Consultation: pedestrianisation of Queen Street

There is a County Council consultation setting out proposals for pedestrianizing Queen Street. Here is their information below.


  • Oxfordshire County Council proposes to improve Queen Street in central Oxford by prohibiting buses, taxis and private hire vehicles from using it. This would in effect make the street largely ‘pedestrianised’ – similar to Cornmarket.  
  • No changes are proposed to access for cyclists and delivery vehicles, which would continue to be permitted between 6pm and 10am.    
  • Between New Road and New Inn Hall Street (i.e. through Bonn Square), cycling will continue to be permitted 24 hours a day, as now.

Why pedestrianise Queen Street

Queen Street forms part of one of the main east-west routes across the city centre, and pedestrian and cycle numbers are expected to increase significantly in future as a result of development in the city’s West End and elsewhere across Oxford

It is vital that strong pedestrian and cycle links are maintained and encouraged, and improvements to the pedestrian experience are made, to ensure a well-connected and joined up city centre that will continue to thrive

The pedestrianisation of Queen Street is part of the county council’s Local Transport Plan and Oxford City Council’s development plan for the West End, the West End Area Action Plan. It is an important element of wider improvements to the public realm in the city centre, such as the recent transformation of Frideswide Square

It is proposed that the changes required to pedestrianise Queen Street are made by the time the new Westgate centre opens in autumn 2017

This is because major changes to bus routes and stops will be required when the new Westgate centre opens in any event. Co-ordinating these changes with the Queen Street proposals will minimise disruption and will also mean Queen Street will be better able to cope with the increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists going to and from the enlarged Westgate centre once it opens

This proposal is not part of the Westgate development, but Oxfordshire County Council is working closely with the Westgate Oxford Alliance (the owners of the Westgate centre) to plan this project

Proposed changes

The project includes a package of measures to provide alternative arrangements for buses, taxis, and private hire including:

  • New bus routes around the city centre to allow buses to avoid Queen Street and serve the expanded Westgate centre
  • A new bus turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, including new zebra crossing facilities on New Road, Worcester Street and Park End Street
  • Changes to bus stop locations, including removal of the bus stop in Bonn Square
  • Changes to the pick and set down points for many bus services
  • Relocation of loading bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of disabled parking bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of taxi rank at Carfax

Project costs and funding

It is estimated that the infrastructure required to close Queen Street will cost around £965,000. This includes some major works to create the turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, provision of new bus stops and shelters, and changes to pavements

At this stage the project is not fully funded; funding sources are to be confirmed following further design work to finalise the proposals, including consideration of the feedback from this consultation.

This consultation

This consultation will run from 9th May to 6th June. Your views are invited on all aspects of the proposals.

Future consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders

Some of the proposals require amendments to existing Traffic Regulation Orders. These will be advertised separately later in the summer, as part of the formal consultation on the scheme

Responses to this consultation will be used to further refine the scheme in advance of that formal consultation

Project timetable (subject to consultation and funding)

Initial consultation                                     May/June 2016

Consultation on TRO amendments          Summer 2016

Detailed design commences                    Autumn 2016

Construction period                                  April – Sept 2017

Westgate opens and changes come into effect   October 2017

Details of all of the proposals are available at

Paper copies are available on request.

contact details are below.

Oxfordshire County Council

Speedwell Street


Or e-mail them at:

The deadline for comments is: Monday 6th June 2016

Telephone: 01865 792422


Bus route change during night-time roadworks

Night closures are planned for Lyndworth Mews and Lyndworth Close (no. 31 to end), and of Stowood Close to the end of Northfield Rd, from 27 April to the 12th May

Please note the changes to Oxford Bus services listed below: (wording taken from their update)

London Road Overnight Resurfacing

We have been advised that London Road will be closed for resurfacing between Headington and Green Road Roundabout overnight between 1900 and 0600 from 27th April for 4 nights and from 6th May for 2 nights.

This will involve diversions for our local services city8/9, park&ride400 and BROOKESbus U1 as well as airline and X90 coaches.

Our services will divert outbound from Headington lights, right into Windmill Road, The Slade, left at the Corner House, and left onto Eastern Bypass to Green Road to resume normal route. Inbound is a reverse of this diversion.

