Oxford residents back plans for congestion cutting measures

A group of Oxford residents have made clear their approval of plans to create ‘bus gate’ traffic filters to cut congestion in the city and lower pollution.

The group of 16 were chosen at random to represent the diversity of different communities and be a part of an independent Citizen’s Jury, as organised by Oxford University.

Presented with evidence from groups both supportive and critical of the measures, the jurors were asked ‘how can we travel where we need to in Oxford in ways that are good for health and the climate?’

At the end of the process, they collectively gave their support to plans for the traffic filters, which would be located on six different key routes across the city.

It’s believed the measure could improve the reliability of bus services, speed up public transport, reduce accidents and improve air quality.

photography of people walking on empty road

The Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT), an alliance of 16 sustainable transport and green groups across Oxfordshire, said these findings show congestion cutting measures are popular.

Robin Tucker, Co-Chair of CoHSAT, said: ‘This is concrete and independent evidence that the plans to cut congestion and get Oxford moving would be popular with local residents. It’s really important that changes take an evidence-based approach and we don’t just listen to those with the loudest voices. What this impartial research shows is that people want to see change in Oxford so that we can speed up buses, reduce congestion for people who need cars and make cycling safer.’

Additionally, the jury called for free or discounted travel on buses for certain groups, such as young and elderly people, disabled people and key workers, like nurses.

They also suggested a new school bus system be introduced to reduce traffic during the ‘school run’, as well as cycle training at schools and free bikes for lower-income students, including those eligible for Pupil Premium.

Laura di Giacomo, a parent who has set up a ‘bike library’ to support other parents and children to get access to free bikes at Saint Ebbe’s CofE Primary School, said: ‘People are really willing to engage on these issues and prepared to support changes like bus gates and LTNs if they are given support with walking and cycling. Particularly when you engage with people on a one-to-one basis, you can begin to see real results and people change their habits.

‘I’ve supported dozens of parents and children who might otherwise be too scared to cycle. These changes will make them feel much safer.’

Oxford City Council has launched a consultation on proposals to install the traffic filters which will prevent private cars from entering certain areas without a permit, while allowing access for other vehicles, such as buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs.

The traffic filters would be located on St Cross Road, Thames Street, St Clements and Hythe Bridge Street and would operate seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. Two more filters would also be located on Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way and would operate from Monday to Saturday.

It’s believed the measure could improve public transport services in the city which are currently operating slowly, as recent research from Oxfordshire Liveable Streets showed that buses in Oxford were no faster than taking a horse and cart.

Photo by Suad Kamardeen


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Anne Garvey
Anne Garvey
1 year ago

Well done Oxford! Here in Cambridge we would love to follow but are trammelled by a County Council which is mostly Tory representing villages all around Cambridge who love to hop in their cars and park in the many car parks in the centre. The trend here is in the wrong direction and it will be so interesting to see how Oxford goes on.

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