The Oxfordshire Active Travel Fund
The Oxfordshire Active Travel Fund (Tranche 2) is centered on five schemes: three in Oxford City and the remaining two in the freestanding rapidly expanding market towns of Bicester and Witney. The schemes have purportedly been identified during the development of the Oxford Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan (LCWIP) which was formally adopted by Council in March 2020 with LCWIPs for Bicester and Witney following later that year. The ambition of the ATF is to kick start the LCWIPs. Of course, the package of measures outlined in the Oxfordshire ATF has to be viewed in the context of county and city-wide measures to reduce traffic and encourage walking, cycling and public transport already being funded by the city and county councils. For example, two bus gates in the central area to complement existing bus gate on High Street are planned in tandem and will ultimately prevent all cross town private car traffic which will have to use the ring road instead. The phased roll-out of a zero-emission zone is also in progress.
The foundation of the ATF is built on concepts developed following a council survey in 2019. This led to a two pronged strategy for cycling and walking provision in the form of ‘Quickways’ (i.e. routes along key arterial corridors) and ‘Quietways’ (i.e. more meandering routes through residential areas and, for example, along river paths). Proposals across the ATF essentially build on those concepts. The development of Quietways will involve local mode filters or road closures, using low cost planters and markings, as part of introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) to remove and reduce traffic - more on this in a forthcoming blog post! Quickways on the other hand aim to provide continuous cycle lanes by removing kerbside parking spaces and road centre line markings to accommodate them and also reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph. However, it’s not all about physical infrastructure. The Oxfordshire ATF includes complimentary measures such as establishing a Community Cycling Activator programme to support people getting back on their bikes; a Cycling and Walking Activation App to provide support and monitoring; an extension of the successful Wheels for All programme for people with disabilities; School Streets outside at least four schools as well as five Park and Stride schemes; and finally, an e-scooter trial which is already in place at the time of writing.
Oxford City ATF schemes
The three schemes in Oxford City are focused in the east of the city and just north of the city centre. Proposals for Cowley and Headington in the east of the city include the improvement of three of four radial routes (Quickways) and three Quietways. Specifics include bus gates, traffic filters, and new cycle lanes (protected where possible). Proposals for Jericho and Walton manor just north of city centre include improvements to existing cycleways along two main roads (Quickways) Woodstock Road and Banbury Road in St Giles in form of mandatory cycle lanes. Improvements to two Quietways including a LTN scheme in Jericho building on the closure of Walton Street (Experimental Traffic Regulation Order) and a pedestrianised area. Finally, Littlemore and Rose Hill, southeast of the city, will include improvements to the main radial road (Quickway) and Quietway by widening and improving existing cycle lanes and removing parking to support provision of a fully segregated cycle path.
Bicester ATF scheme
The Bicester scheme focuses on connectivity to town centre via a central corridor (Oxford Road and Kings End) and Causeway. This will be complimented by off-road pedestrian and cycle facilities and reduced traffic speeds and the removal of parking at a busy junction at western end of route. Pedestrian and cycle facilities are also proposed along Middleton Stoney Road, Oxford Road and Kings End. Improvements to Eastern Causeway aim to plug the missing connection to the town centre. The scheme is also supported by plans for a School Streets pilot and Park and Stride options. The Community Cycle Activator and Wheels for All will also operate in this area.
Witney ATF scheme
Plans for Witney include the provision of a continuous east-west corridor across town. This will involve measures to slow vehicle traffic and prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and temporary measures including modal filters at Fiveways roundabout and speed limit reductions in Corn Street. A Zebra crossing will be converted to Toucan on Oxford Hill. Again, the Community Cycling Activator, Cycling and Walking Activation App and Wheels for All will be rolled out in this area.
Next month we report on the Worcestershire Active Travel Fund.