Bus gates, school streets, 20mph zones and more space for cyclists on the agenda as county plans long-term transformation
Residents returning to shops, schools and town centres as Oxfordshire emerges from lockdown are being assured that the county council will build on the short-term changes being made to the transport network with a range of longer-term measures to boost sustainable travel and cut congestion and air pollution.
The county council is currently spending almost £600,000, through the first part of the government’s emergency active travel fund, in a series of measures to help make journeys easier by bike and on foot and enable people to maintain social distancing. The government requires this money to be allocated to projects in the first four weeks and completed in eight weeks.
Longer term, the county council is now looking at ways to maximise environmental gains with a further £2.4m of government funding, and boosting the uptake of cycling, walking and public transport are at the top of the agenda. Measures being discussed include:
- Three new bus gates in central Oxford to slash city centre congestion, cut air pollution and improve the speed of bus journeys as services recover
- The adoption of school streets (ready for September) to prohibit vehicles around schools at certain times of day to help improve air quality and encourage active travel
- Greater reallocation of road-space for bikes across Oxfordshire
- Further 20mph zones to make journeys safer for those who walk or cycle (Banbury, Bicester & Kidlington, Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Henley, Thame, Wallingford, Wantage and for villages that support them)
- Changes to road junctions to improve safety, especially for those on foot or bike (Banbury & Bicester, Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Henley, Thame, Wallingford and Wantage)
- Electric scooter trials being brought forward from 2021 to this summer as another zero-emission way to travel sustainably
A survey of county councillors was undertaken in May to determine the core priorities for how the active travel funding should be invested to benefit all areas of the county.
Residents are welcome to give feedback on the proposals via the council’s active travel website:
Cllr Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“The active travel funding will build on our existing ambitious plans for transforming how people travel and how communities are connected.
“Active travel and climate action is at the heart of our plans, and I’d like to encourage everyone to make their comments about how we can target the funding to achieve cleaner and more sustainable travel for Oxfordshire and help transform our lives for the better.”