Bid to get people on their bikes

ELY residents are being urged to get on their bikes and out of their cars as transport bosses look set to push ahead with parking charges and railway station parking plans. Council planning director, David Archer, claims that encouraging cyclists and walk

ELY residents are being urged to get on their bikes and out of their cars as transport bosses look set to push ahead with parking charges and railway station parking plans.

Council planning director, David Archer, claims that encouraging cyclists and walkers can help reduce parking in the city centre.

He told members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's environment and transport committee in a report: "There is a huge potential to grow the cycling market in Ely, given its compact nature and topography.

"Growing the cycling and walking market in Ely has the potential to reduce levels of car dependence and parking in the city centre."


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His claims came as members were being urged to implement parking charges and a partnership with Network Rail which would provide a multi-storey car park with 120 spaces at Ely railway station.

The council would provide £700,000 for the new car park and access to the station for cyclists, bus travellers and pedestrians would be improved at a cost of just over £190,000.

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Adjustments would be made to existing short and long stay spaces in the city's car parks to encourage the take-up of spaces at the new station pay and display car park.

Parking charges would be introduced together with decriminalising on-street parking by September, 2008.

But Ely Traders' Association members fear that a partnership with Network Rail would be detrimental to the city and the railway company may introduce parking charges "at an exclusive rate thus discouraging commuters".

Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh, told council chief executive, John Hill, in a letter: "The ETA is at a loss to understand the continued determination of officers of the district council to introduce car parking charges in Ely.

"It is felt that there is no real desire to solve parking problems in the city but to use this issue as a fundraising exercise."

Members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's environment and transport committee were urged to press ahead with the projects when they met today (Thursday).

Mr Archer told them the move would enhance the "vitality and viability of Ely and protect its cultural heritage".

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