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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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).