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restricting motor vehicles in central Oxford

Books + Ideas, Oxford, — October 2018

Central Oxford is severely space constrained. So it needs to have restrictions on the number of motor vehicles entering, and the amount of time they spend there. This should be done with a single consistent scheme covering the entire area amd no complications (as exist currently) with different access times for loading in different locations, etc. The key to implementation would be monitoring of all entries to and exits from the area by automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) - it might be possible to do this with cameras at as few as six locations.

Some key parts of such a scheme would be:

  • No general parking at all, and indeed no access for general motor traffic. If there are even five parking spaces, there will be drivers milling around hoping to "get lucky". Parking would be in peripheral car parks such as Worcester St and Westgate.
  • There would be access for residents, Blue Badge holders, etc.
  • There would be access for regular bus services and taxis.
  • There would be charged access for loading vehicles and tourist coaches, based on:
    • weight (to capture road damage costs)
    • size (as a proxy for danger posed to people walking and cycling)
    • emissions (to pay for costs of air pollution)
    • time of day (to capture congestion costs)
  • The charging would include an access fee plus a per-minute residency fee (to discourage loitering).
  • As well as bus stops and taxi ranks, there should be marked parking areas for loading vehicles, coaches, and disabled parking. No parking would be the default, so there would be no need for yellow lines, "No Parking" signs, and so forth.
  • There would be a 15mph speed limit.

Entry controls could be at Folly Bridge, the railway bridge over Botley Rd, Magdalen Bridge, and on Woodstock and Banbury Rds. Or further in, to preserve access to the Westgate and Worcester car parks.

Such a system would best be implemented alongside a reworking of the traffic flows and bus system along the lines of the Phil Jones proposals.

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