Cycleways and footpaths to be cleared and repaired as council anticipates demand surge

Cyclists and walkers are set to benefit from a concerted plan of action to clear and prepare Oxfordshire’s network of cycleways and footpaths ready for the expected rises in demand as lockdown is very gradually relaxed.

As the people of Oxfordshire look to return to work and school during the Summer, cycling and walking will become more important than ever – both offer zero emission ways to travel which will improve health and wellbeing as well as helping to address the need to keep socially distant.

A recent survey of all 63 Oxfordshire County Councillors found that the need to improve cycling infrastructure was a standout priority in terms of how Oxfordshire’s share of the government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel grant fund should be spent.

Amongst other practical and quick to implement measures, such as improving signage and sweeping the busiest paths and cycle lanes, keeping vegetation under control and fixing surfaces feature in our immediate plans of work. This is all part of keeping the network safe to use for cyclists and pedestrians as lockdown restrictions ease but will also hopefully encourage more people to walk and cycle in the long term.

The county council is developing a programme of work for the county’s city, urban, suburban and rural areas.

In each case, the work will pay particular attention to narrower areas that might be widened for greater access. Paths where any surface improvement work will also be identified so repairs can be made. As we work through the programme residents can expect to see more measures like this being prioritised across the county.

Cllr Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “In the coming weeks and well beyond, our cycleways and footpaths will form a vital part of our recovery strategy. They will enable residents of all ages to safely travel to a range of locations. Now that cycling and walking have become so popular, we are committed to enabling residents to continue to cycle and walk as ongoing lifestyle choices.”

If people encounter any issues whilst out walking, cycling or riding on the path network then these can be reported or checked on Oxfordshire County Council’s website. People can report a roadside vegetation problem, as well as other street problems, through our online reporting tool Fixmystreet.