Science Transit Bus route update

Following intervention from Headington Lib Dem councillors, the following communication has been received from the University.

After meeting the County and discussion with UNO Bus Ltd we have agreed to maintain the service on the current routing for the time being and not to implement a diversion.

We will continue to review the situation and if it does transpire that congestion causes problems with reliability we will again re-examine.  However, a diversion by Lime Walk is clearly in no-one’s interest whilst the Heat Pipe works are in operation.

I will contact you in advance if this situation changes and would be happy to meet in due course

Ruth says,

This is a welcome move by the University at a time when many residents are beset by roadworks, parking displacement, and temporary road closures.

County Council statement on Access to Headington

Here is the full text which has been sent to us.

Decisions on plans for the forthcoming Access to Headington will be taken in June 2016.

Following the recent consultation on the Access to Headington proposals, Oxfordshire County Council has decided to defer making a decision on Traffic Regulation Orders and other measures that require formal approval until a Cabinet Member Decisions meeting on 9 June.

The deferral – decisions were originally due to be made on 28 April –  will allow the county council time to consult on other options specifically for Headley Way and Windmill Road that retain some on-street parking while also providing continuous cycle lanes and more space to ease traffic flow.

This consultation will take place between 28 April and 23 May. The proposals will be made available on-line and letters will be posted to those residents and stakeholders directly affected. The webpage www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/accessheadington will include a link to the consultation from 28 April. The decison is scheduled to be made on 9 June.

The change to the decision date will not affect work starting as planned in the Summer.

 

Access to Headington. Response by Headington Lib Dem councillors

Our formal response is set out below. We thank our residents for sharing their ideas and raising their concerns.

In addition to our other comments, we make a case for the following additional proposals:

  • In Windmill Road South, make the wide footway adjacent to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre shared space and retain and extend on-street parking
  • Introduce speed cameras in Windmill Road South and Headley Way
  • Widen footway in Windmill Road East if possible
  • Install a countdown facility at the central crossroads
  • Install a zebra crossing in Windmill Road near Bateman Street
  • Install more cycle pre-signals at major junctions

 

 

Access to Headington

Response to consultation and associated traffic orders

from County Cllr Roz Smith (H&Q), and City Cllrs Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson (Headington)

 

We note that the current proposals support many of the aims of the project, but we think more improvements are needed to promote health and wellbeing by reducing transport’s environmental impact on Headington.

We welcome some of the improvements that have been made in response to the first consultation, particularly the retention of more trees and verges and the introduction of a pedestrian crossing across London Road from Osler Road, but we would like to make further proposals which we believe would not only mitigate the environmental impact on residents in a more proportionate way but also support the aims of the project.

We have held street surgeries with residents in affected areas and have attended a meeting organised by the Windmill Road action group, and have received a large number of emails and telephone calls regarding this project.

Our response is in three sections:

(i)            The Headley Way and Windmill Road parking assessment and associated traffic orders

(ii)           Our proposals for improvements

(iii)          Our comments on the Access to Headington proposals and associated traffic orders

We shall send a separate response to orders relating to raised entry treatments after further consultation with residents.

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(i)        Comments on the Headley Way and Windmill Road parking assessment and associated traffic orders

  1. Comments on parking assessment

1.1          General

  • One of the three dates on which the parking survey was conducted (23 June) was outside term-time for undergraduate students from both the Universities so figures for this date will not reflect car usage at some HMOs and student accommodation
  • Given that congestion caused by school traffic happens at specific times of the day, it would have been helpful to have timed the walking ‘beats’ to coincide with school collection and drop-off times to get a fuller picture of how much parking takes place in non-existent parking bays and on double yellow lines in and around St Joseph’s and Windmill Schools.
  • Snapshots taken of car parking are problematic; there are large numbers of HMOs along Windmill Road and Headley Way, and the number of tenants with cars vary greatly from year to year. It should be noted that a Windmill Road planning application to become an HMO has been refused as the number of HMOs there is at saturation point under Local Planning Authority guidelines
  • There is no analysis of the figures to show how many spaces were occupied by carers or visitors to housebound residents or by patients, staff or visitors to the adjacent hospitals
  • CPZ zone boundaries complicate proposals for alternative parking provision and each zone has differently timed restrictions

1.2          Headley Way area

  • There is a trend for small family properties in the Lakes area to be split into two flats so there is an increasing need for additional parking spaces in that area
  • The time needed for some pedestrians to walk to some of the alternative car parking sites in residential roads on the opposite side of Headley Way uphill is not acceptable, particularly those with mobility issues
  • The Lakes CPZ has continuous parking restrictions and residents tell us it is full at off-peak times

