposing a heavy fine – nearly £100.

It took hours and hours of my time over several weeks to get them to cancel the fine. I asked for an apology but never received one. This system blatantly fails to provide for disabled people’s needs. And I, as the principal family carer, need this sort of problem like I need a hole in the head. So, the outcome is that now we never park at the station. I bet the same problem would apply if a Blue Badge exemption was brought in for crossing Mill Road.

Now we have to use taxis if we need to drive to the station the journey time and the cost has gone up because taxis can’t cross the bridge. Last summer when the bridge was shut, and Mill Road was chaos with the gas main, we hardly went into town at all because buses weren’t running, and taxi journeys were an expensive nightmare. Many drivers refused even to accept the fare when they heard where we lived. We are now back with the very expensive and unnecessarily lengthy taxi journeys. We are not getting on a bus at the moment for safety reasons.

Oh yes, and I think the street where we live will now become a rat run for vehicles needing to turn round before the bridge.

Thanks a million.

Margaret, here, in the comments section of our post: Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure

James Youd, Secretary of Unite the Union Cambridge Community branch, together with Cambridge City Councillor, and former mayor,Gerri Bird have started this petition – Stop Road Closures – Cut Cambridge congestion through action.


This blogpost is not open for comments, but the comments section of our post: Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure remains open.


See also:


Bridge closure protest

Mill Road Traders' Association protest poster
Click the banner to go to the comments section

Mill Road was brought to a standstill on Wednesday 24th June 2020 by a protest on Mill Road Bridge organised by the Mill Road Traders’ Association.

Tweeters, bloggers, vloggers, journalists were out in force.

Video from local independent vlogger, Mick Brown, aka Lord Drainlid

Cambridge News published an article by Local Democracy Reporter, Benjamin Hatton, Chants of ‘Don’t Kill Mill Road’ as major Cambridge route brought to a halt in bridge closure protest. (click through for full report, photos and video.)

Mill Road TV produced this slideshow.

Reporters from BBC Look East (West edition) and ITV News Anglia were in attendance. Both featured the demonstration on their respective evening’s bulletins. Unfortunately BBC Look East (west edition) is not archived on iPlayer. The coverage on ITV News Anglia is archived.

View the ITV News Anglia report here.
Protesters block bridge over council’s plans to close Cambridge road, including a video report by ITV Anglia’s Claire McGlasson. (This link will work for as long as this report is archived. We are unsure how long this will be.)

This and the BBC report are solely on the demo, whereas Jeremy Sallis, on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s ‘Brunchtime live’ had a range of interviews and opinions:

  • Katherine from Little Petra – in the news bulletin at 1hr 1min
  • Pamela Wesson from Fantasia – in the report feature at 1h 08min
  • An email from Sweet & Maurizio – following the above
  • Tom Holbrook from 5th Studio Architects – at 1hr 26min
  • Pamela (reprise clip) – in the news bulletin at 2hr 00min
  • Cambridgeshire County Councillor Linda Jones – following the above

(This programme was available for one month. It has now been deleted.)


Cllr Linda Jones and Fantasia’s Pamela Wesson discussed Mill Road bridge restrictions on Cambridge 105 FM.


While, over at the Cambridge Independent, Alex Spencer, published Mill Road protest hailed a ‘huge success’ with photos and Twitter videos from Local Democracy Reporter, Benjamin Hatton, and others.

Here are a selection of Ben’s tweets.

We also have this statement from Cllr Ian Bates

‘Receiving funding for more than 90 schemes to improve cycling and walking transport links across the county is good news for Cambridgeshire. it will allow people to get out and about during the pandemic while enabling them to stay safe and maintain social distancing.

“Just to be clear – Mill Road bridge will not be shut to all vehicles – it will remain open to buses as well as cyclists and pedestrians. The measures we are putting in place – such as wider footpaths – will allow for more pedestrian space, which will increase accessibility and is essential for people to adhere to social distancing as lockdown is gradually eased and our towns, villages and cities start to open up again.

‘The money for the scheme is part of the governments emergency active travel fund: and must be used within eight weeks. As we are in the middle ofa pandemic, we are working on these projects quickly.

However, these measures are only temporary and people will have the opportunity to feedback to us.

“We welcome all feedback from those afiected by the changes. including shop owners, local residents. cyclists and those that worship on Mill Road. it’s important also to note that the changes are being made under an Experimental Trafiic Regulation Order (ETRO). The use of an experimental order allows for the consultation to run alongside the implementation of the scheme and amendments can be made to the scheme during the life of the experiment.”

