Active Travel and low traffic neighbourhoods
Speaker: Patrick Lingwood, Active Travel Hub Lead for Oxfordshire County Council, spoke to the meeting about the current opportunities and limitations for creating a more walkable Oxford
Sushila Dhall; Don O’Neal; Deborah Glass-Woodin; Keith Frayn: Chris Cowley; Cinderella Lingwood; Penny Jacques; Marie Power; Lorna Hicks; Peter Headicar; Annemarie Heslop; Patrick Lingwood
Recently there has been a ‘gear change’ from central government, putting Active Travel at the heart of government policy. A national Cycling and Walking Commissioner will soon be appointed. At a local level, this can be seen in the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and School Streets. Central funding for such initiatives will depend on performance locally. In Tranche 2, Oxford received £3m for LCWIP schemes and £0.75 for the implementation of LTNs and School Streets.
Patrick presented a slide showing a wheel which outlined the steps required to implement policies: Policies are considered with details of Places and Plans along with Pounds and Processes which are then put forward as Programmes to which People agree or Protest via Pressure Groups leading to consideration of Perceptions and Paradigms along with Politics and so on…
The Council has a legal duty to keep traffic moving and this can lead to tensions with the introduction of Active Travel measures.
Current policies in Oxford include:
- Growth Deal
- Local Plans
Further plans are under development:
- Local Transport and Connectivity Plan
- Active Travel Strategy
- Connecting Oxford
- Walking Design Guide
- OXIS (Infrastructure Strategy)
Some of these policies do not have funding and OxPA’s help would be welcome, perhaps with a Pedestrian survey and / or street audits.
Patrick also recommended that OxPA focus its efforts on the LCPT5, the Active Travel Strategy and the Walking Design Guide. He also suggested that we remain actively involved with the Banbury and Woodstock Road Steering Group.
A number of CPZs have been introduced around the City and more are in the pipeline. However the issue of parking on footways is not yet resolved.
Three LTNs have recently been implemented in Cowley (with three more in East Oxford and 3 more in Headington due later this year). They are now complete, except for cameras at the two bus gates, which will be installed shortly. The roads with the LTNs are very quiet now, with an 80% reduction in traffic. Opinions remain divided with a recent survey showing 964 people in support and 374 opposed.
LTNs will result in more traffic on arterial roads, particularly at the present time when COVID restrictions are being eased. Currently, the crossroads at Hollow Way / Between Towns Road is a pinch point but, hopefully, things will settle down in a few weeks.
The situation in Jericho is different in that it is the arterial road which has been closed, displacing traffic onto residential streets. There was no consultation before Walton Street was closed and traders had lobbied very hard against the scheme.
Central government is, supportive of e-scooters which are being trialled in Headington. However, boxes for parking e-scooters have recently been painted onto the pavement in a number of locations, with no prior consultation, further eroding space on the footway. Comments on this matter should be referred to Rob Freshwater.
Queries about School Streets should be addressed to Mark Gregory or Rosie Rowe.
Clarification was sought about whether permit holders in CPZs were allowed to park on double yellow lines temporarily if there was nowhere else to park. This question should be addressed to James Whiting.
Direct Action Sushila, Deborah and Cinderella had been ‘human bollards’ at Oriel Square last Saturday to draw attention to the broken bollards there. In one hour, over 40 vehicles were turned back, but not without considerable aggression and verbal abuse. The police were called and supported the protest. The protest was publicised in both the local and national media, as well as on social media.