Help us create a cycling network Oxfordshire can be proud of
Residents are encouraged to take part in exciting new plans to radically improve the county’s cycling network.
Oxfordshire County Council has launched a survey to understand what cyclists like or dislike about cycling in the county and any problem locations they have.
Feedback from the survey will help us to draw up the first Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). These will then be used to help create a network which is attractive, comfortable and easy to use for all cyclists.
It’s all part of the county council’s commitment to thriving communities – we want to make towns, villages and the city healthier places to live and deliver on our climate change emergency commitments.
In the lead-up to Cycle to Work Day on Thursday, August 8, Cllr Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for the Environment, encouraged residents to complete the survey online.
She said: “We are committed to encouraging active, healthy and sustainable modes of travel, such as cycling, which benefit everybody by helping to reduce air pollution, noise pollution and greenhouse gases.
“Additional benefits for those who move actively as part of their everyday routine include improved physical and mental health, with associated benefits of increased productivity and reduced sickness absence.
“Encouraging active travel is an integral part of Oxfordshire Growth Board’s and Oxfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board’s shared priorities to create healthy places and address the climate emergency.”
LCWIPs will identify preferred routes and priority areas for further development over the next 10 years, with the programme dependent on Government funding.
Plans for Bicester, Didcot and Oxford will be drawn up over the next 18 months. Walking and cycling plans for other parts of Oxfordshire will be considered through the county council’s forthcoming Local Transport & Connectivity Plan.
The county council is already working closely with district councils and partners to create housing developments which are well connected for people travelling by foot and bike.
Cllr Suzanne Bartington, the county council’s cycling champion, said the ambition was to make cycling and walking natural choices for shorter journeys.
Research shows more and more people are already choosing to cycle. Around 40 per cent of adults in Oxford cycle at least weekly, with around 300,000 cycle trips made in Oxford every week and another 150,000 cycle trips in the rest of Oxfordshire.
But concerns still exist over safety and the aim of the LCWIPs is to help identify better cycle routes.
Cllr Bartington said: “We need to know what will help people ride their bikes – whether they prefer more direct on-road routes or protected off-road routes and which factors affect their choices about where to cycle.
“This survey will also help us to identify those real problem hotspots – where people have had near misses, close passes, obstructions which have made it difficult to cycle. We can then prioritise these for improvements.”
The survey closes on September 6. To take part please click the link Oxfordshire Cycle Survey 2019 and then click the box “other ways to respond to this consultation”.
For any queries about the survey, please respond to this email CycleSurvey2019@Oxfordshire.gov.uk
Where investment is already making a difference
Backhill pedestrian and cycle tunnel, Milton
A new foot and cycle path costing £360,000 was created beneath the railway to avoid a longer route via Park Drive. The new path is lit to minimise light pollution for local wildlife and features a shared Tarmac track for cyclists and pedestrians.
South Oxfordshire District Council cycling champion Cllr Sam Casey-Rerhaye said: “The work that’s been done by the county council for Backhill tunnel is really, really good. It has cut off about 20 minutes journey time so cyclists can come direct to Milton Park from Didcot. You can see how smooth it is and how easy it is to use.
“It’s really important we continue to work in partnership with the county council to promote cycling and get the cycle routes in the right place, make sure they’re safe and accessible and really promote cycling across the area.”
Vale of White Horse District Council cycling champion Cllr Eric de la Harpe added: “The new cycle tunnel has made it possible for colleagues of mine who were otherwise dissuaded by safety concerns to start commuting to Milton Park by bicycle. I am encouraged by the increasing number of cyclists that I see on my way to and from work. Things are moving in the right direction but we need more people to join us.”
Thames Path, Oxford
Work costing about £1.8m has seen a 2.4 mile stretch of the towpath widened up to three metres where possible and the provision of a new surface. The improvements between Hinksey Stream and Friars Wharf have provided greater comfort and experience for the many and varied users of the towpath.
Oxford City Council cycling champion Cllr Louise Upton said: “It’s vital for us to work with the county council as the transport authority and there have been some really good examples of best practices.
“I love the new riverside route. If the towpath is part of your commute to work it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m really delighted that the county council has resurfaced it like this.”
Oxfordshire County Council has been working in partnership with Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council to improve Bicester’s cycling infrastructure. This has included the Bicester Wayfinding Project, a comprehensive network of signage encouraging people to walk and cycle to destinations across the town, linking in new housing developments like Elmsbrook.
Cherwell District Council cycling champion Cllr Jason Slaymaker said: “It’s very important that Cherwell has a good working partnership with the county council to enable us to work together on cycling projects that benefit the district’s residents.
“The new cycle link between Elmsbrook and Bure Park enables people to cycle into town without having to go on the road. It’s great because it enables residents to access facilities more freely.”