Frideswide Square wins award

County council transport project wins Oxford Preservation Trust prize


Frideswide Square in Oxford has been handed a top prize from the Oxford Preservation Trust at their annual awards.

The £6.7m project took first place in the Environment and Landscape category in recognition of the transformation of the major gateway into the city from being dominated by standing traffic and traffic lights to a pleasant open space with a free-flowing lane for traffic.

Positive local contribution

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet member for transport, said: “I am delighted that all the hard work put in by everyone connected with the Frideswide Square project has been recognised.

“Frideswide Square is a clear example of how the county council is delivering high quality strategic infrastructure that also contributes to places in a positive way and really adds value above and beyond simply dealing with traffic.

“Traffic flows have also improved as we had hoped with queue lengths into the square reducing by up to 93%. Since its launch people have got used to the new shared-space layout and we are pleased with how it has been working.

“The fact that it is a prestigious organisation based in the city like the Oxford Preservation Trust making the award makes it extra-special as these are people with real local knowledge and pride in the area.”

Debbie Dance, Director of the Oxford Preservation Trust, said: “We are all so lucky to live in this great city and this is our favourite OPT event. It is our way of being able to recognise the projects that are making such a positive contribution to Oxford, and the people behind them”

Paul Durham, Business Director at Skanska, commented: “We are delighted that this project has scooped such a prestigious award. It is recognition of the hard work that everybody involved has put into delivering the improvements to this busy gateway into the city.”

Central boulevard design

Work on the main part of the square, which was carried out for the county council by its contractors Skanska, started in February 2015 and was finished in December 2015.

Pedestrians now have vast areas of space while cyclists can now choose to take on or off road routes. All traffic now travels along one central boulevard carriageway with courtesy pedestrian crossings replacing the old signal controlled crossings.

The old traffic lights were replaced by three roundabouts and there are now more than 37,000 cars, vans and light goods vehicle movements and around 5,000 lorries and bus movements going through the new “free flow” arrangements in a normal day.

The design of the square is based on “shared space” which largely removes the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles. This is done by removing features such as multiple lanes of traffic, traffic lights, and introducing low kerbs and courtesy crossing points.

Photo shows (left to right): Bev Hindle (Oxfordshire County Council Acting Director for Environment Economy), Paul Durham (Skanska), County Councillor David Nimmo Smith.