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How the car rules Colchester’s roads
A DAMNING study has ranked Colchester as the second most car-dependent town in the UK.
The survey from Campaign for Better Transport said the town had serious issues and no coherent plan for improvement.
It also said Colchester had the least satisfactory public transport in the country, with the fewest proportion of bus users.
Public transport campaigners in Colchester said not enough was being done to promote the use of buses and plans to scrap the Queen Street bus park would only make things worse.
Peter Kay, of travel group C-Bus, said: “The biggest problem in Colchester is the very high level of car dependency among ‘nine-to-five’ people.
“Nothing is being done to tackle the biggest causes of traffic problems in Colchester – the massive underuse of the railway into Colchester Town, the higher-than-average number of employers’ free car parking spaces in central Colchester and Colchester Council creating car dependence, like giving Essex University persmission for a car park.”
Only Wigan has a higher dependency on car travel among the 26 councils reviewed.
No town or city in the East of England came in the top half of the public transport rankings.
The survey awarded good scores for Colchester’s Cycling provision, which saved it from being named the country’s most car crazy town.
But despite a 2009 Cycle Town grant of more than £4.5million, Colchester only came seventh in the league of cycle and pedestrian facilities.
He said: “Putting it in perspective, just the maintenance alone of the cycle networks in Amsterdam costs more than £4.5million.
“Since the coalition Government came in, Cycling England has been scrapped and the national impetus has been lost.”
However, he said that since Cycle Town was introduced there had been a 25 per cent increase in the number of people cycling.
The report also claims that about 10 per cent of people employed in Colchester have no choice but to drive to work.
Plans to reduce car use and improve accessibility and public transport were given a C, in a school exam style grading system.
The report was based on the three most populated towns in each region of the UK.
London was named the least car dependent.
He said: “We have made excellent progress where investment has been made in walking and cycling alternatives and we have scored highly in this section.
“We will build on this success by continuing with ongoing projects to reduce unnecessary traffic in the town centre, the new bus station and the North Station Travel Plan. ”