Following up enquiries and complaints from residents, the Lib Dem opposition group asked the following questions in Full Council and we include the responses from the City Executive Board member responsible.
Can the Board Member advise how many dockless bikes are now standing on the streets of Oxford, and whether any more are to be licensed?
There is no upper limit in the Oxford Code of Conduct. Is one being introduced?
Local authorities have no powers to license schemes, or to set enforceable upper limitsthrough such schemes. However all the operators in Oxford have adhered to the voluntary Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is under constant review, including whether an upper limit should be introduced. As the schemes expand their geographic coverage, more bikes will be required, but will be spread over a much larger area. Each time one of the three firms currently operating in Oxford has wanted to increase the number of bikes in their scheme they have consulted with the City Council as part of the ongoing dialogue between the companies, the City Council and the County Council.
Brilliantly coloured dockless bikes are becoming an eyesore on the streets of Oxford. What progress is being made in finding cycling stations where they can be stored?
The point of dockless bikes is that that they do not have docking stations. The companies use incentives within their apps to encourage their customers to leave bikes parked appropriately. Several private landowners have agreements with the operators for bikes to be placed on their land.
Dockless bikes are accessed by an app which requires credit card details. They are equipped with satnavs which permanently record bike trips. How is this information used? How is it monetised? Are people aware of how their information can be used e.g. passed on to marketing companies?
Data collected by private companies is subject to appropriate laws. The City Council is not privy to the contractual relationship between the companies running these schemes and their customers, in the same way that it is not privy to the contractual relationship between Oxford’s bus operators and their customers.
Many residents are asking us questions about dockless bikes and objecting to seeing these ‘dumped’ in hedges, on open green space and in residential roads. Here is some information that may help.
Who has responsibility for removing them?
The bike companies – click on the code of conduct agreed by the bike companies and the Council to learn more.
Do companies patrol the area of Old Road?
I don’t believe any patrols take place outside of the city centre. Each bike has a GPS tracker and can be identified in that way, everyday each company go and collect the bikes picked up on their computer systems.
If so, how regularly and what is the time frame for collection?
The majority of bikes are moved within 24 hours, this can take longer if bikes are taken outside of the city boundary.
Should residents of Highfield be moving bikes to Old Road for collection, or leave them in our road?
Leave bikes anywhere (as long as not causing a nuisance) and the companies will find them via the GPS.
Do Direct Services have any other advice for residents?
There are contact details for each company on our website, I would encourage issues to be reported, either direct to the companies, or to City Highways at Highways@oxford.gov.uk.
We’ve just received some answers to further questions raised at last night’s Headington Ward Focus meeting from the project team. Here they are.
Is there enough space for a buggy on the crossing island?
Yes – the island will be 2m wide
Can there be CCTV enforcement to ensure drivers observe yellow boxes?
Down the line – possibly. The council is seeking powers to do this but is currently not able to do it. At present only TfL have been granted delegated powers to enforce yellow box infringements which are otherwise the preserve of the police.
People are concerned about tree felling in the nesting season
- We’ll have a qualified ecologist checking every tree to be felled, if it has an active nest we can’t touch it until the nest has been proven vacated.
- For absolutely clarity, the presence of a nest in itself is not enough to stop the felling of a tree. Occupancy is the key (Ecologists are trained to tell signs if a nest is “active” and if they’re not sure the tree doesn’t come down until they are certain)
- The project team will not cut corners on this – a blackbird’s nest has previously delayed completion of a major scheme for 4 months whilst we waited for the bird to leave
- If we find that a significant number of trees are occupied then we’ll need to re-programme the works (either starting elsewhere/later but it’s entirely dependent on what we find)
Concerns about cyclists being “car doored”
- We’ve included a buffer zone between parking and marked cycle lanes but even so both cyclists and motorists will have to be mindful (as with any cycle lane passing parking)
- Those cyclists not wanting to use the road can still legitimately use the shared facility on the uphill section which would avoid this risk.