As a result, stops between Headington and Green Road will not be served during this diversion.

As an alternative, all services that normally pick up at the shops opposite the Post Office will pick up at the first stop on Windmill Road (stop HS3) . Oxford-bound, X90 and airline OXF will also provide a temporary drop-off point at the Headington Shops Stop HS2 .

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for your patience during these works. We strongly urge that you allow plenty of extra time for your journey, as delays are likely. Please keep checking our Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates.

Response to Connecting Oxfordshire

Headington LibDem councillors sent in the following comments to the County Council in response to LTP4/Oxford Transport Strategy


  1. We welcome these documents as they provide useful baseline information, and we believe that the proposals are generally well-considered and innovative, although we find it difficult to make comments on some of the ideas as we do not feel we have enough information on which to give a view.


  1. We look forward to the publication of proposals and options in respect of improvements to the A34 and to the public consultation later in the year.


  1. We believe that any work undertaken by the County Council on the detail of the projects within this scheme should be informed by consultation with Parish Councils, Neighbourhood Forums and local councillors in the area. The emerging Headington Neighbourhood Plan is likely to include transport-related proposals and projects requested by the local community after wide local consultation, and a continuing good working relationship between all parties is of benefit to all.


  1. We note that many of the projects listed in the Science Transit Strategy have no funding identified at this stage. The number of jobs in Headington has grown substantially in recent years and will continue to do so, particularly at university and hospital sites, and this, coupled with the lack of affordable and keyworker housing in the local area, has given rise to concerns about the volume and speed of through traffic, congestion and air pollution, and increased calls for more cycling facilities and connecting routes.



Strategic Environmental Assessment


  1. We believe that insufficient weighting has been given to issues arising from the strategic environmental assessment: Appendix C – effects on human health. Specifically, the following issues require further consideration and/or resolution.


  1. We note (p3-1) that the Association for Directors of Public Health recommends that 10% of transport budgets is committed to walking and cycling. We cannot find evidence in the proposals to show that this notional figure will be met by projects set out in the OTS.


  1. Section 2.4 refers to the need for a road safety strategy within and beyond the county. There is also reference to the need for programmes of safety measures within the plan. The science transit strategy in section 3.7 suggests that technology and data innovation should be embraced, and we suggest that this should be extended to unlocking accident and near miss data too.



  1. Accident numbers at junctions have been highlighted, and we support further research on the most effective way to mitigate accidents and near misses particularly at junctions of “A” roads with residential roads in Oxford City. We believe that a transport safety advice team should be allocated a budget within LTP4 to research best practice and give advice and sign off to project managers on road safety-related matters.


  1. We believe that insufficient weight has been given to the reduction of emissions, particularly in areas where there is a higher proportion of elderly residents and congestion is high, and that improvements in air quality should have a higher policy priority. (Section 2.9 Effect on the elderly). Overall air quality targets should meet those set out in district council air quality plans.


  1. Promotion of urban tree planting to improve air quality should be a key objective rather than something that may be addressed at project level. We suggest that the County identifies the species of trees that are suitable in urban areas across the city where congestion is worst.





  1. We note on p9, vol 2 section (i) that

Congestion has a serious impact on public transport within the Eastern Arc, making journeys on the orbital routes longer and less reliable (notably those which use the B4955)


  1. Given that this is a very congested route, and that the number of vehicle journeys within the Eastern Arc are high, it follows that Bus Rapid Transit line 3 would be high priority.  However the Science Transit Strategy document sets out the project for full electrification of BRT line 3 as “aspirational” rather than “proposed” with an implementation date of 2026-30 (which is odd as the “proposed” project to reopen the Cowley branch for passenger trains by Chiltern Railways with an implementation date of 2019-24 is described as intersecting BRT line 3). We suggest that the status of Bus Rapid Transit line 3 should be changed to “proposed” although we don’t have enough information yet to form a judgment on whether BRT lines are workable.


  1. We also note that the need for “a timed access restriction (e.g. bus gate or road user charging point) on Hollow Way” has been identified. It seems likely to us that this will displace some vehicle traffic on journeys from Cowley through to major employment destinations and schools in Headington. More vehicles may use Divinity Road and Southfield Road. Alternatively, they may use the eastern bypass, prefer not to queue up the Slade, and instead rat run through Headington Quarry Village which is a Conservation Area.


