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.
Some basic requests:
- No new obstructions should be put onto footways unless there is adequate space.
- New footway crossovers for driveways or other motor vehicle accesses should be implemented using entrance kerbs, keeping the footway flat.
- Cycle and e-scooter parking should wherever possible be located on the carriageway (and at carriageway level) and not on the footway.
- Any street trees that are removed should be replaced, either in the same location or nearby.
- Repair or restoration works must be required to return footways to flat and functional, without trip hazards.
These kind of guidelines need to be in the county Street Design Guide — which currently offers no details on footways at all — the Walking Design Guide, and ideally a broader kerbside policy, with all county teams incorporating those into processes and procedures for design, implementation and appraisal of schemes.
1) No new obstructions should be put onto footways unless there is clear space. Adequate space means two metres unimpeded width and more in high footfall locations. Obstacles include:
- sign poles, lampposts, etc.
- charging points for electric vehicles (or charging cables that run across footways)
- cycle and e-scooter parking
- shop signs or commercial advertising displays
- utility infrastructure (wiring cabinets etc)
- street trees
On space-constrained side streets, these should be put on buildouts into the carriageway.
2) New footway crossovers for driveways or other motor vehicle accesses should be implemented using entrance kerbs, keeping the footway flat. The current approach to these is to provide a smooth slope for motor vehicles at the expense of a camber on the footway, privileging car movements over pedestrians.
3) Cycle and e-scooter parking should be located on the carriageway, or at carriageway level, and not on the footway. If the Voi e-scooter scheme is ever made permanent, the parking for it must be relocated to the carriageway by reallocating car parking space.
Putting cycle and e-scooter parking at footway level encourages people to ride on the footway to reach it. There are "shared space" exceptions, but in general cycles and e-scooters are supposed to be ridden on the carriageway and not on the footway.
with the cycle parking at footway level, the obvious way to reach it is by cycling on the footway, via a dropped kerb at the junction top left (Jericho)
4) Any street trees that are lost should be replaced, either in the same location or nearby. Planting a dozen new trees somewhere else might be a net gain for decarbonisation and biodiversity, but doesn't help with shade or cooling on the street that has lost a tree.
5) Repairs or restorations, by utility companies or as part of routine maintenance, need to restore footways to flat and replace tactiles, dropped kerbs, etc. Cars should be prevented from driving across footways and damaging them.