Buses in Queen Street

We share this interesting information gained via a question from a Lib Dem colleague to the County Council Cabinet yesterday.

Cllr HOWSON: Since buses returned to Queen Street, how many incidents involving buses and either pedestrians or cyclists have been reported and how many of these resulted in someone being taken to hospital?

We can confirm that there have been no reported accidents from the reopening of Queen Street to buses on 24 October 2017 until end of February 2018. We only hold data for recorded accidents and this would not include incidents that resulted in no injury or were not reported.

Further Q&As on Access to Headington

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.

London Road

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.


Headley Way

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)

Uncontrolled crossing at Osler Road junction – Q&As

Here are the answers by councillors to questions raised at yesterday evening’s Headington Ward Focus Meeting about the new crossing.

Osler Road uncontrolled crossing

Why is it needed?

High number of minor safety incidents

Why introduce it at such short notice?

Funding became available. It was considered best value to the taxpayers and provide least disturbance to residents during the Easter school holiday period

Why no consultation?

There were plans to put in a toucan crossing here from the outset, and many responses were received for this from the community, but it fell out of scope when money got tight. It went back in as priority once funding was available due to safety concerns

Who comes up with options for road crossings?

Amec Foster Wheeler provide alternative options and explain which ones are most feasible in their view in response to a spec from the County Council.

What spec was given?

A broad one. Controlled or uncontrolled crossings, either directly across the road or staggered.

Does the County Council have to go with the Amec recommendation?

No. This plan was subject to quite a lot of debate and challenges were made by the safety team in order to find the best option

Was money a factor in coming up with an uncontrolled, rather than a controlled, crossing?

Absolutely not. Safety concerns were prioritized. It wasn’t possible for a straight controlled crossing to be put in without a second set of lights, and the synching of these and delays to public transport made this prohibitive. A staggered crossing would result in further wait for pedestrians, and the size of the island would block movement into Osler Road

  • Original provision showed a toucan crossing incorporating the bus gate, after developing the design further it was determined that a controlled crossing could not be delivered safely.
  • Alternatives were considered, including a zebra, which had similar safety concerns.
  • The best alternative was to provide an uncontrolled crossing, incorporating a build out to shorten the crossing and providing a refuge in the middle of the road
  • There remains a broad local support for pedestrian provision in this location but bus companies are understandably concerned that the changes may affect the level of bus priority they receive with this latest proposal and the County is engaging with them to mitigate their concerns. There may be an additional delay of 28-40 seconds on the way into Headington from the City Centre but this is considered worthwhile because of the safety concerns at that location

Will the crossing be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians?

It is first and foremost a pedestrian crossing. It would technically be possible for cyclists to dismount, use the crossing and then resume cycling in the cycle lane opposite.

Who has been informed?

Letters to The Occupier at addresses in London Road between the garage and the controlled pedestrian crossing/lights have been sent by a distribution company.

Councillors are concerned about this as not all tenants in flats above shops may see the notification. We are also concerned that people in Osler Road, New High Street and Lime Walk have not been circulated, and we shall contact these residents ourselves.

Have the bus companies been informed?

Yes. See answer above

Will this affect community projects?

It will not affect the greening project, the Headington Market, or the trees with the Christmas lights

Will any trees have to be taken out?


When will it happen?

It’s already started. Here is the approximate timetable, subject to weather conditions:

w/b 24 March             Footway works

w/b 3 April                  2-way lights (for 2 weeks). Works area will take up half the road

w/b 17 April                Narrow lane running (for 2 weeks)

Where will construction space be?

3 parking bays have been suspended in Lime Walk near KwikFit

Will there be works at weekends?

Yes on Saturday mornings.

For more information, please see the Access to Headington website

Your councillors called for the introduction of a safer pedestrian crossing at this point in the initial consultation, but were hoping that a controlled crossing option could be found. Traffic will be slow in the centre of Headington during April. We are concerned that there has been insufficient notice given to those affected although we understand the reasoning given, and we feel that residents in adjoining roads should have been leafleted. However we welcome much-needed safety improvements for pedestrians at such a busy location.

Latest Access to Headington update

Here is the latest from County about the Access to Headington scheme.

The Slade

We have now completed the work between the mini roundabout at Hollow Way and Wood Farm Road and we are looking to complete the current phase of work between Wood Farm Road and Slade Close before Christmas.

We will start the last phase after Christmas between Slade Close and Old Road – this will take approximately four weeks to complete.