1.3          Windmill Road area

The list of side roads selected by officers for their “close proximity to properties on Windmill Road” is questionable for the following reasons:

  • Residents feel strongly that alternative parking provision in roads only accessible via a 5-10 minute car trip via traffic lights and a detour either using London Road central crossroads/New High Street or using Old Road/Lime Walk is not acceptable
  • However residents in New Headington (area covers proposed locations for displaced Windmill Road parking in Windsor St., Gardiner St. and Norton Close) are enthusiastic about potential increases in parking spaces in their area as they already experience parking pressure and there is currently a visible increase in continual use of visitor parking spaces by residents with RPZ permits.
  • There is no agreed definition of ‘close proximity’ and this will vary according to individual circumstances e.g. those with mobility difficulties or have young children will need parking much closer to their homes than the distances of up to 600m specified here. We have received a lot of comments about the elderly or infirm becoming more isolated; people are worried that friends and family will be less likely to visit if there is little parking availability in the immediate area.
  1. Correction of some descriptions in TROs/site notices for the following are needed:
  • Outside 44 York Road northbound (not southbound)
  • Tiger crossing is north of Gathorne Road, not south (as on notice) if it is as shown on plan
  • See also proposed bay outside 12 Margaret Rd in table below, we seek clarification of this bay’s exact location.
  1. Objections to acceptability and sufficiency of specified alternative parking provision

We believe that the following car parking spaces proposed in the residential streets below should either not have been included for reasons stated below, or require further investigation, so we object to the relevant parts of their associated traffic orders.

We have asked for feedback from the Fire and Rescue Service and from Oxford City Council for vehicles/turning space around corners at junctions and believe that further swept path analyses should be carried out to ensure these are adequate. Those with local knowledge object to these spaces and more, particularly due to the proximity to Windmill School. Please see the response from the Windmill Road Residents’ Action Group which involves photographic evidence backed up by full measurement of each proposed parking bay in line with traffic order description.

York Road o/s and opp no. 57 x2 On busy junction near School, Church and school crossing Obstructs line of sight on busy corner
Margaret Road adj 12 Plan shows outside 12 but measurement acc traffic orders indicates on a traffic hump. Immediately adjacent to resident’s drive, possible obstruction of line of sight. Splays?
Margaret Road adj 57 York Road Room for two spaces only not three Space needed either end of proposed parking bays – (a) too near busy junction with St Anne’s Rd which may have parked cars blocking lines of sight and (b) at other end obstructs line of sight for resident and extra space is used by delivery and recycling lorries to Windmill School for manoeuvring in/out
Gathorne Road no.19 Adjacent to driveway Resident objects as would obstruct line of sight
St Anne’s Road o/s 15, 15a Blocks driveways
St Anne’s Rd opp no. 30 One space too near tree Potential damage to street tree
St Anne’s Rd opp no. 58 adj 16 Rock Edge Too near junction Obstructs line of sight for vehicles turning from both streets
Langley Close by nos. 14,24 x2 On bends Obstructs line of sight and impacts negatively on turning space for delivery vehicles, removal trucks and emergency vehicles
Windsor Street o/s 18 Over a fire hydrant

Near junction

Fire hydrant should be accessible at all times

If moved nearer junction to avoid hydrant, insufficient turning space for emergency vehicles and bin collection vehicles and obstruction of line of sight

Gardiner Street o/s 11 Near busy junction Junction shows short cut for lorries to Windmill Rd so need space to do three point turns. Already tight corner for deliveries to Butchers’ Arms pub. Vehicles mount kerbs here when turning.
Holyoake Road Negative impact on access/egress to Linden Court Insufficient turning space. May obstruct line of sight for parking access to new planning application at no. 14
Stile Road ALL Insufficient space between parked cars for deliveries to Co-op High pedestrian footfall. Access and egress from driveways of 25, 25A would be impeded
St Leonard’s Road Near junction with Holyoake Road Left hand turn egress from Holyoake Road into St Leonard’s slight line further obstructed

Given that some or all of the above are not acceptable because of the reasons listed, and that some spaces are in roads that cannot be considered to be “in close proximity”, it is clear to us that some of the on-street parking spaces in Windmill Road must be retained in these proposals as alternative safe provision is not sufficient.

(ii) Our proposals for improvements

We do not pretend to be experts in transport planning and look forward to further advice from officers. We have taken advice from them informally before presenting these proposals.

