Whose roads are they, anyway? A lively Ward Focus Meeting

Thanks to all of you who turned up to our latest Ward Focus Meeting last evening. The main item was cycling and pedestrian issues and Ruth had done a grand job of organising some invited speakers — Ben Smith and Owen South from County, Headington resident Simon Hunt from Cyclox, and Sushila Dhall from Oxford Pedestrians’ Association. We were also fortunate to have Inspector Marc Tarbit from the police in the audience.

We certainly had a lively and wide-ranging discussion which encompassed particular problem spots like Cuckoo Lane and Old Road, as well as wider issues — from the lack of enforcement of 20mph to the problems of cycling appearing and then disappearing in several stretches of the area. A recurring theme was the issue of cycling on pavements and of ‘shared use’ where cycle routes are put on pavements; these got a general thumbs-down and it was suggested that, in some places, moving a bus shelter forward could create less of a conflict between pedestrian and cycle use. That’s one that needs to be thought about further. Cyclox particularly stressed the need for a dual network which recognises that cyclists are not one community but involve some who are confident and speedy while others are less so. The County could report on their aspirations for ‘quiet routes’ through Headington — these are at an early stage.

It was apparent that these were issues in which local people have a lot of investment and where an on-going dialogue will be important. There’s an open door with County officers and interest from the police, so Ruth and I are keen to encourage a working party to look at these issues, develop specific objectives and work away to see them happen. We already have some names of interested residents. Do you want to get involved? If so, do drop Ruth or myself a line.

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