  1. We suggest that consideration is given to restricting vehicular access through Quarry as a through route to Headington from the bypass, and that other commonly used rat runs are identified and analysed to identify measures to reduce the volume and speed of through traffic in residential roads, e.g. in Old Headington Village from the Green Road roundabout to Northway.


District centres


  1. We recognise the difficulties in resolving tensions below:
  • The need to ensure a quality of place in district centres on the radial routes (p11)
  • The need for high quality BRT waiting facilities (p12)
  • Minimising conflict between those waiting at bus stops and other road users by allocating sufficient shelter capacity (p13)
  • BRT stops being inset from the main carriageway (p15)
  • Transit hubs at district centres would maintain safe walking and cycle access by keeping people segregated from public transport and vehicle movements.


  1. It is difficult to visualise how and where the above could happen in Headington District Centre, given existing highway widths. Would the County Council consider ‘buying back’ some of the privately owned frontage in front of the shops on London Road and land in Windmill Road and Headley Way?


  1. We agree wholeheartedly with the statement on p22 of OTS vol 2 (i) which says: “Public realm improvements should be integrated into multi-modal access improvements in the centres of Cowley and Headington, to improve pedestrian footfall, promote local shopping and stimulate local regeneration.




  1. We currently see little in the OTS that will reduce the overall numbers of buses travelling through Headington. Is it possible to quantify the reduction in local buses that would follow from the introduction of BRT route 1?


  1. We are concerned about the amount of disruption that may occur during construction on major routes where rapid bus transit may be introduced. The A420 London Road is currently being re-built, but electrification is not part of the spec. Does this mean it will have to be dug up again? How long would this take? And what negative impact would this have on local traders?


  1. We feel that the evidence for a bus transit tunnel would be strongest between the Eastern by-pass and the JR hospital rather than in the City Centre, but we believe that such a proposal would be far too costly unless a major funding source can be identified.


  1. We believe there is scope to offer some bus services to and from London and the airports directly from Thornhill Park and Ride, rather than from the City Centre, and there is space there for a bus ‘laying off point’.


  1. We have reservations about some of the BRT routes which have been referred to by officers as ‘conceptual’, including the route across the Lye Valley, and require firmed up proposals so that we can make informed comments.





  1. If CPZs are introduced across the City, there would be issues relating to the parking of commercial vehicles – is there a plan for how to deal with this?


  1. Given that proposals refer to an increased need for taxi use, some consideration should be given to identifying areas for taxi and minicab drivers waiting for work outside the city centre


  1. Short stay parking is at a minimum in Headington as our traders constantly remind us. A review of RPZs in the Headington area is long overdue.


  1. The proposition to build above Headington Car Park was investigated fully and discounted from Oxford City Council’s Sites and Housing Plan 2011-2026 after widespread consultation.


  1. Has the County Council investigated whether capacity has been reached at stakeholder workplaces e.g. BMW, all of Brookes campuses, or is there spare capacity for use by, for example, commercial vehicles? Could the County Council purchase access to excess spaces and derive income from these?


  1. Workplace parking levies can penalise low paid workers if passed onto employees by the employer. Some employees commute to work by car because of caring responsibilities or because the time needed to take alternative forms of transport is prohibitive- does the County have a view on what is acceptable travel to work time? More detail is needed around this proposal before we can comment further.


  1. We would welcome more measures to slow speeding vehicles in urban residential areas, this may encourage folk to use other means of transport.


  1. To reduce congestion round the hospitals, a link from the A40 direct into the JR should be considered.


  1. We would support a feasibility study to determine whether a system at Thornhill Park and Ride could be offered whereby hospital staff and patients could enter a code or swipe a card on entry to gain access to parking places which may be subsidized by OUHT and/or the County Council.


  1. We would support further research and cost-benefit analysis of road user charging to inform further thinking.





  1. We believe that insufficient consideration has been given to the promotion of cycling and walking as pastimes, rather than as modes of travel to work. Quiet routes are well-used and more could be developed.


  1. The cycling routes outlined in the Connecting Oxfordshire document show that two cycle super routes stop at different points as they join the A420 London Road. We would support consistently signed and joined up cycle routes, particularly to and from schools and major employment sites. Cycling routes should be segregated wherever possible.


