The Government’s Plan for Drivers is an extraordinarily weak document. It does not recognise the wide variety of road users including pedestrians and cyclists; it behaves as if drivers themselves were only concerned about driving; it has nothing to say on the massive traffic increases expected before 2060. This CATG report examines the Plan in detail:
Oxford is plagued by traffic, which continues to increase. More than half the working population of the City commutes into Oxford from elsewhere. Other facilities such as hospitals, private and State schools and shopping options also help add to Oxford’s burden of traffic. West Oxfordshire District Council must campaign vigorously to reduce traffic on the A40, and this must include re-opening the Carterton/Witney to Oxford rail line. This can link at Oxford rail station to a re-opened Cowley line, offering access to other parts of the City without using a car. See our short submission on this: Submission CATG West Oxfordshire L Plan 12 10 2023
See our two new reports (17 7 2023) on SAVING OXFORD FROM TRAFFIC and BUS FUTURES FOR OXFORT CITY CENTRE, under: REPORTS on this website.
What needs to be done to save Oxford from being overwhelmed by further expansion in traffic? Over a 20 year period, the following principles need to be applied. See also SAVING OXFORD FROM TRAFFIC, briefing under REPORTS on this website:
SAVING OXFORD FROM TRAFFIC: key steps needed
Walking: Walking networks to be improved within the City, and connected to improving networks outside.
Pedestrianisation: traffic congestion, air pollution, noise and greenhouse gas emissions to be cut throughout central Oxford by a large expansion of the pedestrianised area, with coloured cycle tracks.
Cycling: Cycling networks should extend throughout Oxford. Cycle tracks should be physically separated from traffic, which will mean taking more road space and parking spaces in practice, and junctions need to be made safe. Cycle tracks should be connected to improved cycle routes outside Oxford. Cargo bikes, ecargo bikes and ebikes all require at least 1.7 metre width cycle tracks. Cargo bikes for freight should be encouraged and promoted for a much larger proportion of deliveries than at present.
Traffic filters: six traffic filters as proposed should be implemented, with a minimum of exemptions; additional traffic filters for St.Clements, Abingdon Road and the Botley Road to be investigated.
Car parking: reductions in car parking within Oxford to continue indefinitely, to counter the impact of projected increasing numbers of road vehicles. Space for SUVs should be diminished by cutting the size of car parking spaces, especially in central Oxford. Differences between car parks in costs should be removed, eg the heavy use of the cheaper Westgate car park creates traffic problems which, if the parking charges do not match the City Council’s, can only be reduced by a traffic filter on the Abingdon Road.
Hiring and sharing vehicles: The City and County Councils should promote hire or sharing of vehicles as a preference to ownership.
Public Transport: The City and County should ensure better bus and train services as far as possible, and the re-opening of rail lines to reduce commuting into Oxford by car.
Taxis: Taxis should be all-electric by the earliest possible date; pedestrianised areas should not be accessible for taxi parking, with allocated bays in some locations as pick-up points at the periphery of the enlarged pedestrianised zone.
Ordering online: A virtual City website should be constructed by cooperation between the City Council and relevant businesses to encourage ordering online to reduce total traffic.
National initiatives: Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council should petition the Secretary of State for Transport for an end to pavement parking in Oxford, like London; Oxford and its main approach roads should have Electronic Road Pricing to decrease avoidable journeys, again requiring support from the Secretary of State for Transport; free buses should be introduced in England for all bus services.
COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP – www.catg.org.uk
TRAFFIC CONSULTATION: ANPR USE IN EAST OXFORD: The County Council is consulting on barrier removal in three locations in East Oxford, permitting through traffic provided the types of user/vehicle are exempt, although some people will still drive through despite fines. The exclusive use of ANPR (automated number plate recognition) without barriers in 3 specific locations will not help in the general effort to reduce traffic, noise, air pollution and GHG emissions as so many exempt vehicles can pass through. We need more LTNs with barriers to through traffic, not less. To get some ideas about how to respond to this consultation by 17th April, see: https://www.catg.org.uk/our-consultation-submissions/ If you would prefer to use a questionnaire, one is available, with associated documents for the consultation at: https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cowleyltn_cameraenforcement2023
The Cowley Area Transport Group has put in a consultation submission on Housing Needs to the City Council, one of a series on the Oxford City Plan 2040, deadline 27th March 2023. Much of our response considers how traffic increases are to be prevented in new housing, which would add to Oxford’s very serious housing problems. See:
Proposals for the re-development of Oxpens will worsen traffic conditions in central Oxford, and heavy emphasis in this area on employment increases does not recognise how many people need to work from home – and that they need very low cost housing to do so:
A brief comment on this consultation:
No parts of the proposed straight-line network go to the Cotswold edge of the County. This is already in need of a re-opened rail line Oxford to Witney/Carterton which could help to reduce traffic impacts on proximate Oxford. Clearly, a rail system with provision for bikes and to meet preferences of walkers would tend to increase non car movements and give access to rural communities both in West Oxfordshire and in the Cotswolds. There is also no straight line provision in the direction of Northampton.