Car park charging proposals aim to help cut congestion and air pollution

News release from 4 January 2018, 4:04pm

PARKING charges at Cambridge City Council’s car parks are set to change from April, as part of the council’s plan to cut congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

The new charges, which would take effect from 1 April, have been agreed in principle following consultation with city centre stakeholders in October of last year, but are still subject to approval of the council’s overall budget in February.

The changes are set to include a charge to encourage drivers to switch to other modes of transport to access the city centre during the very busy period between 8am and 10am.

This will support Cambridgeshire County Council’s plans to end charging for cars at its Park and Ride sites.

Other car parking initiatives include:

  • For the fourth year in a row, prices will be frozen at Castle Hill, Adam and Eve, Riverside and Gwydir Street pay and display car parks;
  • An end to last year’s trial in which prices on Mondays and Tuesdays at all multi-storey car parks were reduced in line with 2012 prices and on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays where they were frozen at 2015 levels. This will see the return of a single tariff across the working week;
  • The introduction of a peak time congestion tariff for a trial period of 12 months. This new tariff is designed to reduce the number of vehicles on city centre streets during the peak hours of 8am to 10am. It aims to encourage drivers to choose other modes of transport or to drive in the city during the less busy periods of the day. Parking between these times will attract an additional tariff of 50p per hour for every hour (or part hour) of stay. This change will follow the installation of the new car parking payment machines;
  • Evening tariffs for parking starting at 6pm;
  • An increase of 30% for season ticket parking for business users. This flat increase across all ticket types is to incentivise the commuter use of less polluting, less congestion-creating forms of transport.

The city council consulted local businesses, employers, residents, car park users and others on these off-street parking policies last year.

Cllr Kevin Blencowe, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, said: “Our parking strategy aims to reduce congestion, improve air quality and maintain value for money for short stay parking.

“We want to encourage motorists to use the Park and Ride sites rather than city centre multi-storey car parks and that is why we plan to introduce charges that disincentivise driving in to the centre.

“We have invested in our car parks and demonstrated that we provide customers with a good service. Now, we need a fair pricing structure that will help to tackle congestion and reduce air pollution.”

In the last year, the council has invested £2.1million into its car parks, including essential improvements to surfaces, structure and drainage at Grand Arcade, Grafton East and Queen Anne Terrace car parks.

Other improvements in recent times have included new energy saving LED lighting at the Grand Arcade, Grand Arcade annex, Grafton East and Grafton West car parks to reduce their carbon footprint. New signage was installed to deliver improved pedestrian safety at the main car parks.