Based on a four day visit to York, I think its city centre should be a model for Oxford's. York has pedestrianised a huge chunk of its centre, and it's really great to walk around. After a bit it just feels entirely normal, just as it does in similarly pedestrianised European cities, and it really shows up just how horrible walking around central Oxford is.
At least during the daytime, outside loading hours, there are no cars at all, moving or parked in the core area of York. This means that one never has to think about traffic at all, or even about getting around parked cars, which makes for a completely different feel to bits of Oxford such as Catte St or Turl St or New Inn Hall St or Merton St or Pembroke St, where anyone walking is likely to encounter at least one moving motor vehicle and many parked ones. more
Oxfordshire Liveable Streets invited Filip Watteouw, deputy mayor of Ghent, to talk about the circulation plan they implemented in 2017 and how that has worked out. I talked briefly about how that was similar to the Connecting Oxford plans. And there were questions about different aspects of the Ghent scheme. There is a recording of that session.
I'm not going to go over the details of the Ghent circulation plan - as well as our video, for that I also recommend this Streetfilms video and a followup on the politics and pr involved. more
I suggest that 1981 was the absolute nadir of utility cycling in Britain. As evidence for that I present, courtesy of Graham Smith, this diagram from the December 5, 1981 issue of the The Economist.
It seems to be everyone's first question about Norway. And yes, it is indeed expensive. more
It's interesting comparing the governance of schools in the UK and Australia (or, more precisely, in England and New South Wales). The headline figures are that only 7% of children in England attend private schools whereas more than 30% of children in Australia do so. But examination of the details makes the difference much less: many state schools in England seem closer to me to Australian private schools than to Australian state schools.
When I set up a landline with British Telecom, back when we started renting Catherine St in 2010, I enabled a number of features. A few days later I received five different pieces of post, each informing me that a particular feature had been enabled, along with separate pieces of mail informing me that my account had been set up and the landline activated. more
The Economist's global house price comparison suggests that UK residential property is 34% overpriced and Australian property 61% overpriced. more
Utility costs are very different in Sydney and Oxford. Overall the UK is more expensive, even at current exchange rates. more
The British media really only cover Australia when there are major political events, disasters, or "man bites kangaroo" stories. more
I've adjusted to thinking in pounds and not converting prices to Australian dollars, at least for daily life. more
As a citizen of a Commonwealth country resident in the UK, I am eligible to vote in UK elections. And I've just sent off a letter to the Oxfordshire Council registering as a voter so I can do that. more
Talking about the weather is a particularly English pastime, but the UK weather at the moment is rather dramatic. more