Speaker: Cllr. Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council.
This very stimulating meeting was well attended by members of OxPA, Cyclox, and the Oxford Civic Society. We were very grateful to Ian Hudspeth for coming to explain his vision for Oxford in the light of the Council’s Transform Oxford initiative.
A review of progress since 2009 included Queen Street, New Inn Hall Street, the High, reformed bus ticketing, and wayfinders. Future development opportunities include the Westgate, Oxpens, rail station, Frideswide Square and the Broad. Much depends on the outcome of the debate over redevelopment of the rail station. It seems that John Lewis’s insistence on complete pedestrianization of Queen Street before it will agree to open a store in the Westgate may affect the future of other parts of the city, including levels of air pollution in St Aldates, already much increased since diversion of buses.
Ian then asked the members of the audience to give him their own visions. The chief desire to emerge was for a city less dominated by motor traffic. Ideas for traffic reduction included:- congestion charge, workplace parking charges, reduction of through-traffic routes, improving through bus links and improved conditions for walking and cycling. A need to gather data on motorists’ behaviour, provide a bus link to the University Science area, take motor traffic out of Hythe Bridge Street, and remove the lights from Broad Street were all supported.
Above all is the need to go beyond a “vision” to the creation of a working strategy that will achieve these aims to make Oxford a better place to be in.