  1. Innovative improvements to cycle routes and signage should be piloted in areas where cycling is a popular means of transport both to work and as a pastime. The ‘safety in numbers’ principle is best tested here, and improvements could then be rolled out to other areas of the City


  1. Cycle super routes should be prioritised in areas with high growth in employment and/or housing. Purchase of land by the County Council to ensure that these routes meet the required standard should be considered.


  1. There is a demonstrated need for better cycling connections between Cowley and Headington which is not sufficiently addressed in these proposals.


  1. We believe that pre-signals for cyclists at traffic signal junctions would be well worth considering as these might reduce the risk of accidents at junctions.


  1. The routing of cycle tracks around bus stops and bus shelters needs further consideration for safety reasons. This is a frequently reported concern.


  1. We urge the County Council to encourage and work with hospital trusts and the universities to provide better routes and signage for cyclists on their sites.


  1. More work can usefully be carried out to educate cyclists, in the workplace and school, and outside. There is scope for wider stakeholder and community involvement in cycling education projects. The County could also work with stakeholders to provide training for drivers of motorized scooters.


  1. We fully support a city-wide cycle scheme e.g. Oxonbikes as we believe the Headington scheme has been popular, especially by those travelling to work.




  1. We do not think that enough is done within the OTS to promote pedestrian transport. We would welcome a feasibility study or project to introduce puffin crossings more widely. These have sensors that detect pedestrians and also control traffic lights. The balance between traffic and pedestrians in residential areas and shopping areas should be more heavily weighted towards pedestrians in order to “ensure a quality of place” (see 15 above).


  1. There are desire lines for pedestrian crossings which merit further consideration, e.g. across the A420 London Road at the Osler Road junction, outside the Bury Knowle Health Centre, and across the A40 dual carriageway connecting the Risinghurst and Barton communities.


  1. We should like to see more projects to upgrade footpaths, which would encourage more people to walk as their chosen mode of travel. This would also help the elderly and those with mobility problems.


  1. School travel plans promoting safe pedestrian routes should be given a higher priority. Changes could be made at junctions to encourage more walking to school.












County Cllr Roz Smith, Headington and Quarry Division

City Cllr Ruth Wilkinson, Headington Ward

City Cllr Altaf-Khan, Headington Ward                                                    02/04/15

Headington Transport Strategy Development consultation – response from Headington Ward Councillors

The following response was sent to the County Council as part of the consultation and is reproduced in full


As City Councillors for Headington Ward, we welcome the opportunity to help shape the work on a transport strategy for the area. We are acutely aware of the problems residents and workers suffer because the transport system is near capacity and it is high time that official responses moved from being reactive to being strategic. We hope that the commitment to developing a strategy is more than just political window-dressing and is, instead, real, determined and long-term. It is also essential that the strategy is owned by the whole community, not just by the Councils and the big employers. We are, of course, pleased that you have taken our advice and are gathering responses from the residential community. We urge you to show your commitment to an on-going partnership with Headington’s residents and their representatives.


What do you consider to be the transport issues and problems in the study area (includes Barton, Headington, Marston, Risinghurst and Wood Farm)?

There are several well-known structural issues that are the root causes of the acknowledged traffic problems in the Headington area:

  1. Headington is a major employment hub for the city, with five hospitals, a University of Oxford research centre and Oxford Brookes University, along with several independent schools.
  2. For various reasons, the area has high accommodation costs, so some employees live well outside the area and commute to work in Headington.
  3. The major hospitals have constraints in terms of access from the ring road, as they are located in areas of Headington adjacent to protected sites: for example, the JR is near the Old Headington Conservation Area, and the Churchill is adjacent to the Boundary Brook and Lye Valley SSSI.
  4. Headington is also the gateway to Oxford for visitors from London and the airports, and many residents commute to jobs in London and the Thames Valley.

