Council to work with Jericho businesses and residents on Walton Street traffic 

Residents and businesses in and around Walton Street, Oxford, will continue to help shape the future of the roads in their community.  

Oxfordshire County Council has been running an experimental traffic order on Walton Street which has been closed at its junction with Beaumont Street since mid-2019.  

The aims of the arrangements were to prevent rat-running by people who do not live in the area, improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians and improve air quality.  

The central Oxford road was initially closed for repairs and, when faults beneath the road surface caused extra problems, .  

The county council implemented a trial closure of Walton Street at its junction with Beaumont Street, which is consistent with its transport strategy to prioritise sustainable transport modes and improve air quality, and following feedback from local people. The purpose of the trial was to assess whether a more permanent closure would be beneficial. 

To assess the closure the council put in an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in which could stay in place for up to 18 months with the first six months serving as a consultation period where anyone can have a say on how the arrangements are working.  

Changes have been made during the consultation period to deal with problems and in response to comments from residents.  

More work to be done locally 

It has been decided that more work needs to be done with residents and businesses to create a balanced approach that works best for everyone in the area.  

Also, changes to people’s travel habits during and post COVID-19 lockdown, mean that sustainable transport work is being done across the city and there is a need to coordinate what might happen in the Walton Street area with elsewhere. 

For this reason officers are recommending that a final decision be deferred at the July Cabinet Member’s Decisions meeting with a view to a final decision being taken later in the year. 

County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, said: “Reducing traffic in communities leads to improvements in air quality and safety, but we are well aware that there are still a range of strong views in the community.  

“We have learnt a lot from this process and want to keep speaking and working with local people before we make a final decision.  

“Since we started the experimental order everyone has been faced with COVID-19 and this has had its own effect on traffic. In the long term will we see less traffic overall on our roads and more people than ever walking and cycling?  

“If the answer is yes then is now the time to plan for it in places like Jericho?”