1          WINDMILL ROAD SOUTH

1.1          Mark a central white line down the middle of the wider footway in Windmill Road South from Mattock Close running south outside the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre to make it shared pedestrian/cycle space.

Reasons

  • Low cost way to encourage cycling
  • Regularises custom and practice on this wide footway
  • The footway is wide enough to accommodate this

This proposal would facilitate the retention of some resident parking spaces and offset displacement into side roads

1.2          Retain parking on the lower section of Windmill Road South outside the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre from Mattock Close running south, and extend the number of spaces provided to the maximum possible, including a car club bay.

Reasons

  • Provides much closer and more adequate parking provision for residents, including some with registered disabilities
  • Would relieve parking pressure displaced to neighbouring residential streets which would be especially critical at school drop-off and collection times
  • Would not negatively impact the flow of traffic in Windmill Road
  • Could incorporate a car club parking bay if extended appropriately
  • Windmill Road is not congested at off-peak times so the retention of at least some residents’ parking would be proportionate
  • Mitigates negative impact on Windmill Road South residents – parking would be in closer proximity
  • Some of the alternative parking provision is not fit for purpose because of safety issues (see Section 1 and the submission from the Windmill Road Action Group) : the proposal would go some way to address this
  • The on-street parking may have a psychological impact on drivers’ speed as it conveys the message that this is a residential area. It may also reduce speeding.
  • Residents could use the proposed crossing at Gathorne Road to get to and from their vehicles
  • Would cut down increased traffic movements and mitigate negative impact on environmental well-being of residents in adjoining streets
  • Residents are already reluctant to park in spaces not overlooked by houses i.e. Rock Edge because they are worried about vandalism or theft.
  • Offsets potential conversion of gardens into drives which detract from the character of the area and have negative impact on sustainable drainage

1.3.         Amend all traffic orders relating to this affected area to reflect the above changes.

NB In producing this proposal we considered the retention of parking on the opposite side of Windmill Road from the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre which is some ways would be preferable to residents, but have discounted this as we are not convinced that the provision of a cycle lane outside a line of parked cars would be acceptable in terms of safety.

  1. TRAFFIC CALMING IN HEADLEY WAY AND WINDMILL ROAD

Further provision needs to be made for traffic calming in Headley Way and Windmill Road. The removal of some or all of the on-street parking will make the current problem of speeding at off-peak hours even worse and police are frequently asked by councillors to conduct speeding operations here. We have considered the use of road cushions or rumble strips but these can be noisy and are not favoured by the ambulance service. Residents tell us that the only sure way to tackle this is by the use of speed cameras. Alternative options would be to introduce more crossings (although these will not have as much impact in off-peak hours), to introduce speed indication devices or other signage (which are likely to have temporary but marginal residual effect), or to allow on-street parking at off-peak hours.

Introduce speed cameras in Windmill Road South and in Headley Way

Reasons

  • There are already concerns about speeding at off-peak times in these areas and police mount regular speed patrols there. The removal of parking will increase the likelihood of speeding
  • Motorists regularly shoot the lights at the Windmill Road/Slade/Old Road junction
  • Control of speeding will mitigate noise pollution
  • Speed monitoring indicates that speeding is a problem in the affected areas. Currently the speed limits are rarely enforced.
  • Congestion is only at peak times. Need to mitigate adverse effects on residents 24/7 from noise and vibration from speeding vehicles, including buses and heavy goods vehicles
  1. WIDEN FOOTWAY IN WINDMILL ROAD EAST WHERE POSSIBLE

We ask officers to check whether combining the cyclists’ advisory lane with the narrow footway on the lower section of Windmill Road between Blanchford’s and the Margaret Road crossing can produce a shared space for pedestrians and cyclists with a clearly marked central white line.

Reasons

  • Residents feel vulnerable on this stretch of footway because heavy vehicles have worn away the pavement edge
  • There is currently insufficient space for pedestrian contraflow and double buggies
  • Cyclists would have more space off-road and some may feel safer on shared footway than in an advisory lane in a very busy road at peak times
  1. COUNTDOWN CROSSING SIGNALS AT HEADINGTON CENTRAL CROSSROADS

We understand that TFL project report 2481 has indicated that pedestrian feedback before and after the introduction of the PCaTS package of countdown signals showed a significant increase in the percentage of participants who felt safe. We do recognise that this may set a precedent and does not necessarily mean that safety is improved, however some of our elderly and less mobile residents do find this crossing intimidating.

