Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: far more needed in Oxford

To: letters@OxfordMail.co.uk

From: Hazel and Steve Dawe, Cowley Area Transport Group – www.catg.org.uk

26th July 2020

53 Bulan Road Oxford OX3 7HU – 07747 036192

Dear Editor,

Danny Yee’s On Yer Bike column (Oxford Mail 21/7) is a clear message about how new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be implemented all over the City. The Coronavirus crisis has created extraordinary boosts in support for walking and cycling measures so that we need not go back to normal traffic congestion, air pollution and noise. A recent survey showed 77% of people in favour of more initiatives to support more walking and cycling(1).

Danny Yee also mentions places in Oxford where Low Traffic Neighbourhood-type initiatives have already been taken, indicating that this is not a novel idea. Additional existing schemes include speed bumps placed decades ago in Bulan Road where we live; or the raised platforms on Magdalen Road; or the speed bumps on Barton Lane. So new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods when created are a continuation of decades of traffic management in Oxford. So why are they particularly needed now?

First, the tens of thousands of houses planned around the fringes of Oxford will generate far more car journeys into the City, thanks to the ill-judged Oxford City Plan and its implications for neighbouring council areas. Therefore, we need a variety of initiatives to prevent traffic increases. Second, even without these houses, traffic in Oxford has been increasing substantially during the last decade(2). Thirdly, we cannot cut air pollution or carbon emissions unless traffic is cut significantly as the roll out of low emissions vehicles has been very slow indeed(3). Fourth, health promotion needs a major boost to reduce pressures on the NHS, so more funding to encouraging walking and cycling is essential.

So, with public support for encouraging walking and cycling at such high levels, we need more strenuous efforts from our local councils.

Yours sincerely

Hazel and Steve Dawe – COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP

Notes:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/23/uk-plans-to-boost-cycling-and-walking-under-threat-from-loud-minority
  2. See for example: https://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/news/newsoxford-reports-biggest-increase-in-traffic-congestion-in-uk/ & https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17876542.councils-say-work-must-done-oxford-ring-road-prevent-traffic/
  3. Electric vehicles in the UK had reached about 300,000 by April 2020 – https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17876542.councils-say-work-must-done-oxford-ring-road-prevent-traffic/ This is against the background of 38.3 registered vehicles in the UK by end March 2020: https://www.racfoundation.org/motoring-faqs/mobility#a1

 

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