No inclusive transport system for Oxford is possible without low traffic neighbourhoods. A genuinely inclusive transport system has to work for everyone. For eight year olds walking or cycling to school by themselves and for four year olds walking or cycling alongside their parents. For eighty year olds who want to be able to walk - or cycle slowly - to their local shops, their GP surgery, or their bus stops, without fear or stress. For wheelchair and mobility scooter users and for the blind and visually impaired. And for everyone else.
What is the road layout on Oxford's Iffley Rd and how is it supposed to work? The key features here are the use of advisory cycle lanes around a narrow central traffic lane with no centre line; between Donnington Bridge Rd and the Plain the cycle lanes are mostly 1.575m wide and the central lane ranges from 4.66m to 5.93m wide. (This was implemented on Iffley Rd as part of the "Quickways" schemes in 2022. A similar scheme was implemented on Magdalen Bridge in 2020; there the cycle lanes are 2m wide and the central lane is 5m.) more
It's great to see Oxford's first cycle hangars appearing in Jericho.
Contra-flow cycling should be allowed on all the one-way streets in Oxford. From LTN 1/20: "There should be a general presumption in favour of cycling in both directions in one way streets, unless there are safety, operational or cost reasons why it is not feasible." more
Does anyone who played chess in New South Wales in the early 1980s remember what the Peter Green Memorial Split Pawn Award was? Won by Peter Green, R.Colman, Marcus Pesman, Charles Zworestine, S.Twigg, Tim Reilly and yours truly. I vaguely recall it was for the worst performance in a tournament, or possibly a particularly bad game?
This outlines a plan for a direct, coherent east-west foot-cycle route across Oxford's city centre. That would run from the railway station across the north of Frideswide Square, along Hythe Bridge St, George St, Broad St, Holywell St, and Longwall St, ending at Magdalen Bridge.
Fixing all the problems with footways and pedestrian infrastructure across Oxfordshire would involve a huge and expensive program of works, which the county doesn't have the resources for. But we need to stop making things worse — current procedures and processes for new transport schemes and developments and ongoing maintenance are progressively destroying our footways. more
The current cycle training provision in our primary schools is inadequate and inequitable.
Imagine if primary schools ran a course on finance for Year 5 children, provided for free and taught in school time, but only offered to those children who already have an understanding of the basics - who already know what an interest rate is, say - and who already have a bank account of their own. That would, rightly, be condemned as hugely regressive, teaching children who are already privileged and knowledgeable even more, and exacerbating existing inequalities.
But this is exactly how cycle training works, certainly in Oxfordshire and I think across most of the country. more
Despite the research, I had always downplayed the psychological and social gains from traffic reduction, thinking of them as secondary to health improvements from increased physical activity - and perhaps as a bit "soft" and hard to measure. But my experience with the East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhoods has made me rethink this. more
Motor traffic noise pollution is really two separate problems. The first is local spikes in noise from individual vehicles, sometimes deliberately driven - and even modified - to make noise. The second is high levels of ambient noise from motor traffic generally.
Deaths and serious injuries — the target of Vision Zero — are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of road danger harm. In addition to the 20 road traffic fatalities and 450 serious injuries in Oxford over the last decade, there were 2800 reported slight injuries (all of those from the STATS19 police database) and (for cycling injuries, across Oxfordshire) ten times as many hospital admissions and attendances (this includes non-collision injuries which are rarely reported to the police). And there will be many minor injuries and collisions which are neither reported to the police nor result in hospital presentations. (Following Ling Felce's death at the Plain, I heard several people make comments like "Oh yes, I've been knocked off my bike twice at the Plain" and "No, I didn't report it either time.") There are even more near-misses and other incidents perceived as threatening. more
Oxfordshire County Council has allocated £8 million to its 20mph speed limit programme (to be spent over three years). But none of that money has been spent - or looks like being spent - in Oxford, even though lower speeds there would have the greatest effect on road danger reduction. (The 20mph speed changes on Iffley Rd, Cowley Rd, etc. were not part of this programme, but were part of the Quickways schemes, funded by the central government Active Travel Fund.) more
Oxford's Lye Valley area has poor walking and cycling connectivity, making it one of the more car dependent areas inside the ring-road (looking at 2011 census commute data). Two key routes could be upgraded to improve this, to the west across Lye Valley to the Churchill Hospital and to the south west over the golf course.
1) Put a proper foot-cycle track, with a bridge, across Lye Brook to the Churchill Hospital. 2) Upgrade the track across the golf course to Barracks Lane to an all-weather foot-cycle track, with a bridge across Boundary Brook to connect to Lye valley and potentially with zig-zags on the descent to Barracks Lane. This would require a legal change from a footpath to a bridleway. The likely form of any track would be a 3 metre wide shared path, with porous surfacing and embedded stud lighting, along the lines of the ones being put in across parks and fields elsewhere (e.g. across King Georges Field).) more
I think consideration should be given to turning off the signals at the northern end of Cornmarket and having that junction operate like the Holywell junction at the other end of Broad St.
I walk and cycle through this junction regularly, and there's pretty much always:
- a stream of pedestrians crossing on red across George St, as in the photo above - if they didn't they'd pile up and block the footways;
- pedestrians crossing haphazardly across the unsignalled Magdalen St West and Broad St arms, sometimes getting caught out mid-crossing by signal changes;
- mopeds and cycles going through red lights or using the wrong side of the road to turn from Broad St into Magdalen St West; and
- significant periods when buses and taxis and cycles are waiting even though the junction is clear.
The Charlbury Rd area in north Oxford has a major problem with road danger at school drop-off and pickup times. Large numbers of school-run vehicles arriving and stopping and departing in a short period of time create congestion, along with turning and reversing movements that endanger people walking and cycling.
Lambeth recently released its Kerbside Strategy. This proposes a reallocation of kerbside space towards active travel, place making, climate resilience, and traffic reduction (94% of Lambeth's kerbside is currently devoted to parking or parking restrictions).
Wherever possible, space for cycle or scooter parking should be taken from car parking space or spare carriageway space, not from footways or space for pedestrians. Pedestrians are at the very top of the transport hierarchy and private cars at the very bottom.
This 1975 "Cars Without Chaos" documentary looks at the problems created by cars and what Oxford was doing to try to address them: "Oxford has gone some way towards solving its traffic problems". (The video is twenty four minutes long, but you can start two minutes in and skip the introduction.)
The amazing thing about this is how much of it is still relevant. more
With 51 people scheduled to speak for two minutes each, followed by the cabinet members themselves speaking (and debating amendments), it was a long and lively cabinet meeting to decide on adoption of the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan and the traffic filters in that. Roughly half the public speakers were against the traffic filters, a quarter were for them, and the other quarter wanted tweaks: Kennington or Noke to be given more permits, this filter or that to be dropped from the scheme. more
The Oslo Street Design Manual (in English) is useful. In particular, it has guidance for cycling infrastructure provision in the presence of hills, which is lacking from Dutch guidelines and standards.
But a very important flowchart, for determining what cycling infrastructure is needed in different circumstances, has two errors in it!