We ask that consideration is given to installing a countdown crossing signal at central pedestrian crossing lights at the junctions of London Road, Windmill Road and Old High Street. We know that this facility can be retro-fitted.

Reasons

  • Allows pedestrians (and particularly the less mobile) to decide whether they have enough time to cross to the other side before traffic starts moving again
  • Would go some way to improve pedestrian facility at central crossroads now that the diagonal crossing proposal has been dropped
  • May increase pedestrian movements because pedestrians will feel safer and have more confidence.
  1. NEW ZEBRA CROSSING IN WINDMILL ROAD

Install a crossing (officers advise that a zebra would be most suitable) across Windmill Road as near as possible to Bateman Street

Reasons

  • Statistics supplied to us by officers indicate that Windmill Road has high pedestrian footfall and is used by significantly more pedestrians and school-children than other areas affected by this project
  • There are proposals for two crossings in the lower half of Windmill Road but none between Margaret Road and Headington Centre, which is a substantial distance to walk before crossing
  • Greater pedestrian connectivity from Highfield and New Headington areas to St Andrew’s School (via St Leonard’s Road entrance)
  • Facilitate wheelchair accessibility across Windmill Road to dental practice in Kennett Road and Highfield churches via Bateman Street using a shorter route
  • Improved cyclist connectivity from the south side of London Road (from Green Road roundabout direction) to employment and study hubs off Old Road and Gipsy Lane via Wharton Road and St Leonard’s Road, Bateman Street and Gardiner Street. Cyclists would however need to dismount to use the crossing.
  • Ensure there are occasional breaks in traffic to allow access and egress of drivers from Langley Close in peak hours
  • Crossing would enable Windmill Road residents to access proposed alternative parking in New Headington
  1. INTRODUCE MORE CYCLE PRE-SIGNALS AT MAJOR JUNCTIONS

We believe that pre-signals for cyclists at junctions can be very effective as these give cyclists heading straight on 4 or 5 seconds of time to clear junctions before vehicles turn left across their path.

We ask officers to ask AMEC whether pre-signals could be introduced at the Windmill Road/Slade/Old Road junction and the Headley Way/London Road/Headington Road junction

Reasons

  • Eastbound shared cycle-pedestrian lane has no provision for those continuing up Old Road – safety concern.
  • Allows cyclists to clear the junction before vehicles start to move and possibly cut across them when turning left. 

(iii)     Further comments on Access to Headington proposals and traffic orders

(a)          Scope of the Project

We should like to have seen this project address two further areas:

    • Access to Headington from the Eastern Bypass into the Headington Quarry conservation area

Beaumont Road leads into the narrow Quarry Hollow and past a nursery and day care centre and yet endures very heavy traffic flows as commuters find this route preferable to the Horspath Driftway and London Roads.

  • Junctions in central Headington where there are higher numbers of traffic-related incidents

We wish that the scope of Access to Headington could have addressed incident hotspots at junctions of residential roads with London Road, Old Road and the A4495. Cyclists come into contact more frequently with vehicles at these points and the risk of accidents to cyclists is higher there, e.g. the Lime Walk junction opposite the filling station in London Road

 

(b)          General comments on traffic congestion in the Headington area

  • Headley Way and London Road and Old Road are only congested for up to two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening on weekdays. The flow of traffic is controlled by the junctions. We believe it is disproportionate to remove resident parking 24/7 all year round to address this. We have concerns about the scheme’s impact on access to parking and/or frontages for disabled residents. We believe that greater priority should be given to pedestrians, particularly in Windmill Road where there is high pedestrian use evidenced by the data.
  • The practicalities of those without off-street parking now having to manage with the removal of on-street parking have not been thought through fully in these proposals. Residents are already reluctant to park their vehicles in spaces which are not overlooked by houses e.g. at Rock Edge because they fear vandalism or theft. Some of the alternative parking spaces proposed are a good 10 minutes’ walk away from residents’ homes.
  • Our biggest concern is the removal of all on-street parking from Headley Way and Windmill Road. This will increase traffic speeds at off-peak times, and some of the alternative parking provision identified is neither acceptable nor “in close proximity”.
  • We are concerned there are insufficient proposals within these plans to address traffic calming in the affected roads. The provision of raised entry treatments in side roads is not sufficient to address this problem. The flow of traffic at peak times may improve as a result of these proposals but at off-peak times, is likely to increase, and is already a matter of great concern to residents.