All these factors contribute to the problems:

  1. Road congestion at peak times, rat running through residential roads, and deterioration of road surfaces particularly in London Road, Osler Road, and Latimer Road.
  2. Headington has two air quality hotspots as measured by Oxford City Council (Air Quality Action Plan summary).
  3. Transport issues and problems for pedestrians include:
  • A well-used but dangerous crossing point in London Road at the junction with Osler Road
  • No audible signal for visually impaired pedestrians to cross at Headington Carfax, confusion between pedestrians and drivers about who has right of way at raised entrances to residential roads off London Road
  • An articulated need for a second pedestrian crossing in Windmill Road from the Bateman Street area to assist children in their travel to school.
  1. Transport issues and problems re cyclists include:
  • Fragmented cycle lanes and confusion over priority with pedestrians in shared spaces
  • Cycling on pavements by those who are less confident (and often are adults)
  • Many cycle to and from major employment and study destinations in Old Road and perceive this road to be dangerous
  • Failure to observe highway rules e.g. failing to stop at pedestrian crossings or red traffic lights.
  1. Public transport issues and problems include:
  • Bunching of buses in London Road
  • Routing of buses through a residential road which is not fit for purpose (Osler Road)
  • Unmet demand for buses to Summertown from Headington Centre
  • Night shift hospital staff unable to get on the busy no. 4 service at the Churchill stop in morning peak time
  • Buses and coaches in London Road swerving to avoid the rutted road surface
  • The removal of bus services from the Franklin Road area to Headington and Oxford.
  1. Coaches and traffic to/from independent schools cause congestion and generate parking problems in Latimer Road and London Road. There is a stated need by these schools for shuttle buses from Thornhill and the railway station.
  2. Vehicles stuck in traffic queues in London Road heading east pull out into the centre of the road and cut corners into Lime Walk and Latimer Road causing near misses
  3. Motorists perceive some junctions to be dangerous:
  • The All Saints Road/Lime Walk junction where traffic is unexpectedly encountered coming from a counter-intuitive direction
  • Headington Carfax where vehicles get stranded in the centre of the junction trying to turn right, and sometimes move only when the green man is showing for pedestrians
  1. Heavy congestion and/or avoidance of perceived hazardous junctions results in rat-running in (a) Barton Lane/St Andrew’s Road/Dunstan Road  (b) Highfield Area, including Latimer Road from Old Road  (c) Sandfield Road/Woodlands Road to Headley Way from London Road  (d) via Headington Quarry to avoid delays at Green Road roundabout
  2. There is speeding at off-peak times in Windmill Road, Lime Walk and London Road, and vehicles exceed the 20 MPH limits in residential roads including Dunstan Road, and roads off London Road and Old Road.
  3. The exit from Barton onto the Green Road roundabout causes problems for drivers as there is no traffic light to help them. Vehicles merging from slip road filtering left from Green Road roundabout to Cowley-bound eastern bypass sometimes cause near-misses.
  4. Taxis pulling in at Dorset House mount the pavement and obstruct line of sight for motorists immediately in front of a bus stop and pedestrian crossing
  5. Motorists have difficulty exiting from residential roads into heavy traffic e.g. Windmill Road from Langley Close and Rock Edge, London Road from Latimer Road, Lime Walk
  6. Parking issues can cause transport problems:
  • Lack of short stay parking means those using cash dispensers or visiting only one shop park on DYLs and in side streets causing congestion
  • The RPZ areas need revising – some residents with permits can’t find spaces and have to park on corners or on DYLs e.g. Gardiner Street, Windsor St. areas.
  • Commercial and retail staff swap around cars and vans every two hours to avoid car parking charges causing shortage of 2 or 3 hour parking for visitors e.g. in Old High Street.


What solutions do you think could form part of a strategy to address the transport issues identified?

It has to be accepted that not all the solutions to Headington’s traffic issues are in the hands of the Local Highway Authority (LHA). There are, though, many actions the LHA can and should take. Those actions should be guided by the following seven principles:

