Canterbury City Council bosses divided over plan to cut cars
A VISION to cut the number of cars in Canterbury has divided the city.
The major report, offering potential solutions to Canterbury's traffic problems, was launched last week to a mixed reaction.
The Sustainable Transport Blueprint for Canterbury, which aims to help cut congestion and air pollution in the city, was unveiled on Thursday.
The document, commissioned by the Canterbury Society and Canterbury 4 Clean Air, is the brainchild of transport expert and former Simon Langton Grammar School pupil Dr Lyn Sloman.
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It recommends measures including more regular bus services, bus lanes, cycle paths and 20mph zones.
But some of Dr Sloman's ideas, were dismissed as "non-solutions", including a radical proposal to replace city centre car parks with "more valuable" uses such as housing.
Ian Taylor, spokesman for the Kent branch of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: "We need more car parking in Canterbury, not less. There is always going to be more demand than is being met."
In her report, Dr Sloman said Canterbury's medieval streets were perfect for walking and cycling, but unsuitable for cars as the main means of transport.
She said it was "crucial for the city to remain both attractive and compact" if tourism and employment was to flourish, adding: "Canterbury has to find a way to combine the best of its medieval heritage with our best understanding of how to create delightful, healthful, efficient and environmentally sustainable transport systems in the 21st century."
She identified four priorities, including encouraging cycling for short trips, promoting car sharing and providing more bus services into the city centre from across the district.
Dr Sloman also said the city council's Local Plan, which is due to be published in the spring, should plan future development within easy access of sustainable transport.
She added that councillors and council officers should lead the strategy, but that public transport operators, businesses and universities should all play a part.
But Canterbury City Council said it was wary of fully embracing the blueprint, because it failed to acknowledge the fact that cars are an unavoidable mode of transport for many people.
The blueprint was launched at the Westgate Towers. The event also marked the formation of the Canterbury Alliance for Sustainable Transport.
The group, which brings together residents and business-owners concerned about the city's transport woes, arranged themselves in the shape of a heart next to the towers to demonstrate their love for Canterbury on Valentine's Day.
The crowd included South East MEP Keith Taylor, Lord Mayor of Canterbury Robert Waters and the city council's portfolio holder for transport, Councillor Peter Vickery-Jones.
Read the blueprint at www.transport forqualityoflife.com/projects