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Oxford Blog

"cyclists dismount" - "they can get out and push"

Transport — July 2024

The photo shows a friend of mine. He can and does cycle long distances, and he can walk with crutches, but he can't dismount and push his bike. At least half a dozen women, including my sister, have told me that they could comfortably cycle in late pregnancy when they couldn't walk any distance. And these are just the more visible examples: people can have reduced mobility without any visible sign of that.

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road danger on Barton Fields Rd

Oxford, Transport — June 2024

There have been concerns about road danger on Barton Fields Rd, the spine road that runs through the Barton Park development on the eastern outskirts of Oxford, in particular around the primary school. One driver ploughed into the cycle parking stands outside the school, another hit one of the buildings under construction on the other side of the street, and there are a lot of other incidents that don't show up in the official road injury record. (There are also concerns about road danger at the crossing of the A40; I have written about those elsewhere.)

Sheffield cycle parking stands outside Barton Park Primary School, four of them bent over after being hit by a car

cycle parking stands outside Barton Park Primary School, bent over by being driven into

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cycling through Oxford's Parks Rd-South Parks Rd junction

Oxford, Transport — June 2024

Parks Rd is a key north-south cycling route through the city centre, as well as part of National Cycle Network route 51, and its junction with South Parks Rd is currently the worst bit of that route. People cycling north are expected not only to share a section of road with high volume traffic flows but to perform an uncontrolled right turn across that traffic; people cycling south are forced to join the main motor traffic flow with no support at all.

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the approved/legal movements are in red and the actual ones (using the pedestrian crossings) are in blue - alternatively, people avoid using the cycle track at all (dashed red)

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20mph speed limits in Oxford

Oxford, Transport — April 2024

The failure to make Oxford's main roads 20mph is a black spot on Oxfordshire's otherwise successful 20mph speed limit roll out. If one were to pick the roads which need 20mph limits most, it would be roads inside Oxford such as Botley Rd, Woodstock Rd and Banbury Rd, because they have very large numbers of people walking and cycling both along and across them, with clear collision hotspots at pretty much every minor road junction. Making Oxford's remaining roads 20mph is an essential step to achieving both Vision Zero and the county's cycling targets, but it is also the single most effective public health intervention within the county's power. more

stable a unicorn at the Plain: fantasies about Oxford transport

Oxford, Transport — April 2024
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"The county should buy a unicorn and stable it on the Plain roundabout, where it will magically stop any collisions, alleviate all congestion, and make walking and cycling safe and accessible to all." This would probably make more sense than some of the transport proposals being bandied about - bus tunnels, removing cycling from main roads, etc. - but here I attempt to address some of the suggestions that seem sensible, but won't do what people want them to do.

Free public transport, segregated cycle tracks, School Streets schemes, traffic calming, Dutch style roundabouts, trams, and so forth are all potentially useful. But they only solve some problems, and in some cases require other measures to make them possible. They are not magically going to obviate the need for traffic removal and reduction - for low traffic neighbourhoods and measures such as traffic filters and the Zero Emission Zone. more

the future of Broad St

Oxford, Transport — April 2024

The legal changes to Broad St have been made permanent, but the current layout is clearly still temporary, in the sense that many of the features of the area no longer reflect its actual use. Most obviously, most of the existing kerbs are now redundant, or in the wrong place, and serve only as a trip hazard.

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sitting around

A proper plan for Broad St needs to be part of a redesign of the entire area of the city centre north of High St and east of Cornmarket, as envisaged in the Oxford Preservation Trust's proposals twenty years ago, and any such plan will be dependent on funding which is not yet available. But there are possibilities in the management of vehicle access and parking for improvements that could plausibly be implemented in the shorter term. more

Sydney public transport

Transport — February 2024

We used the trains quite a bit on our mid-2023 trip to Sydney, and Helen learned the order of stations on Sydney's North Shore line, from Central to Hornsby (including the three Ws at the end, which surely exist only to make this a challenge). more

1980 and 2023 primary school reports compared

Books + Ideas, Children — February 2024

Going through memorabilia, I found some old school reports. So here is a comparison of my "Report of Progress" from Year 5, in 1980 at what was then Lindfield Demonstration School, in Sydney, Australia, and my daughter Helen's "Annual Learning Journey Report" from Year 5, in 2022-2023 at Larkrise Primary School, in Oxford, England.

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lower speeds on Oxford's ring-road

Oxford, Transport — January 2024

The speed limit on Oxford's ring-road (excepting the A34 outside Botley) should be reduced to 40mph and that should be enforced by average speed cameras. This would help with road danger, congestion, community severance and barriers to walking and cycling, noise pollution, air pollution, and carbon emissions. more

our footways are falling into (the) cracks

Oxford, Transport — December 2023

At the moment, footways in Oxfordshire fall into the cracks between different county teams. Parking, Road Agreements, Transport Development Control, Active Travel, Maintenance, and different Localities teams all implement or oversee schemes that affect footways, but no one has overall responsibility for them. A single county team should be given responsibility for footways, with a watching brief over all schemes that affect them. That could be a beefed up Active Travel team, or a Parking team with an expanded mandate. more

20mph to make key links accessible

Oxford, Transport — December 2023

The Oxfordshire policy on 20mph speed limits says that to be eligible an area must "be within the extent of the built-up environment of the town or village where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner" and "be in an environment that explains and justifies a lower speed limit to the driver".

A small addition to this would I think make sense. There are sections of road which are not within a built-up area, but which are key walking or cycling links. They may link a village to a bus stop or a strategic cycling route, for example, or an outlying housing cluster (hamlet) to a village centre, or a school to a town centre. Where such sections of road are relatively short and lower speeds would make a significant difference, perhaps because there are no footways or cycling infrastructure, or because crossings are necessary, I think they should be included in the scope of the 20mph policy. more

timeline of OX4 traffic changes

Oxford, Transport — December 2023

Guest post by Owen McKnight (Oxford Pedestrians’ Association)

There have been dramatic improvements in infrastructure across East Oxford in the last few years. This is a timeline of specific changes in the OX4 postcode area (which covers East Oxford, Cowley, Rose Hill, Littlemore, and Blackbird Leys). more

LTNs and inclusive mobility

Oxford, Transport — November 2023

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.

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Charles St in the East Oxford LTNs, with one mother pushing a child scooting and another pushing a buggy. Car movements are infrequent enough now to make this comfortable. Note that (legal) pavement parking means that neither wheelchairs, mobility scooters, nor larger prams or buggies can fit down the footways.

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Iffley Rd cycle lanes

Oxford, Transport — October 2023

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.)

road with cycle lanes on either side, a person is cycling towards the photographer, with a car in the central lane not far behind them

Iffley Rd

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Jericho cycle hangars

Oxford, Transport — September 2023

It's great to see Oxford's first cycle hangars appearing in Jericho.

green half-cylinder cycle hangar with small yellow car next to it

Great Clarendon St
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Nelson St

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Enabling contra-flow cycling in Oxford

Oxford, Transport — September 2023

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

Peter Green Memorial Split Pawn Award

Life — September 2023

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?

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An East-West foot-cycle route for Oxford

Oxford, Transport — August 2023

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.
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stop destroying our footways! a pedestrian manifesto

Oxford, Transport — June 2023

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

school cycle training needs to be universal

Children, Transport — May 2023

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

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