  1. Develop any strategy in engagement with the whole community, including residents and small businesses, not just the top three employers. This can be best done through constructive dialogue with the Headington Transport Group and the Headington Neighbourhood Forum as it progresses the Neighbourhood Plan.
  2. Establish clearly the transport capacity of the Headington area and be ready to object to planning applications which put intolerable strain on the transport system.
  3. Recognise that the route through Headington is perceived as the gateway to Oxford and so give it the priority it requires. As a first step, make urgent repairs to the carriageway between the Headington cross-roads and the Green Road roundabout.
  4. Accept that many of the streets of Headington are residential and were not built to sustain large vehicles. As far as possible, respect the residential nature of those streets and do not subject them to inappropriate usage.
  5. Ensure that any strategy balances the needs of all road-users – pedestrians, cyclists, bus-users and car-drivers. Wherever possible, give each category of user dedicated road space.
  6. Tackle the issues which limit the use of public transport. The introduction of cross-ticketing has certainly helped but more needs to be done to encourage travellers to choose buses over cars. This is particularly the case when a journey involves changing from one bus to another.
  7. Ensure that effective quality control mechanisms are in place to guarantee the standard of work undertaken in any changes. Specifically, review contract arrangements to ensure that there is rigorous comeback on contractors for shoddy workmanship.

Specific actions that should be taken include:

a)      Collect and analyse origin and destination survey data to establish the purpose and direction of travel through Headington, and the start and end locations of those journeys.

b)      Encourage Oxford City Council to set up more air quality monitoring points and determine what action would be taken if the air quality reaches a level that is less than adequate

c)       Rebuild surface of London Road from Green Road roundabout to Headington Carfax as a top priority for the City.

d)      Further develop Thornhill Park & Ride, recognising that it is used both by commuters into Oxford and Oxford residents commuting to London. Make it more attactive by further expansion and a fairer pricing regime. In particular, support the introduction of shuttle buses from Thornhill to the independent schools and major employers, reducing through-traffic and parking problems

e)      Carry out improvements to improve safety. These may include:

  • Improve signage of priority at raised junctions
  • Investigate whether the roadway and pavements in Windmill Road could be redesigned so that pedestrians don’t have to walk into the road to pass queues at the bus stop
  • Put in yellow boxes in London Road and Windmill Road at junctions with residential streets
  • Erect a bollard in the centre of both Latimer Road and Lime Walk near the junction with London Road so that drivers cannot cut corners when turning right off London Road

f)       Re-arrange pedestrian crossings on London Road in order both to help pedestrians and improve traffic flows. In particular,  establish a safe pedestrian crossing point at the junction of London Road and Osler Road

g)      Establish further pedestrian crossings to improve safety and help pedestrians:  introduce an additional pedestrian crossing between New Headington Bateman Street exit across Windmill Road to help traffic from side streets pull out into Windmill Road, deter speeding at off-peak times, and help parents and children travelling to school using an alternative route to London Road.

h)      Establish two joined up cycle routes through Headington, one for confident cyclists and one for under-confident and learner cyclists. Ensure that there are well-planned cycle routes to schools, major employment sites, and health centres. In particular, identify space for off road cycle track down Old Road, through liaison with the University and OUHT. Plan and implement cycling routes from Barton West to Old Road area,  Headington Centre and Library, and the JR with Highways s106 from Barton West development

i)        Set up cycle proficiency training with adult cyclists. Give errant cyclists the choice of a FPN or attendance at cycle proficiency training. Work with employers, TVP and schools to improve cycle training.

j)        Work with bus companies to the following ends:

  • Take up bunching issues with bus companies.
  • Set up direct bus services between district centres e.g. Headington and Summertown so that passengers don’t need to travel into Oxford and out again (this could reduce the number of bus journeys required).
  • Bring pressure to bear on bus companies to re-route buses away from Osler Road to Headley Way.
  • Set up specifications for bus contracts in such a way that double decker buses are used only at peak times in residential roads. Involve local councillors at officers’ specification design stage.
  • Require improved passenger collection data so that accurate records are kept of passengers using parts of journeys.

k)      Ensure that bus laybys are large enough to accommodate two buses rather than allowing queuing in the line of traffic.

l)        Investigate traffic calming in residential areas where there is rat running and speeding, and work with residents to achieve this. Investigate placing of parking slots in residential roads in such a way that parking is on alternate sides of the road to slow down traffic and make the roads less attractive to use

m)    Increase parking enforcement in side roads off the London Road (initially self-financing in Kennett Road and Stephen Road). Identify possible locations for short stay and visitor parking. Prioritise revision of RPZs in Headington. Investigate maximum limit for visitor permits and review Highways policy on visitor permits in Headington. Identify alternative parking areas for trades and commercial vehicles

Residents have also raised further suggestions with us which we forward to you for consideration. Their listing here does not imply our support for them.  We should need to consult our residents more widely and acquire more information before forming an opinion and declaring a view.

