The recently redesigned Pembroke St is attractive, but also seems a lost opportunity.
Previously it was a fairly traditional lane, with a carriageway and pavements. The new design keeps essentially the same layout, only replacing the kerbs with gentle "gutters" or brick edging, on as far as I can tell exactly the same line, and changing the (still too narrow) footpaths to a "brick" surface. The other substantive change is that the street is now two-way for cycling (motor traffic is still allowed to enter only from St Ebbes). more
Oxford's centre faces rigid space constraints that, even if private motor vehicles could be excluded, create an apparently insurmountable conflict between livability and active transport modes on the one hand and public transport on the other. As a long-term solution, I propose that all inner-city public transport be provided by a mini-bus (or tram) shuttle loop, connecting to city and intercity bus services at interchanges at the Plain, St Aldates, the railway station, and St Giles. more
Walking with Helen to the Cowley Rd Tesco yesterday made me think back on how her development and changes in transport modes have affected our experience of Oxford's geography. more
A guest post by my workmate Rob Greenock.
This document proposes the installation and use of a cable car system along with other measures to significantly reduce congestion and pollution in Oxford.
I've mostly discussed cycling in this blog, but I thought I'd turn my attention to walking, starting with a look at central Oxford, roughly defined as the region frequented by tourists. more
It's true that every Oxford Mail article about cycling gets the usual complaints about red light jumping, people cycling without lights, and suchlike, but I've seen no sign of any kind of backlash against cycling infrastructure. And this is easy to explain. There is no cycling infrastructure in Oxford. That is to say, nothing that gives people on bicycles any real space of their own, nothing that substantially inconveniences cars, buses, trucks or taxis. more
Southern England's transport networks are radially focused on London, leaving poor public transport options for many trips that seem like they should be quite simple. more
A dual network strategy for cycling only makes sense if we have a bimodal population of cyclists. To illustrate this, consider Frideswide Square, where the planners are clearly picturing something like this. more
The term is amorphous and vague, but Oxford's forthcoming redevelopments at the Plain roundabout and Frideswide Square continue to follow some kind of "shared space" ideology. So it's interesting to look at how previous incarnations of that have worked for cyclists. So Cowley Rd more
In the UK, the averages suggest that you are slightly less likely to be killed cycling two miles to the shops than you are making the same trip on foot, but slightly more likely to be seriously injured. more
Oxford is pretty good for cycling, at least compared to most cities in the English-speaking world, but there's huge room for improvement, those improvements aren't happening fast if at all, and I feel we need a change of focus to advance further.
In particular, I feel we need to ditch a "dual network" approach which is incapable of growing cycling much beyond its current share of transport and making it an option for everyone. Education and training, encouragement and so forth are important, but to make cycling significantly more popular than it is already we need to give people the option to cycle with minimal interaction with fast or dense motor traffic. more
The Plain is being rebuilt and ambitious plans to redesign St Giles have been floated, but for me the most obvious redevelopment for central Oxford, the one that will cost the least and deliver the most, is Broad St. All that is basically needed is to remove the car parking, remove the kerbs and resurface the entire area, drop the speed limit to 5mph and perhaps time-restrict access, and Oxford could have a showpiece central square. more
The Grand Canal is its greatest attraction, but the reason Venice is such a fun city to explore is not the canals but the complete absence of cars more