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Let’s build cycle parking underneath Cambridge’s market square

The market square is one of the best things about Cambridge.

Independent traders selling stuff that..

By admin , in Cambridge , at March 26, 2018

The market square is one of the best things about Cambridge.

Independent traders selling stuff that the chain stores either don't want to sell or want to sell for much higher prices to cover the extortionate rents for those buildings.

The market is an essential part of this city and it should be cherished, loved, and improved.

There are apparently plans to improve the area, which probably means resurfacing the whole square to make it flat.

This is then dressed up in some fancy words like 'accessible' and 'shared space'. This is all well and good, but I think it misses the point.

Making the space flat allows people with movement issues to move around the space more easily than the current situation with lots of kerbs and lots of slopes.

But it misses the whole point of the word accessibility.

Among the stalls in Cambridge's market square

To me, if something is accessible it means that I can get there easily.

Allowing people access by car is just not going to work. We need to increase the number of people who can cycle there.

I have two rather bold suggestions. Improve the facilities for the market traders, such as proper washing and toilet facilities, and improve the cycle parking as well.

To do the above, I think we need to think radically.

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I watched a film about how they improved the Oxford Circus tube station in London, and they did that by building a platform over the existing space, and then excavating underneath the platform to create a whole new underground space.

They then removed the platform to creating a much better space. We could do that in the market square.

This would allows the market traders to continue trading whilst the construction happens, and once it is all done and dusted, we should have a truly fantastic place.

What would I put underground? Toilets and washing facilities for the market traders. Bicycle rental and cycle parking. And possibly a storage area so that the traders can store their stuff at the market rather than bringing it in by van and taking it away by van everyday.

There would also be space for a metro station under there too. That would be a huge benefit for the market.

How much cycle parking? As much as we can get. I'd say space for a couple of thousand cycles.

This may require three subterranean levels, but they did that for a few hundred cars when the Lion Yard was built, so why not do the same for a few thousand cycles?

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At the end of the day it is all about our priorities.

If your priority is driving around and polluting the air, then ignore this suggestion.

If however, you don't like that idea, then perhaps we should start spending some real money on providing an alternative.

That £100,000 being spent to look at what could be done should at least determine the feasibility and costs of doing what I would like to see, as one of the possible alternatives.

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