Last week I talked about the principles of a congestion charge, and specifically having a few key locations attracting a congestion charge, and not a blanket congestion charge area.
So where would I start?
Firstly, Id place one on Hills Road just south of the Catholic Church junction. This has two main benefits.
The volume of car traffic on Hills Road would be reduced to the point that the traffic that remains can move through this junction quickly, allowing the buses that run along here to move quickly and efficiently.
Secondly, this is the most direct route from the station to the city centre. It should not be a wide road full of fuming traffic, but a lovely tree-lined route with wide pavements, wide cycleways, and a couple of lanes that have mostly buses and taxis using them.
There is the odd private vehicle in the traffic, such as an electrician rushing to get a part from Mackays that they need for a job.
The other place I would start is East Road, between Anglia Ruskin University and the fire station. This would also have significant benefits.
First, it would allow that electrician to get to Mackays quicker than today, making them more likely to shop there rather than some out-of-town place.
It would also allow those Park and Ride buses to get through this most congested of roads quickly.
There is no way this can be widened and a bus lane added, so this is really the only way to make those buses more reliable, beyond just closing the road completely.
Robin Heydon's cyclical thinking
East Road needs to go on a road diet. Instead of a four-lane dual-carriageway in front of the Grafton Centre, there could be a lovely two-lane road for cars, with cycle lanes each side, perhaps a line of trees. And then a much larger bus station in front of the Grafton itself.
Perhaps we could even have a nice plaza with outside cafés and shading trees. Hey, why not cover this whole area with a large tent-like structure and make it a place, rather than a traffic junction? The congestion charge could pay for this sort of transformation.
But if the volume of traffic along Gonville Place reduces, then we could remove one of the lanes and provide decent cycleways and wider footpaths along there too.
And Lensfield Road could have the car parking removed and a good bus-stop island installed in its place.
Not only that, if there is less traffic on Lensfield Road, then those horrible dangerous double roundabouts could also be removed and replaced with a much safer junction for people walking and cycling.
It would make that whole part of town much nicer. Less noise. Less pollution. Less vibration. More people walking and cycling. More efficient bus services.
All because some people will now choose to travel at 10am instead of 9am to the benefit from a congestion charge of zero instead of 50p.