Cllr Ian Bates, Chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council

This post is nor open for comment. There is much more information on the associated post – Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure – and over 120 comments, in the comment section. You are welcome to add your (polite) comment, or reply to another commenter there. (It’s just housekeeping: it’s tidier if all the comments are in one place.


See also:


Wider footways, barriers and bridge restrictions

Index:

Temporary cycling and walking measures are being put in place across Cambridgeshire during the Coronavirus crisis to help people get out and socially distance during this pandemic.

One of the first schemes is Mill Road, Cambridge, where from Wednesday, 24th June work started to widen footways using temporary barriers. Where footpaths have been widened, the road will be narrowed and there will only be sufficient carriageway width to allow one vehicle past at a time, so give-way features will be introduced at each section of widened footway.

Mill Road Bridge has been closed to all vehicles except buses and cyclists, the closure will be enforced by signs and automatic number plate recognition cameras.

Many of Cambridgeshire County Council’s schemes are being authorised under Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETRO) which will be in place for 18 months.

The first six months of each ETRO will be a consultation period.

You can give feedback either via email at:
policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
or in writing to:
Policy and Regulation Team
Highways Depot
Stanton Way
HUNTINGDON
PE29 6PY

Pavement widening and the bridge closure could be made permanent. Alternatively, more permanent measures could be considered.


The information above is taken from the Cambridgeshire County Council’s press release, which you can read here: Cycling and walking support in midst of pandemic. The PDF of the full range of proposals discussed at the council’s Highways and Transport committee meeting on 16th June 2020 can be read/downloaded here. It should be noted that this scheme (and others throughout the county) are subject to Statutory Guidance from the DfT.

The official documentation can be read/downloaded here:

One rumour needs to be put to rest immediately. There is NO plan to make Mill Road a one-way road in whole or in part.
This idea was mooted at one point, but it was removed at the request of Mill Road’s county councillors – Linda Jones (Petersfield) and Noel Kavanagh (Romsey).

We were surprised that this was ever on the agenda as the Cambridgeshire County Council’s own paper Improving the local highway – Route management – Close road to through traffic says of one-way streets, inter alia:

If a road is currently a narrow two way street where motor vehicles need to slow down to pass each other, changing the road to a one way street will increase vehicle speeds. Vehicle drivers may also be tempted to drive faster because they do not expect any oncoming vehicles.

If motor vehicles speeds increase, this will reduce how safe the road is.

Improving the local highway – Route management – Close road to through traffic, Cambridgeshire County Council [Undated, accessed 21/06/2020]

We enquired as to where the idea was mooted…

It appears to be a hang-over from last summer’s gas-main works along Mill Road (simultaneous with the bridge works) when there was a suggestion that to ease the gas-main works there should be one-way traffic along the Petersfield (city end) section of Mill Road. This was dropped as likely to create more problems than it solved.

The question was asked, within county highways, whether this would be a useful element for the Covid-related Experimental Traffic Regulation Order.

Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’ have the two local Cambridgeshire County Councillors – Councillor Linda Jones, Petersfield, and Councillor Noel Kavanagh, Romsey – to thank for ‘having our backs’ on this, both insisting that bus service provision must be at the heart of any scheme for Mill Road.


Walkability, Rideability, Liveability…

Smarter Cambridge Transport have useful background information in this post – Reducing Traffic Congestion and Pollution in Urban Areas – from 12th December 2016.

Shopping and cycling – the evidence | Cycling Embassy of Great Britain also has a wealth of information. (Thanks to commenter ‘Wookey’ for this link. Read the full comment here.)

Living Streets published The pedestrian Pound The business case for better streets and places (PDF) in 2018. This was a update on the identically entitled The pedestrian pound The business case for better streets and places (PDF) commissioned from Just Economics five years earlier.

This report presents evidence that investment in better streets and places delivers quantifiable commercial returns. Businesses, residents, developers and visitors all benefit from investment in the public realm and walkability.

Promoting walking and cycling now underpins much national and local policy, with a strong evidence base showing the benefits for health, air quality and the wider environment. Active travel also complements efforts to revive high streets and create liveable, vibrant communities. Although walking and cycling infrastructure requires less comparative investment, it has generally been treated as the ‘poor relation’ of infrastructure spending and is still often an afterthought in urban planning. At a time when public resources are scarce, improvements to streets should be attractive to governments seeking high returns from public spending.