(c)           Parking in Headington

(i)    General

  • We note that Headington CPZs have no upper limit for the number of residents’ parking permits issued per household, unlike other parts of the City, where there is often a maximum of two.
  • We call for a review of all Headington Controlled Parking Zones. This is to ensure that an appropriate proportion of parking spaces are allocated for use by resident permit-holders.
  • More robust parking and speeding enforcement on side roads off the London Road would improve traffic flow through the centre of Headington, although we recognise this falls outside the remit of this consultation

 

  • Parking needs are likely to increase over the short and medium term as more family houses are being made into shared accommodation. This will increase the need for parking spaces across Headington 

(ii)   Parking adjacent to Old Road employment hubs

  • We believe that an opportunity has been wasted to amend the muddle in the Headington West CPZ, some amendments to this could usefully have been included within the traffic orders consultation and could have resolved some problems ahead of any road marking following the energy pipe installation. Current parking restrictions are confused and difficult to enforce.

(iii)  Parking at schools and hospitals

  • It is possible that the flow of traffic to the hospitals may improve as a result of this project, but once it reaches the hospitals there is insufficient parking for visitors, outpatients and staff. We urge Oxfordshire County Council to encourage the Oxford Universities Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to introduce many more cycle stands and to enforce parking regulations on its sites.
  • We request that officers discuss safe drop-off and collection points with all of Headington’s schools including Headington School and Rye St Anthony School, and feel strongly that all schools in the Headington area should be encouraged to maintain and improve their School Travel Plans.

(iv) Parking in Headley Way

  • We have concerns about access to alternative parking by residents, some of whom have mobility issues
  • We understand that parking spaces in the Lakes area are full at off-peak times
  • This area contains three different CPZs, with different restrictions
  • The current alternative parking provision is not acceptable, but there are road width constraints: it would seem to us that further consideration should be given to the following alternative options:
  • Provide one continuous good off-road cycle track on the east side of Headley Way, rather than two little-used on road lanes, and retain some parking on the west side as proposed by Cllr Clarkson. We suggest that officers discuss this alternative suggestion with Headington School as it seems to us that the currently proposed cycle facility on the west side might conflict with its side entrance for vehicles
  • The proposal to regrade a bank and provide 12 shared driveways across the verge to properties who would otherwise lose their on-street parking is interesting, but perhaps costly?
  • Retain some on street parking at off-peak times as in the Abingdon Road so that parking is allowed on road when traffic flow is lightest and would act as a traffic calming measure

(v)  Parking in Windmill Road

  • The removal of all on-street parking from Windmill Road is not a proportionate proposal as it fails to take account of the following:
  • The flow of traffic in Windmill Road is completely dependent on the traffic released into it at traffic light-controlled junctions
  • It is only congested for up to 4 hours a day weekdays only
  • Proposed alternative provision is neither sufficient nor close enough, and some is inappropriate because of safety reasons
  • Currently, on-road parking calms traffic speed. Residents have real concerns about the increasing speeding of traffic if the proposal to remove it goes ahead, along with worries about associated noise, and potential added risk of accidents.
  • The distance needed by residents to walk to alternative parking spaces in side roads, we have especial concerns about those who are mobility-impaired or who have carers/visiting health care workers
  • See section (ii) 1 above for our alternative proposal for parking in Windmill Road South
  • In Windmill Road North, the highway is narrower, and this presents challenges for parking. It is clear from these proposals that officers wish to ensure that the highway is sufficiently wide for two buses to pass at peak times. We believe that some residents may choose to park in the St Leonard’s Road car park which would negatively impact on visitor parking and use of shops and businesses. We should like consideration to be given to the provision of on-street parking at designated off-peak times as in Abingdon Road, as this would help to calm traffic speeds at non-rush hour periods. We are not submitting this as a formal proposal as we do not have sufficient information to do so but we should like officers to investigate this option.
  • In Windmill Road and York Road we noted that:
  • a number of properties in residential streets use front gardens for parking but have no dropped kerbs
  • a number of properties have put in dropped kerbs without formal application to the council
  • some gardens are being used for parking which are insufficiently large to accommodate the length of the vehicle, and there is evidence of footway obstruction
  • We ask for clearer advice from the County Council on enforcement issues relating to dropped kerbs.

(vi) Planning policy for parking permits and visitor permits

  • The Access to Headington scheme should be taken into account when the Highways Development Control Team determines a statutory response to applications for permits in the area, and further controls should be considered in relation to infill and HMOs
  • We understand that businesses based in HE CPZ can apply for parking permits and visitors permits, and we are also aware that transactions sometimes occur with customers that involve donation of visitors’ permits for use in HE. This shows a demonstrable need for more parking for business employees in central Headington.

