Letter to Oxford Mail/Times
I have to respectfully disagree with the Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet regarding the bus gates in Oxford (Oxford Mail 14 October). They claim now is the wrong time for bus gates. Now is exactly the right time for traffic reduction measures of any kind. Oxford’s roads are clogged with traffic levels greater than pre-Covid creating a dangerous situation. We need urgent action to reduce traffic, not even more prevarication.
The bus gates were backed by a majority of respondents to the council’s consultation, 50%. Only 42% were opposed. Why then did the cabinet back down? Connecting Oxford with more bus gates has already been consulted on. Connecting Oxford Plus, an expanded plan, has the backing of many Oxford residents and is the result of a lot of hard work by volunteers.
The problem will be made even worse by the tens of thousands of homes planned for Oxford’s Green Belt and nearby areas increasing car numbers and therefore traffic in Oxford. The County Council needs to promptly reduce traffic coming into Oxford, encouraging walking, cycling, bus, rail and deliveries when appropriate.
Please could the County stop dithering and finally take real action on traffic reduction.
COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP – www.catg.org.uk
Our submission to the City Council Air Pollution – October 2020: Could do better if they tried?
Submission CATG Air Pollution consultation October 2020
From: Hazel and Steve Dawe, Cowley Area Transport Group – www.catg.org.uk
26th July 2020
53 Bulan Road Oxford OX3 7HU – 07747 036192
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.
Hazel and Steve Dawe – COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP
- 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/
- 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
To: Oxford Mail
From Hazel Dawe, 53 Bulan Road, Oxford OX3 7HU – 18th July 2020
All credit to Katherine Miles for her courage in cycling along Warneford Lane with her children.(Oxford Mail 18 July) Warneford Lane is, indeed, dangerous for cyclists and the highways authority is well aware of the problem. I have been nearly car doored there, knocked off my bike by a driver thoughtlessly opening the car door as I cycled past. I know of others who have been.
But there is a solution, one which I have put forward to several council consultations. Warneford Lane is a dual carriageway. All it needs is one carriageway to become two way for traffic and the other carriageway two way for bicycles.
The open question is whether to include diagonal parking for cars on the cycling carriageway, with a very low speed limit, probably 5mph, or to have no parking at all. I don’t know who parks on Warneford Lane and why. Is it people who work at the Warneford Hospital?
The hospitals own master plan states that they will ‘ensure that the parking needs of those staff , patients, visitors and service provider who have no realistic option to using the care are considered and where feasible accommodated’ 1) In which case, presumably, the cars parked in Warneford Lane are not related to the hospital. The question remains whether that parking is necessary or whether Warneford Lane can be made truly safe for cycling.
TO: letters pages, Oxford Mail
From: Steve Dawe, COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP – www.catg.org.uk
8th July 2020
Oxfordshire County Council has missed out on £300,000 of funding for cycling (Oxford Mail, 7th July). However, there is a wider concern. The County Council’s consultation on Active Travel (walking and cycling) does not inspire confidence either: https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/OxfordshireActiveTransport
This consultation actually includes reference to cars and motorbikes which have nothing to do with Active Travel. There are no accompanying questions to ask the public about the importance of Active Travel in relation to health promotion, the Climate Emergency, reducing air pollution, cutting traffic congestion or protecting people from noise. There is a major failure to encourage thinking about how the County needs proper walking and cycling networks covering the County as a whole. Active Travel is, above all, about quality of life and this has not registered with the County Council yet.
The consultation is so poor it should be withdrawn and replaced with something which stresses the importance of Active Travel.
The County Council should, at the very least: ensure more funds for Active Travel by extending or creating pedestrian and pedestrian priority areas in towns and cities and promoting electric car hire rather than car ownership. It should spend more on this than on new road-building, road widening, road bridges etc;
The results of such initiatives would be cleaner air, less noise and much more attractive communities to work, shop and take leisure in than at present.
COWLEY AREA TRANSPORT GROUP – www.catg.org.uk
Connecting Oxford – examining alternatives to achieve sustainable transport in the City.
Submission CATG on Connecting Oxford v2