Traffic management will remain in place over the Christmas period, though we will remove as much as we can. Daily safety checks will be carried out


Churchill Drive/Roosevelt Drive 

We are working in the final phase of this set of works and are on schedule to complete the main construction work before Christmas. There may be some minor work to do after Christmas but this will be minor and will cause little disruption.

The majority of the traffic management will be removed over the Christmas period however Churchill Drive will remain as access only and traffic leaving the Churchill site will continue to be diverted via Roosevelt Drive. The permanent traffic lights on Old Road have been switched on this week.


Headley Way

The team will start setting up begin on Tuesday 16th January, but this should not be disruptive to traffic. Construction work will start on Tuesday 23rd January. Information on programme of work will follow early January.

We are going to be holding a public exhibition on Thursday 14th December at the Heading Prep School between 2:30pm and 6:30pm. This is an opportunity to speak to members of the project team from the County Council, Skanska and the Designers. All aspects of the project remain the same as per the last public exhibition held in the Summer and all drawings can be found on the Oxfordshire County Council website.


Christmas Shut Down

All work will cease on Friday 22nd December for the Christmas period. Work will begin again on Tuesday 2nd January. Traffic management will remain in place during the closure for safety reasons. Regular safety checks will be made.

Access to Headington: conflict of use of space at bus stops

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.

Continuation of temporary traffic order in Lime Walk

We have been sent the following text of the temporary traffic order which takes effect from 2nd October. We have requested that Bickerton Road is considered as well as Stapleton Road as an alternative diversion route to Old Road for traffic from Lime Walk with support from the Chair of Highfield Residents’ Association.

This Order is a continuation of the Notice that came into force on the 11 September 2017 to cover the full duration of the works.  There are no changes to the restrictions.

In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to temporality introduce the following to facilitate carriageway works:

  • No access into Old Road from Lime Walk (no access at the junction).  Access maintained one-way for vehicles travelling northwards into Lime Walk from Old Road.
  • Parking Prohibited for 40 metres from Old Road on the west side (includes  approx. 5 spaces of the 8am – 6:30pm 2hour parking bays).

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being made to implement the temporary restrictions and will operate from the 2 October 2017 till the 13 January 2018.

(The maximum duration of a TTRO on a road is 18 months and on a footpath is 6 months, or until completion of the works, whichever is the earlier.)

Notice of intention to make the Order will be published in the local press.

Here are the two documents pertaining to this notice.

Report from officers to Cabinet Member re Windmill Rd 20 MPH limit

Here is a copy of the report which is going to the Cabinet Member at a meeting on Thursday. County Cllr Roz Smith will be attending.

Two things stand out from this report:

  1. The police have opposed the extension of the speed limit
  2. The money for it is being taken out of the Access to Headington budget




Report by Director for Infrastructure Delivery Introduction

  1. This report presents responses received in the course of a statutory consultation to extend a 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road, Oxford, southwards to include the full length of the road to its junction with Old Road.


  2. The request for the extension of the 20mph speed limit on the B4495 Windmill Road southward to include its full length was made in the course of the wider consultations on the Access to Headington. At the Cabinet Member for Environment decisions meeting on 9 June 2016, it was resolved that officers carry out a formal consultation on this proposal. A plan showing the proposed extent of the 20mph speed limit is shown at Annex 1.


  3. Formal consultation was carried out between 13 July and 11 August 2017. A public notice was placed in the Oxford Times newspaper, and sent to statutory consultees, including Thames Valley Police, the Fire & Rescue Service, Ambulance service, Oxford City Council and the local County Councillor.
  4. Thirty four responses were received as summarised at Annex 2. Copies of the full responses are available for inspection in the Members’ Resource Centre.
  5. Responses comprised objections from Thames Valley Police and two members of the public with expressions of support from the local County Councillor, Oxford City Council, the Windmill Road Residents Action Group, Windmill Primary School and Cyclox (a cyclist action and support group within Oxford) and twenty six members of the public, primarily residents of Windmill Road and adjacent roads.
  6. Thames Valley Police’s objection was on the grounds that while average speeds were within the threshold of 24mph as recommended in the Department of Transport guidance on 20mph speed limits without supporting traffic calming measures, the speed surveys also showed that a significant number of vehicles were travelling appreciably faster than this, and consequently it was unrealistic to expect good levels of compliance with the proposed 20mph limit. This could not only potentially lead to a more general disrespect of speed limits but also result in demands for police enforcement which cannot be accommodated within present resources.
  1. Objections from members of the public were on the grounds that the proposal was unnecessary and could lead to driver frustration and increased delays, with one respondent suggesting that a shorter extension of the 20mph speed limit to its junction with Margaret Road, south of which the road widens, might be more acceptable.
  2. Expressions of support primarily cited improved safety for all road users and in particular children, pedestrians and cyclists. However, several of these responses also stated the importance of enforcement of the lower speed limit should it be approved and that without this its benefits would be much reduced.