 

(d)          Effects on businesses

  • There are a number of major construction projects in Headington about to start, and we urge the County Council’s relevant teams to ensure that first rate co-ordination takes place between stakeholders including utilities companies to ensure that works are carried out with a minimum of disruption to the road network and to residents. We have drawn to officers’ attention that one possible change to the hospitals’ energy pipe route may be to widen Churchill Drive and this may affect these proposals.
  • Ten per cent of Headington’s residents are self-employed or own small businesses. Highways works must be managed in such a way that businesses can continue to operate throughout the period of the project.
  • The removal of on-street parking in the upper section of Windmill Road would lead to more resident parking in St Leonard’s Road Car Park and residential roads adjacent to it. This will mean there will be less parking spaces available for those who want to use Headington’s shops and businesses. This in turn will make it even harder for small independent and family businesses to thrive in the district centre. Businesses are already finding it difficult to retain staff because of parking pressures.

 

(e)          Traffic issues in Headley Way, Cherwell Drive, Marsh Lane and Marston Road areas

  • We object to the proposed change of traffic direction in front of the shops as we believe that this will be used as a shortcut to bypass congestion by drivers coming from Summertown and Marsh Lane
  • We propose that the current traffic flow in front of the shops is retained, otherwise shoppers from Cherwell Drive may delay through traffic in Marsh Lane
  • We suggest that more consideration needs to be given to safety concerns and difficulties arising from vehicles exiting the filling station onto Cherwell Drive and especially those heading for Marsh Lane. A detour will be needed by those accessing the filling station from Marston Road or Headley Way.
  • Northway residents are concerned that the scheme is going to increase the number of commuters escaping main traffic, which on top of the link road, will have a real impact on the nature of their area
  • Residents are also concerned that traffic will build up on the Marston Road ahead of the proposed traffic lights
  • We note an alternative proposal that four lanes of traffic is sufficient at the Cherwell Drive junction: this would mean that some green space could be retained and would reduce environmental impact. We request that officers revisit this to see whether this option is workable.

(f)           Crossings: Headley Way, London Road and Old Road

  • We welcome the crossing in London Road near the Osler Road bus gate but we ask officers check that there is a width of 3m in the central reservation to ensure there is enough space for pedestrians waiting. We understand that audible crossing signals can be switched off overnight if there are noise objections. We have alerted officers to impending s106 works on the corner of Osler Road so that works can be carried out concurrently with the City Council.
  • A significant amount of money is needed for surface water drainage improvements at the Lime Walk/Old Road crossing as puddles accumulate alongside the current one
  • We are not persuaded that the relocation of a fairly recent crossing from Old Road/Stapleton Rd junction to Old Road/Bickerton Rd junction is worthwhile in terms of cost-effectiveness but it is possible that not all the facts are publicly available about the University’s use of the site. The timing of any relocation of this crossing needs to be given careful consideration: there is a risk that it will be moved before access points to the University of Oxford’s Campus are in place, and this would cause a detrimental impact in the short and medium term.
  • We believe that providing an extra zebra crossing south of the Bateman Street junction would provide better value for money and more benefit to residents than marginally relocating the fairly new crossing in Old Road at this time
  • We support the toucan crossing on The Slade
  • We note the call by Highfield Residents’ Association for a new crossing further down Old Road to serve the needs of bus users. This seems sensible to us if funds allow as it gives greater connectivity.

(g)          Issues for pedestrians

  • The footway on the North side of Old Road from Lime Walk to Cheney School is used heavily by pedestrians, some of them groups of schoolchildren, and we are concerned this walkway may not be wide enough
  • Steps and railings in properties with lower odd numbers in Headley Way West are in a poor state and require immediate repair and on-going maintenance

(h)          Raised entry treatments to side streets

We shall send in objections to the consultation on traffic orders for this separately after further consultation with residents. Our current thinking is that these are not good value for money.

 

(i)           Location of no. 10 bus stop: Windmill Road

  • We have concerns that a half bay at the proposed bus stop may be insufficient for some of the larger vehicles to overtake in peak hours, or that two buses may stop there at once
  • Construction companies tell us that the above may result in traffic tailing back to the central crossroads junction
  • Any half bay at that point is likely to attract short stay parking as this is in such short supply
  • Further risk assessment and modelling is needed here to take these factors into account
  • We question whether the bus stop is needed as the preceding stop is not far away – next to Starbuck’s. Further consultation is needed with residents.

