WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 21st September 2022

Drastically reducing the access to Oxford by car

Will the new travel plans for central Oxfordshire cause people to stop using Oxford as a regular destination?

The County Council are developing the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan covering Oxford, Kidlington, Eynsham, Botley, Cumnor, Kennington and Wheatley.

The objective is to drastically reduce the access to Oxford by car.

The consultation is available at https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/central-oxfordshire-travel-plan and comments can be submitted until 3 October.

They are looking at options that free up the limited road space in Central Oxfordshire to create a place where

- buses are fast, affordable and reliable,
- people can walk and cycle, in pleasant and safe environments, and
- high polluting, unnecessary, individual car journeys take a back seat so that zero-emission buses, taxis and delivery vans are the norm, and that those who need to take essential journeys by car can do so without congestion.

In Oxford city centre, a number of the off-street public car parks are identified for closure or a significant reduction in spaces, including Gloucester Green, Worcester Street, Oxpens and Oxford Station.

With most of new homes planned for people who will work in Oxford being delivered outside the city’s ring road, good public transport is going to be key to this working.

The report admits that average bus speeds in Oxford have been declining on key routes to and from the city centre and employment sites, with only 8mph achieved between the JR hospital and city centre via Cowley Centre during weekday peaks.

This is the only mention of the hospitals in Oxford in the whole of a 56 page document even though the Oxford Hospitals are inside the area.

They propose to install a set of strategic traffic filters through which only certain types of vehicles (e.g., buses, taxis, and cycles) may pass (like bus gates).

Traffic filters should reduce traffic and congestion, which will make bus journeys quicker and more reliable. They will also make cycling and walking much more attractive options for people making journeys within the city.

Car access will still be possible to all areas; however, journeys by car may take longer and be less direct. Internal car trips within the city will probably have to go via the Oxford ring road.  So expect journeys to the Hospitals to take longer.

Much of the plan involves studies so many things are unclear.

I hope you find it easier to understand than I have.

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