Light Rail with the Isaac Newton Line would provide a vital service to commuters in satellite towns such as Cambourne, Northstowe, Bar Hill, and Girton, etc in the northwest of Cambridge, and such as Sawston, the Shelfords, and Babraham in the south. The Isaac Newton Line would also provide a vital connection to Addenbrookes and Trumpington, and a southern Park & Ride at the M11 near Hauxton, better linking a large proportion of the Cambridgeshire population to the hospital. This latter link would involve a straightforward conversion of the existing busway corridor. A second route (Extension A) could serve residents in the East, including Chesterton, Newmarket Road, Milton, and Waterbeach, as well as the Mill Road area and the commercial centre at the Beehive etc. Extension B would extend from Coldhams Lane to Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn, serving the high tech employment centre of Capital Park where ARM and other large firms are located. Extension C would link up the Isaac Newton Line and Extension A to create a ‘Circle Line’ for Cambridge, serving residents of satellite towns such as Milton, Histon, Cottenham, Girton etc.
Regional extensions to Haverhill and Linton in the south and Cambourne in the west can be envisaged, the former serving an important lower cost housing area and the latter could tie in with the proposed A428 expressway and rail link to Oxford.
These lines are expected to offer major economic, social and environmental benefits to residents. These benefits to residents should be quantified and evaluated in detail. Cambridge Connect believes these studies should be undertaken with urgency so the results can inform decisions on the future infrastructure of our City.
In practical terms, some examples of direct benefits to residents are:
- Faster and more convenient journey times to work, for shopping, for health visits including to GPs and the hospital, for social activities and leisure;
- Reduces vehicle pressure in the inner City and at Cambridge Rail Station;
- Reduces the number of buses and coaches in the City core, and thereby improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians (around 60% of vehicle accidents in Cambridge involve a cyclist);
- Potentially enables easier access for the elderly and disabled to the City centre and to Addenbrookes, which are increasingly important considerations as people in the UK are living longer;
- Improvements to inner city environmental quality, including air quality and amenity space, by placing some transport infrastructure underground.