    Response to Objections and Concerns

  3. The concerns of Thames Valley Police on the likely high levels of abuse of the speed limit are noted and it is accepted that police resources for speed enforcement – including by the use of speed cameras – are already under severe pressure and that it would, therefore, be unrealistic to expect significant enforcement of the proposed 20mph speed limit.
  4. The objections from the members of the public on the grounds of need are similarly noted. However, the accident record of the part of the road where the reduced limit is being proposed (one serious and seven slight accidents have been reported in the latest 5-year period available, to 31 July 2017) does point to there being valid safety concerns, even when allowing for the fact that the circumstances of some of these incidents were low speed collisions.
  5. The significant number of responses in support of the proposal – notwithstanding that some of these were qualified by concerns over its benefits in in the likely absence of any appreciable enforcement activity given the severe pressures on police resources – is noted and it would, therefore, appear that the proposal has significant local support, together with that of Cyclox, representing wider cyclist interests in the city.

    How the Project supports LTP4 Objectives

  6. The proposals would help facilitate the safe movement of traffic.

    Financial and Staff Implications (including Revenue)

  7. The costs of the 20mph speed limit would be met from the budget allocated to the Access to Headington project.



14. The Cabinet Member for Environment is RECOMMENDED to approve the proposals as advertised

Access to Headington: works affecting Old Road, Churchill Drive, Roosevelt Drive

Here is the letter sent to all residents in the area by the County Council

Dear Sir/ Madam

Re: Access to Headington – Churchill Drive, Old Road and Roosevelt Drive

We wanted to let you know that on 11th September we will begin work on Churchill Drive and it’s junction with Old Road.

The work involves installing traffic lights at the junction as well as re-aligning parts of the footway. We will also be doing small amounts of work at the Roosevelt Drive/Churchill Drive junction. The work is programmed to take 15 weeks to complete.

Over the first 9 weeks of the project we will be working mainly on Old Road under two-way temporary traffic lights. During this time Churchill Drive will be access only from Old Road, however emergency vehicles will also be able to exit onto Old Road from Churchill Drive. All other vehicles will be diverted via Roosevelt Drive.

Lime Walk will also be partially closed over the first 9 weeks. Vehicles will be able to access Lime Walk from Old Road but those wishing to exit onto Old Road will have to do so via Stapleton Road. We will be suspending 5 parking spaces on Lime Walk (spaces closest to Old Road) whilst we carry out the works around the junction.

We will be undertaking 1 weeks’ worth of night works (scheduled for week commencing 23rd October – subject to change) in order to carry out surfacing to the carriageway on Old Road. Night works take place between 8pm and 6am, though very noisy work will cease at 11pm as per our Section 61 agreement with Oxford City Council.

Once the work on Old Road has been complete, we will begin a short period of works to the junction of Roosevelt Drive/Churchill Drive. This involves some re-aligning of the kerbs as well as installation of cables under the road surface.

More information on this set of works and other sections of Access to Headington can be found on the Oxfordshire County Council website at the following address www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/accessheadington. You can also sign up to our regular e-bulletins at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/travelchoices.

The work will be carried out by Skanska Construction. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the project please contact our site project team at accessheadington@oxfordshire.gov.uk or you can call Oxfordshire County Council’s Customer Services team on 0845 310 1111.

We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you and thank you for your cooperation.

Windmill Road 20 MPH limit

The County Council issued the following notice in the local press yesterday.

A full set of consultation documents is available on the Oxfordshire County Council website here

Objections to the proposals and other representations, specifying the grounds on which they are made, may be sent in by completing the online questionnaire or by writing (quoting ref: AK/12.6.134) to the officer below by 11 August 2017.

Christian Mauz, Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND

The Council will consider objections and representations received in response and they may be disseminated widely for these purposes and made available to the public.

Any unresolved objections will be reported to the Council’s Cabinet meeting later in 2017. The papers for the meeting will be available on the County Council’s website about a week before the meeting.