The business and commercial case for investing in walkability remains a challenging area within which to make robust claims about commercial returns. This is largely due to the absence of evaluations at the post-build or post-intervention stage. Five years on from the publication of The Pedestrian Pound hard, quantitative assessments remain very rare.

Does investment in the public realm and walkability create additional commercial benefits? There is a growing body of qualitative and case study evidence which, when evaluated alongside the available quantitative data, shows public realm investments deliver significant, cost-effective benefits to consumers and businesses.

‘The pedestrian Pound The business case for better streets and places’ (PDF) Living Streets, 2018

Whilst CityMetric adds a note of caution: Everyone loves pedestrianisation – but what if it made all retail districts look the same?


Camcycle are very much in favour…

There is an excellent question and answer explainer on the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website – County council approves bold plan to help more people cycle and walk safely during the pandemic recovery.


Extinction Rebellion add their views

Camcycle and Extinction Rebellion back Mill Road’s active travel changes – report in the Cambridge Independent, by Mike Scialom.

The plans include the closure of Mill Road Bridge to private motor vehicles, a step that many residents have requested for some time. Currently, it is impossible to socially distance while walking or cycling down the road, especially once on the bridge, yet doing so is crucial to containing the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown cannot be eased safely without taking extra measures such as this.

Extinction Rebellion Cambridge (XRC) quoted in the Cambridge Independent

However, Mill Road Traders Association are far from happy…

Traders reacted with shock after a surprise decision by Cambridgeshire County Council that Mill Road bridge in Cambridge will close next week to all traffic except bikes and buses.

Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent

Read the full report – Traders alarmed by Mill Road bridge traffic plan – with quotes from Piero d’Angelico, Abdul Arain, and local county councillors, Linda Jones, and Noel Kavannagh, here.

And from the Cambridge news – Mill Road at war as bridge graffitied in car ban protest while others say yes to closure.

The Mill Road Traders’ Association does not, as yet, have campaigning posts, nor a petition on their website. We are in touch with the traders representatives, and will link to anything they publish.


The Mill Road Traders’ Association organised a protest, closing off Mill Road Bridge. Click through for links to full reports and videos.

Mill Road Traders' Association protest poster
Click the banner to go to reports and videos of the protest

The positioning of some barriers isn’t well-thought-out…

Annotated photo from Arjuna wholefoods co-operative

This has prompted us to publish a separate post – How is it working so far… – looking at barrier positioning, pavement safety and the problems on Mill Road Bridge. It is ironic that measures to increase space for pedestrians, leads to pavements being blocked by vehicles. This is, as another trader pointed out to us, “An accident waiting to happen.”

It is noteworthy, though, that Arjuna have long been pulling their vehicles onto the pavemen for loading/unloading. They have said that it “helps the traffic” Unfortunately it prioritise drivers of motor vehicles over pedestrians, including their own customers.

More on Arjuna’s criticism of the scheme here – Arjuna calls Mill Road scheme ‘potential disaster zone for traffic and pedestrians alike’ by Mike Scialom, in the Cambridge Independent.


Meanwhile James Youd, Labour Organiser has started a petition to Cambridgeshire County Council, opposing the closure. Read more


How to help blue badge holders

It’s complicated, as A lifeline for blue badge holders on Mill Road bridge? – a report in the Cambridge Independent, by Mike Scialom reveals.

Blue badges belong to individuals, regardless of whether they are a car drivers or not. They can be used by friends and relatives when giving the blue badge holder a lift etc. So they aren’t tied to a car, but an individual, so not sure how easy access would be given…

blue badge holder Suzanne Morris, quoted in the Cambridge Independent

Read the full article here.

We have received a long and detailed comment, from Margaret, which deserves to be widely read. Find it here in the comments section.


James Youd, Secretary of Unite the Union Cambridge Community branch, together with Cambridge City Councillor, and former mayor,Gerri Bird have started this petition – Stop Road Closures – Cut Cambridge congestion through action.


Over Mill Road Bridge are in support…

For those who support the proposals, the Over Mill Road Bridge website – a campaigning organisation set up in 2018 by Romsey Labour Party – have posted County Council Proposes Covid-19 Safety Changes to Mill Road, in which they say:

Following our campaign to make Mill Road safer during the Covid-19 epidemic, we’re pleased to see Cambridgeshire County Council has now proposed a number of changes. These include the closure of Mill Road to most motor vehicles at the bridge.

Paul, Over Mill Road Bridge

There is also a form to ‘send a supportive message to the County Council’.


