Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hail Our Consultation On St Andrew's Street Taxi Rank Improvements


Residents are being asked to have their say on a £30,000 scheme to improve the St Andrew's Street taxi rank in Cambridge to ease congestion and increase safety for cyclists.

The new proposed changes follows ideas generated at workshops held by Cambridgeshire County Council and brought together all users, including taxi drivers, bus operators, cyclists and businesses.

Currently St Andrew's Street is one of the busiest roads in Cambridge and used by a large number of buses, deliver vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and taxis.

However, due to its popularity taxis sometimes queue on the road which has caused concerns over safety and congestion problems in the area for cyclists and large vehicles, such as buses and the emergency services.

The County Council is proposing to keep the taxi rank at St Andrew's Street as it is, but prevent taxis from queuing onto the road should the taxi rank become full. Instead, taxis should wait at the under-used taxi rank around the corner on Drummer Street until a space in St Andrew's Street becomes available. Detectors would send information that space is available to taxis waiting in Drummer Street via a variable message sign.

The scheme will be funded by the Better Bus Area Fund (BBAF). The Department for Transport awarded the County Council £1.724million through the BBAF, a programme focusing on improving bus facilities in and around Cambridge. The money will be used to improve bus journeys, making travelling by bus more attractive and reducing pollution in Cambridge. The schemes will also help improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: "Easy access to taxis in the city centre is vital for supporting the local economy, reducing congestion and helping those with restricted mobility. With the proposed improvements, we hope to reduce accidents, improve safety and ease congestion in the city centre. Resolving one of the bottle-necks will make bus journeys more reliable. Making it easier to get in and around Cambridge should also help boost the local economy and encourage jobs."

Local County Councillor Sarah Whitebread, said: "The problem of taxis over ranking along St Andrew's Street is one that urgently needs tackling to improve access for buses and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Keeping a city centre rank is vital for many people living in the city, so I hope this solution will provide the best option for everyone. I encourage residents to fill in the consultation so that councillors can make an informed decision on the scheme later this year."

For more information on the proposals and to have your say, log on to: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport.

The consultation starts on Monday 4 March and finishes on Friday 22 March. The results of the consultation and the views of those who use the area regularly will enable us to finalise the plans for the area.