i.            The establishment of link roads from the ring road to the JR and to Old Road

ii.            Consider the possibility of running London and airport buses from hubs at Park and Rides e.g. Thornhill or re-routing a proportion of each long-distance service away from Headington

iii.            Land swaps to relocate a major employers’ site:  use vacated area to improve infrastructure/access and allow for affordable housing and growth? Promote car-sharing and car clubs by liaising with employers, and designating some parking slots for shared cars only.

iv.            Consult residents of Osler Road on possible repositioning of parking spaces and / or re-design of the road

v.            Consider other options to manage traffic at Headington Carfax, including a shared space solution


David Rundle

Ruth Wilkinson


[Please note: the formatting is slightly changed here from the original]

The County Council responds to Osler Road bus questions

We promised to post up the County Council officers’ response to our questions and here they are in full. We are continuing a dialogue with the officers on a number of points, and will post later on that.

1. What consultation took place with county and city councillors and indeed residents before the choice of route was agreed? 

The only realistic route that would deliver attractive bus services from Thornhill to the JR is via Osler Road.  We appreciate the concerns that have been raised by Osler Road residents about more use of the route, but it is public highway and its role in the local public transport network was established by means of the planning process when the JR was expanded in 2007.

2. Was the outcome of the public meeting [Ruth] organised with Osler Road residents, bus companies, county councillors and officers from City and County taken into account when the route was decided? After that meeting, Oxford Bus Co. to their credit re-routed its service away from Osler Rd and via Headley Way.

See above.  It wasn’t necessary for the Oxford Bus Company to use Osler Road to link the JR with the city centre and Abingdon so the route was amended.  The new service from Thornhill to JR does have to use Osler Road in order to make it sufficiently attractive to potential passengers.  Routeing it via London Road and Headley Way would result in longer and more unreliable journey times and a more expensive operation (at least one more bus would be needed to make the service run).  Fewer people would use the bus service and there would in turn be more cars trying to get through Headington adding to congestion, making bus services less attractive again.

 3. Were the number of near misses and incidents in Osler Road taken into account when the route was decided? (rails had to be put up on the pavement outside the Nursery because of the dangers from vehicles mounting the pavement to pass each other).

Stagecoach has been running buses along Osler Road for some time now.  They obviously took into account the operating conditions when submitting their bid for the new bus service.

4. Were those making the decision aware that Osler Road is for the most part single lane past parked cars (some residents have no off road parking) and that the exit from the Manor Hospital also feeds into it? 

See answer to previous question.  We are looking at how the parking at the southern end of the road can be managed better to make sure buses turning right from London Road are not unduly delayed.  As you know, this currently can have a knock on effect on London Road traffic flow.

5. Were those making the decision aware that .. buses frequently run empty along that stretch of road? Will the number 10 route cease to run along Osler Road – that would at least mitigate some of the wear and tear on roads and attitudes.

Inevitably, morning buses will have more passengers travelling towards the John Radcliffe, whilst afternoon and evening buses will have more passengers travelling away from the John Radcliffe.  Route 10 conveys many people from the Cowley and Wood Farm areas to the John Radcliffe. Re-routing these buses would add several minutes journey time to people making daily journeys, which in turn would lead to fewer passengers, more cars trying to pass through Headington, less frequent and less attractive bus services.  

We will of course work closely with Stagecoach as the operator of both the number 10 and the new park & ride service to review the usage of those services.

6. Were those making the decision fully aware of the damage that has been caused to Osler Road by buses and other heavy vehicles for which the road was not designed? Highways no longer replace kerbs trashed by buses and other vehicles clipping the London Road/Osler Road junction as it can’t keep up with the damage – [the] team is simply re-tarmacking it. I’m constantly reporting potholes and the road surface is crumbling, it is currently being reassessed for resurfacing. I was told by one transport planner that she felt the whole road needed rebuilding because of the constant damage.

There is only sufficient finance for potholes and patching currently, but Osler Road has now been included in the provisional 2014-16 maintenance programme – this is due to be approved by members in February.  In the meantime, the city council will continue to do all that it can to fix the existing problems with the surface.

7. Funding: will the County and Stagecoach jointly pay for the road to be re-surfaced?

 The county council will fund the comprehensive maintenance scheme provisionally scheduled for 2014-16.