Need for signage to help traders…

Will Mill Road have clear signage at both ends? It is essential that Cambridgeshire County Council install something appropriate, like this…

We contacted our local Cambridgeshire County Councillors.

When the Mill Road Bridge was closed as a result of GoviaThameslink’s work, last summer, there was, at least initially, inadequate signage to inform vehicle drivers and others that all of Mill Road’s businesses were open, but the bridge was closed.

Members and officers worked hard to get GTR to comply, for which thanks is due.

With the Covid-related works about to commence, trust there will be no issues with signage this time, as it will be entirely under the Highway Authority’s remit. I attach a suggested sign, though I’ve no doubt that the county team, in consultation with Mill Road’s Traders, will be able to come up with an improved version.

Mill Road Bridges

I agree about the need for signage and I specifically raised the issue of the inadequacy of last summer’s Signage with Cambridgeshire County Council. They stated that under the current measures they can create specific signage and are not bound by the DfT handbook. Keep a watch on this and feedback concerns.

Councillor Linda Jones, Petersfield, Labour
Suggested signage:
MILL ROAD OPEN
SHOPS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
BRIDGE CLOSED
TO THROUGH TRAFFIC
(EXCEPT FOR BUSES AND CYCLES)

Do you have views about the measures which Cambridgeshire County Council are taking? Whatever your view, as long as it is expressed politely, you can add your comments at the foot of this blogpost.

Mill Roaders’ own ways of expressing their views…

Slogans have been sprayed on the carriageway. Whilst the slogans are a little cryptic, they would appear to express opposition to the plan to limit the bridge to cyclists, pedestrians and buses.

This slogan has appeared on the Petersfield (city) side…
… Whilst this is on the Romsey side.
And, this being Mill Road there are a variety of viewpoints…
This slogan, on the Petersfield side, has appeared on the reverse of the highways sign, below…

There is no doubt that this graffitist is in favour of restricting traffic over the bridge. As is this one, on the Romsey side…

On the front…
… and on the rear.
And on Ditchburn Place railings.

Cambridge Independent have a report on the on-road graffiti – Mill Road spray painted with protest messages – though Alex Spencer seems to have missed the hand-drawn and hand-written graffiti in support of the Cambridgeshire County Council plans. We have contacted Alex to let him know. (And, no, neither the on-road nor the on-sign graffiti were from our organisation, nor the website manager in a personal capacity.)

Freddie Lynne of Cambridge News produced this road-up of views – Mill Road at war as bridge graffitied in car ban protest while others say yes to closure


Ill thought-out?

Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner is reported as calling the scheme “ill thought-out” and condemning the county council for failing to consult the public beforehand.

I know that the county council are keen to spend the money they have been given by government but a rush-job is not going to give us the best outcome.

We need a scheme that works for everyone and which respects the unique character of Mill Road. Mill Road will not be the same if traders are pushed out of the city and we lose independent shops that have been hit with one crisis after another.

Daniel Zeichner MP quoted by Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent

The money is part of the government’s ‘emergency active travel fund’, and must be used within eight weeks. As we are in the middle of a pandemic, we are working on these projects quickly and closely with the city and district councils. However, these measures are only temporary and people will have the opportunity to feedback to us. We will listen to all feedback, including that from shop owners, local residents, cyclists and those that worship on Mill Road.

Cllr Ian Bates, Chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, quoted by Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent

Read Alex’s full report – Mill Road bridge closure ‘ill thought-out’ says Cambridge MP.

There has been much comment, recently, in national news media, of central government decisions made ‘on the hoof’ and drafted ‘on the back of a fag-packet’.

To be fair, safeguarding measures which would not be delivered until (say) December after prolonged consultation would be about as much use as a chocolate teapot. (Other metaphors are available, if you area on a low-carb, low sugar diet.)

It is also worth noting that local councils (of whatever political complexion) frequently complain of initiative-itis from central government (of whatever political complexion) of inadequate funding and inadequate revenue-raising powers.


Whatever your view, as long as it is expressed politely, you can add your comments at the foot of this blogpost.


Protecting Pedestrian Space

Our website manager adds, in a personal view…

Whilst the proposals to allow more pedestrian space are welcome, there appears to have been no mention of protecting pedestrian space in Mill Road, East Road, nor elsewhere.

Why does no Experimental Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting pavement parking appear to be under consideration?