Safety concerns re drop off/pick up at St Joseph’s
This is an existing issue. Any parking provision intended for use by parents might get abused by hospital goers so the situation would have to be led by the school (parent parking charters / walking buses / cycling initiatives)
We have been trying to find out where the advertised cycle parking spaces are at the new Westgate and have received the following statement from Sara Fuge
We are adding a note onto our web-site and will have a plan made to show where the cycle spaces are in. The note is as below and the LOR team are aware of the importance of getting the stands in. – work starts again to finish the public realm on Monday and more cycle spaces will go in from then. The position at the moment is as below:-
“There are presently around 180 spaces in the immediate vicinity of the scheme. These can be found on Thames Street and Norfolk Street around the John Lewis store and on Old Greyfriars Street where it meets Faulkner Street and Pike Terrace and existing spaces are on St Ebbe’s Street and Penny Farthing Place. As work continues to complete the new public realm early next week the full number of cycle parking stands will be added very quickly. We apologise again for any inconvenience and are working hard to address this issue.”
We will keep everyone up to date on progress.
Bus stops and crossings in new highways works are always tricky in terms of off-carriageway infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists as they are inherently points where desire line cross.
We asked the County Council about the possible conflict between bus passengers alighting and passing cyclists near the bus stops in the Slade. Here is the response we received:
The areas outside the bus stops and crossings are shared space rather than cycle lane/pedestrian lane so both users share priority. The appropriate signage and markings will be in place in order to remind users of the change in priority.
Residents have contacted us because cyclists cannot access the new Access to Headington scheme cycle track in Old Road because there is no drop kerb or ramp.
We have chased this with the County Council and contractors. Skanska will barrier off the area from today and put in a drop kerb before the end of this week, but it appears the work has still to be funded. We are trying to find out why this has happened, and to make sure the process is improved so that this sort of situation doesn’t reoccur.
Do you think they worked? Please let the County Council know.
Online feedback invited here
Do you want free safety advice and to see the road from a HGV drivers cab?
The Mace team at the Old Road Campus project, in conjunction with Oxford University, is hosting a free cycle safety event on 11 July 2015.
Come along to:
- Register your bike for free
- Receive cycle safety advice
- Take a seat in one of our cycle awareness tipper trucks to gain the driver’s perspective.
Old Road Campus, 11 July 2015
10:00-13:00: 15 minute drop-in sessions
For more information on the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Headington LibDem councillors sent in the following comments to the County Council in response to LTP4/Oxford Transport Strategy
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.“
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- We would welcome more measures to slow speeding vehicles in urban residential areas, this may encourage folk to use other means of transport.
- To reduce congestion round the hospitals, a link from the A40 direct into the JR should be considered.
- 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.
- We would support further research and cost-benefit analysis of road user charging to inform further thinking.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- There is a demonstrated need for better cycling connections between Cowley and Headington which is not sufficiently addressed in these proposals.
- 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.
- The routing of cycle tracks around bus stops and bus shelters needs further consideration for safety reasons. This is a frequently reported concern.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Location: Junction of Ramsay Rd and London Rd
Date: Sat 30 November
We shall bring along copies of the planned changes.
County Cllr Roz Smith will hold a street surgery along with City Cllr Ruth Wilkinson at the junction of London Road and Ramsay Road at 10.30 on Sat 30 November to discuss proposals with residents. Oxfordshire County Council is proposing to install a shared use cycle track on the south side of the London Road, to improve the safety for cyclists travelling towards Headington. This work is being done in conjunction with the London Road improvement schemes.
The works will include:
- converting the existing footway to a cycle track
- new tactile paving
- a raised entry treatment across the junction of London Road with Ramsey Road
- new road signs
- new road markings.
This will be mostly a segregated shared use cycle facility with some areas un-segregated shared use e.g. around bus stops.
This will be similar to what is existing on the opposite side of London Road at the moment.
The raised entry treatment will be in the form of a flat-top road hump at London Road’s junction with Ramsay Road-this will be approximately 3 metres wide, 75mm high and constructed kerb to kerb.
The closing date for comments in this consultation is 23 December 2013. To register telephone comments please contact Stephen Fitzgerald at 01865 815797 or write to him quoting ref S000942 at the following address:
Oxfordshire County Council, Dept. Environment & Econom, Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford OX1 1NE
At time of writing this post, there does not appear to be a way of submitting comments via the County’s consultations page but you can email Stephen Fitzgerald at: email@example.com
If you are objecting, please state your reasons for objection as clearly as possible.