(j)           Cycling-related issues

  • In any road where an advisory cycle lane is proposed, the implication is that there is insufficient space to fit in a mandatory cycle lane. In those instances first consideration should always be made as to whether shared cycle/ pedestrian space off road is a safer option for cyclists. There is national agreement by DfT and Sustrans that cycle lanes should be 2m wide with absolutely minimum widths of 1.5m for short stretches. We recognize that this scheme is constrained by the narrowness of the B4495, and we welcome off-road cycle provision.
  • We note that cycle lanes are not continuous and there is not enough segregation from traffic for the proposals to conform with the County’s stated objective for this to become a Cycling Super Route, but we recognize the constraints under which the planning officers are working in terms of highway width
  • We would like to see greater emphasis on facilitating alternative cycle routes which take cyclists heading through Headington away from the centre and these routes need to be well signposted. Cycle signs should be at the right height for cyclists e.g. the Chester city style which are less intrusive on the street scene.
  • A reduction in vehicle traffic is the most effective way to encourage cycling. This project seeks to manage growth in traffic, rather than to encourage modal shift.
  • We welcome the introduction of advanced stop line/box for Oxford-bound cyclists at the central cross-roads which we requested
  • We do not think the proposed cycle track off-road between Gipsy Lane and Valentia Road would work very well in practice as this would mean that cyclists would rejoin Old Road at the Valentia Road junction and this could pose safety issues. The footway is well-used by groups of schoolchildren and students so we would support its upgrading as footway but not for cyclists.
  • We call for further consideration to be given to pedestrians and cyclists when crossing the junctions of Horspath Driftway and the Eastern Bypass – transport links between Cowley and Headington are used by a significant number of cyclists and this should be encouraged
  • We would encourage officers to continue dialogue with the University of Oxford to give land swap or access to an internal cycle path on their land in Old Road by the public to mitigate harm caused by extra traffic movement to its employment hub.
  • We believe that money could arguably be better spent on the introduction of more cycle hubs. The Oxonbikes scheme is popular and it is well used by commuters at Headington’s employment sites. Funding should be allocated to the establishment of more hubs across the City. There is currently a lot of commuter traffic between Cowley and Headington, for example. More hubs within a 5-10 mile radius of Headington would encourage modal shift, and help Headington residents who travel to work elsewhere in Oxford.
  • We would support funding for an awareness programme to alert drivers to regulations relating to mandatory and advisory cycle lanes

(k)          Cost-benefit analysis

  • No cost-benefit analysis data has been supplied with this consultation. This makes it very difficult to give informed comments. It is unclear what criteria will be used to determine whether the project has been successful. Reduced journey times? More traffic movements? More active travel movements? We request that information on this is published on the County Council’s website.

(l)           Materials

  • We would favour the use of grasscrete rather than tarmac for additional half on, half off verges in St Anne’s Road as this detracts less from the street scene and character of the area
  • We request that any tree trunks, bollards or signage removed as part of development should be retained for use elsewhere within the Headington area in conjunction with City Parks and the County Council, and/or often offered to schools.

(m)         Repair and maintenance of highway

  • We strongly recommend that a budget is set up to carry out repairs and maintenance of the highway once works are completed. It is particularly important to ensure on-street cycle lanes are well maintained.
  • We should like to see a budget set up to cover signage for the project which is separate from the current budget held by the Traffic Advice Team

(n)          Drainage

  • Off road cycle facilities between Valentia Road and Gipsy Lane are in an area which has surface water drainage problems (see cycling-related issues) and these do need to be resolved before any upgrading is done
  • We would support the use of grasscrete or other porous material if any verges are made into additional parking spaces as this would be less intrusive on the street scene and character of the area
  • The concreting over of gardens by owners of houses in Windmill Road impacts on drainage, and this problem is likely to worsen if on-street parking is removed.

(o)          Trees and verges

  • We regret any removal of verges or trees from their current locations and note that the Headington Neighbourhood Plan policies seek to retain green space and retain character and identity in its streets
  • Residents are still very disappointed that trees will be lost in Headley Way as this will detract from the street scene, and they are worried about screening from noise and effect on drainage
  • We are glad to see that there is no overall nett loss of trees in the revised proposals, although the location of the replacement trees is not always as close to those removed as we would like to see, e.g. the upper end of Old Road
  • We would encourage the project team to invite the City Council’s experienced and knowledgeable Tree Officers to give advice in planning the species, maturity and exact location of replacement tree planting
  • More trees will need to be purchased than are needed as some may fail

(p)          Air Quality and Noise Pollution

    • We believe that a higher priority should be given to air quality in Headington, and would like to see data recorded (and modelled) on carbon emissions along the A4995 route pre and post-impact of traffic changes associated with this project. Updates should be copied to the relevant councillors.
  •      We should like to see noise monitoring carried out in Windmill Road and Headley Way and updates should be copied to the relevant councillors.

 

(q)          Congestion charge for Headington at peak times

Congestion in Headington peaks at certain times of the day. Although not part of the remit of this project, we believe that the possibility of introducing a timed congestion charge should be investigated. This may be a stronger motivator of modal shift than any changes proposed in this scheme.

Dates for the diary. Street surgeries and Headington ward focus meeting

Here are details of our next two street surgeries where residents can discuss Access to Headington proposals and any other local issues with your local councillors.

Sunday 13th March 4:00-5:00pm

Corner of Norton Close and Bateman Street

Saturday 19th March 4:00-5:00pm

Outside the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Windmill Road 

And another date for your diary!

NEXT WARD FOCUS MEETING

Date: Tuesday 29th March

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Place: Lecture Theatre, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Windmill Road, OX3 7HE

Speakers and an Open Session for your comments too! Free of charge. All welcome! Bring your councillors to account!

Ward Focus meetings are run on a drop in and out basis and are free of charge. There is an open session where residents can raise issues of concern. There’s no need to book.

If you would like to contact your Lib Dem city councillors for advice on any issue please contact

Next round of Access to Headington consultation

A County officer confirmed today that the next plans for consultation are nearly ready, and that more notice will be given this time around to residents to let them know when and where the presentation of the plans will be held. The latest information we were given on timescales indicated that the next set of plans will be made available towards the end of February/beginning of March, but this is to be confirmed.

Twenty questions for the energy pipe press launch tomorrow

Here is our latest list of questions sent in by residents

Timescale

  1. What are the working hours? Will it include weekend working? On what dates will be the work be in my area?
  2. If work starts at either end simultaneously, will Old Rd and London Rd be affected at the same time? Will whole roads be closed either end?

How does it work?

  1. Can they explain the technology? How much carbon reduction do they intend to achieve?at what cost? and cost/ ton? What is the benchmark above which it becomes unaffordable? if the planners are considering all aspects of carbon reduction then consideration should also be given to the manufacture of the steel tubing, (China?) fittings, and insulation plus the cost of storage and transport to site, storage, reloading onto vehicles to the various sections of the site during the installation. The fuel used in excavation vehicles, back filling and testing plus the non green effect of the traffic congestion that will occur throughout Headington throughout the contract period.
  2. How large will the trench be and what about all the other cables, drains, sewage. Size of pipes too
  3. Is it steam or water? If it leaks under high pressure, would this damage road and paths?

Extent of the disruption

  1. How will noise and dust be controlled?
  2. Will pedestrian access along streets be affected?
  3. How will highways and footpaths be kept clean?
  4. Can we see the detailed construction plan?
  5. Can we have our pavements and footpaths resurfaced following the work? What quid pro quo can we obtain for all the disturbance?
  6. Protection of trees? In Stapleton Road for example the line is very close to the kerb so difficult to see how trees can be protected?
  7. What are the arrangements for emergency vehicles?
  8. Will refuse collections operate as normal?

Parking

  1. What arrangements for parking for contractors’ vehicles?
  2. What alternative car parking arrangements will be made for residents who may be unable to park near their house/in their drives while the work is in their street?

Communications strategy

16 Why hold a press launch – there could only be 4 or 5 press outfits interested, and why not have arranged to meet community groups already?

17 Have commercial and institutional organisations been informed? e.g. Taxi companies, delivery vehicles to/from main shops e.g. Blanchfords,  Online grocery providers, Mace on  ORC, Brookes, particularly re arrival at start of Semester 2 (NB  at Ward Focus  it transpired that Manager of Stagecoach  was not aware )

18 Have the emergency services even been informed?

Consultation with residents

19 Can we have a liaison group comprising residents reps, councillors and the contractors to meet regularly throughout the project do deal with residents issues and various construction contingences? This worked well during the Brookes JHB project.

Enforcement

20 Who will enforce the agreed working arrangements? What are the statutory controls – as opposed to the contractual conditions?