Further comment:

The issue is the length of time it takes along both London Road and Headley Way (and back again) to get to the JR.  I’ve answered that point under question 2 – diverting away from Osler Road that way will result in many fewer people using it to get to the JR.  Using less fuel is obviously one factor in a decision to use Osler Road – it’s a shorter distance – but the extra time it takes to get to the destination is much more significant.

County Council chooses Osler Road for new bus routes

Last week, a Headington resident trawled the internet and found timetables for bus routes about to be operated by Stagecoach to and from the hospitals. The routes include Osler Road which is unsuitable for bus traffic.  There was apparently no consultation with Osler Road or The Croft  residents, nor was any consultation held with councillors who knew the area well.

The county hurriedly sent out a press release yesterday which is now on their website (click here). This press release was tracked down by city councillors who had not been informed by the County Council.

An email was sent to us by one of the County officers yesterday evening  in response to Friday’s phone call and it states:

 I can confirm that alternatives were looked at (access via Headley Way) but the longer journey time would require more buses to maintain the frequency we are looking for and we were of the opinion that a longer than necessary route would not achieve the modal shift from using the JR car parks to that of using the extended Thornhill Park & Ride site.

Here are just some of the questions we have sent to the officers by email:

1. What consultation took place with county and city councillors and indeed residents before the choice of route was agreed?

2. Was the outcome of the public meeting Ruth organised with Osler Road residents, bus companies, county councillors and officers from City and County) taken into account when the route was decided? After that meeting, Oxford Bus Co. to their credit re-routed its service away from Osler Rd and via Headley Way

3. Were the number of near misses and incidents in Osler Road taken into account when the route was decided? (rails had to be put up on the pavement outside the Nursery because of the dangers from vehicles mounting the pavement to pass each other)

4. Were those making the decision aware that Osler Road is for the most part single lane past parked cars (some residents have no off road parking) and that the exit from the Manor Hospital also feeds into it?

5. Were those making the decision aware that buses frequently run empty along [the] stretch of road between [Headington Centre and the JR entrance in Osler Road]?

6. Were those making the decision fully aware of the damage that has been caused to Osler Road by buses and other heavy vehicles for which the road was not designed? Highways no longer replace kerbs trashed by buses and other vehicles clipping the London Road/Osler Road junction as it can’t keep up with the damage – [the] team is simply re-tarmacking it. I’m constantly reporting potholes and the road surface is crumbling, it is currently being reassessed for resurfacing. I was told by one transport planner that she felt the whole road needed rebuilding because of the constant damage.

7. Funding: will the County and Stagecoach jointly pay for the road to be re-surfaced?

In a further phone call this morning, we were informed that the contract had been competitively tendered. We were also told that repairs and maintenance of Osler Road cannot be borne by a commercial bus operator. This will clearly be a further and continuing bill for County Council taxpayers in coming years – if taxpayers’ money is diverted towards this, then other important and high priority re-surfacing projects won’t get done.

We shall update this site as more information is supplied by the County Council.  County Councillor Roz Smith is pressing the Cabinet Member Cllr Nimmo-Smith for answers. (and that’s an understatement)

It appears that the County Council now puts resident consultation very low on its priority list. We agree that bus services to hospitals are very important, and we want to keep as many vehicles out of Headington as possible because there is so much congestion. But all it needed was some consultation and a little bit of common sense to recognise that Osler Road is unsuitable for heavy traffic, and Headley Way is a viable and safer alternative.

Consultation: improving bus priority near Green Rd roundabout

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting the public on its proposals to improve bus priority in the vicinity of Green Road roundabout, Headington.

There will be a drop-in session from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday 18th July at Headington Quarry Village Hall (Jubilee Room – entrance in Margaret Road) where county council staff will be able to discuss the scheme in more detail.

They are also taking the opportunity to carry out a formal consultation on the proposed changes to the extents of the bus lane at the Thornhill Park and Ride site.

Want to see the maps? Then come along to our next Headington Ward Focus meeting on Wed 10 July from 6.00-8.00pm at the Headington Baptist Church Hall in Old High Street. We shall make sure we have copies on display

Please note that the closing date for this consultation is 25th July 2013.