Pavement parking is a menace in ‘normal’ times – particularly, but not exclusively, to people with disabilities, physical, visual, auditory or hidden, to young children, and it is wrecking Mill Road’s pavements, which were not designed to carry vehicular traffic. There is, indeed, aggressive driving onto the footway.

An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting pavement parking would help pedestrians keep their distance during this pandemic. It would also give lasting benefit to residents and traders.

And Cambridgeshire County Council have had powers to deal with this for over nine years.

Councils with civil parking enforcement powers (including Cambridgeshire County Council) were given ‘special authorisation’ in February 2011 by the (then) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Norman Baker, to prohibit parking on footways and verges, wherever they considered it necessary. This would be through a traffic regulation order (TRO, or ETRO).

Read/download a PDF of Norman Baker’s original letter here. A text-only PDF is available here.

There would be no ongoing cost to council tax payers.

Enforcement would be self-financing as penalty charge revenue would help to pay the salaries of the existing enforcement officers.

Currently, enforcement officers need to wait to investigate the reasons why a vehicle is waiting (eg lawful loading/unloading or unlawful ‘Just popping into the shop’ waiting). Drivers know that they can come out our the shop or take-away say, “Sorry, I’m just going,” and get away with this misuse of pavements, time and time again.

At the present time, outside of Greater London, parking on the footway is not unlawful. But driving on the pavement is. Spotted the obvious logical flaw?

However, where a pavement parking prohibition is in place, it is breached the instant a vehicle mounts the footway, for whatever reason. Enforcement officers could issue an immediate Penalty Charge Notice.

It is my belief that Cambridgeshire County Council should introduce an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting pavement parking along the length of Mill Road, where the footways are subjected to such abuse, and on East Road (which is particularly prevalent around the burger outlet).

There may well be other areas around Cambridge where similar ETROs would be of benefit.


Peterborough, which is a Unitary Authority brought in a city-wide Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting pavement parking in 2017. Although this is a Conservative-led authority, it was proposed by Labour councillors and gained multi-party support. The clever thing they did was to bring in a overarching Traffic Regulation Order and leave implementation to be a matter for discussion where local communities, or the emergency services requested it, or it was otherwise seen as essential.

A Unitary Authority means that Peterborough City Council have all of the responsibilities which, in Cambridge are split between Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Peterborough City Councillor Richard Ferris, Labour member for Park ward, said:

“It’s unusual when you get cross-party support like we did at the meeting. It’s a massive issue in Park ward. It’s up there as one of the top half-a-dozen issues people contact me on.”

[Peterborough Today: Peterborough drivers face fines for parking on roadside verges or pavements]

More on Peterborough’s scheme…


Perhaps Cambridgeshire County Council are waiting for central government to introduce a national ban throughout England (save for permitted exceptions, such as in various Romsey side-streets). Despite having their own powers.


The House of Commons Transport Select Committee discussed this in September 2019. The Chair at that time, Lilian Greenwood MP, said:

“Pavement parking has a huge impact on people’s lives and their ability get around their communities. […] evidence to our inquiry revealed the impact on those with visual and mobility impairments and people with children.

“We are deeply concerned that the Government has failed to act on this issue, despite long-standing promises to do so. This is a thorny problem that may be difficult to resolve to the satisfaction of all, but the Government’s inaction has left communities blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking and individuals afraid or unable to leave their homes or safely navigate the streets.”

Read more about the September 2019 discussions on parliament.uk.

See also the earlier blogpost: Pavement Parking along Mill Road.


Time passes…

On 12th March 2020 it was announced: The Government is to run a consultation about a national ban on pavement parking following the Transport Committee’s 2019 influential inquiry and report. [parliament.uk]

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:

“I am pleased the Government has taken on board the previous Committee’s concerns about the very real difficulties presented by pavement parking and our proposed solutions. […]

“However, we have to now deliver this change. The Government promised to look into the issue in 2015 but consultations, roundtable events and internal reviews failed to lead to any actions to improve the experience of the public. This Government has signalled an intent to finally deliver change. We now need a detailed timeframe from the Department for Transport to ensure this happens.

“In publishing today’s Response, we are putting the Government on notice that we will be monitoring progress carefully. We look forward to reviewing progress on each of the pledges and our Committee has committed to a further evidence session in 12 months’ time to drive real change.”


But Cambridgeshire County Council has had powers to prohibit this menace since February 2011. What are we waiting for?


Do you have views about the measures which Cambridgeshire County Council are taking? Would you like to walk along a vehicle-free pavement? Whatever your view, as long as it is expressed politely, you can add your comments below.


See also: