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

Oxford Transport Strategy

The County Council will decide  next Tuesday whether to release its draft Local Transport Plan 4 for public consultation. For those who would like to see the papers please click on this link and look for item 9

There has been a lot of interest in improving transport in Headington, and it came up as a significant issue in the responses to the neighbourhood plan issues and options consultation. Here is a brief guide to work so far.

The above papers are to get formal approval to consult on the Local Transport Plan 4. This is likely to start in February.

As part of LTP4 there is the emerging Oxford Transport Strategy (OTS). The focus of OTS is three areas: City Centre, North Oxford and Eastern Arc.

Headington is a part of the Eastern Arc Strategy and the Headington Transport Strategy baseline and consultation undertaken last year has fed into the strategy development. There is no longer a ‘Headington Transport Strategy’ per se.

OTS will be of interest to local residents as it sets out the county’s proposed strategy for the next 20 years and is more detailed in terms of bus routes, new P&R sites, cycle route proposals etc.

Access to Headington is a project looking at schemes that can be delivered to reduce congestion, and improve public transport and cycle access in particular.



A40 consultation – proposed 50 MPH speed limit restriction

Here are the proposals from the County Council which are out to consultation. Any objections or other representations on the proposal should be submitted by 10th October 2014.

RE: CONSULTATION – A40 by Barton Park Development, Oxford – Proposed 50mph Speed Limit & various restrictions

We are writing to seek your views on the proposals above, which are being put forward as a result of the development of land adjacent to the A40 at Barton, the proposals consist of a section of 50mph speed limit in place of the current 70mph speed limit and the construction of a signalled junction giving access to the development.

Notice is hereby given that Oxfordshire County Council proposes to make the above orders under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and all other enabling powers.  A signalised junction is to be created for the new Barton Park development, and to facilitate the safe operation of the junction and other affected roads, the proposed orders include the following provisions:


1. to introduce a 50mph speed limit (in place of 70mph speed limit) on the A40 northern bypass from the existing 30mph limit west of Headington roundabout to the following points:

a) on the westbound carriageway for a distance of 2080 metres, and

b) on the eastbound carriageway for a distance of 2430 metres.


2. Restrictions on turning movements at the junction:

a) comprising a prohibition of U turns on both approaches of the A40; a prohibition of the left turn from the westbound carriageway of the A40 into the proposed link road between the A40 and Foxwell Drive+; a prohibition of the right turn from the eastbound carriageway of the A40 into the proposed link road between the A40 and Foxwell Drive.

b) A restriction of the use the proposed link road link road between the A40 and Foxwell Drive to limit, with only local buses and cyclists being permitted to use the road in either direction.


3. create a short `ahead only` Bus Lane at the southbound exit from the new development for Buses (and cycles) to cross the A40.  ( Parts of these proposals will only be implemented if the new link road to Foxwell Drive is built.)

The Oxfordshire County Council (Oxford Area – A40) (Speed Limits) Order 2012 will be revoked and replaced. A copy of the proposed Orders and detailed documents may be inspected at County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Objections to the proposals and other representations specifying the grounds on which they are made may be sent in to the address below by the 10 October 2014.

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

Traffic Regulation Team (Ref: AK/12.6.320) on behalf of Director for Environment and Economy, Speedwell House, Oxford, OX1 1NE.

Your councillors have copies of the plans for the junction and of the area affected by the speed limits. These are too large to upload to this website but please contact either us or the County Council if you would like a copy.

We shall bring copies to our next Ward Focus Meeting on 30 September at Headington School hall from 6.00-8.00pm




Update: London Road scheme may be delayed

We have just been advised by a County officer that:

We’ve incurred a delay with the Virgin Media advanced diversion works at the junction with Lyndworth Close and we’re currently reviewing the required temporary traffic management arrangements on the A40 as part of the improvement scheme works.  We’re assessing the impact of this on our programme with our sub-contractors and will update key stakeholders next week.

This sounds like a potential delay – your Lib Dem councillors are pushing for more details. Watch this space!

Consultation on the County’s Transport Plan ends 1 August

Local Transport Plan 4 – Stage 1: Goals and Objectives

The County Council has published a consultation document setting out proposed goals and objectives for the new Local Transport Plan. You have until 1 August to send in your comments.
To see the document please click here
These are the questions that residents are being asked:

Consultation Questions

  1. Do you feel we have correctly identified the most important transport challenges that need to be addressed? If NO, please say what you think are the most important challenges.
  2. What do you think is the best way to reduce the need to travel?
  3. Please tell us your ideas for making the best use of the existing transport network.
  4. How could travel around Oxfordshire be made easier for you?
  5. What do you think are the best ways to meet the travel needs of people who do not have access to a car, for example younger, older and disabled people?
  6. Where in Oxfordshire do you think future development would best be located to help reduce transport problems?
  7. When trying to reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability, what (if any) types of journey should be prioritised?
  8. What do you think would make public transport more attractive to people who don’t normally use it?
  9. The need for of goods and materials to be transported will increase as the population grows – how should our transport strategy address the negative impacts of increased freight transport (lorries and vans) on people’s lives and the environment?
  10. What do you think are the best ways to reduce carbon emissions from transport in Oxfordshire?
  11. What are the best ways to encourage more people to walk?
  12. What are the best ways to encourage more people to cycle?
  13. Overall, do you agree with the draft high level goals and objectives for LTP4? If NO, please say which you disagree with and explain why.
  14. Is there anything which the goals and objectives do not adequately cover? If YES please tell us what you think they should cover.
  15. Finding the money to install mass transit schemes such as trams may not be possible within the current funding mechanisms (government grants and developer funding). How do you think the money could be raised in other ways?