Access to Headington (2)

Our comments on the Traffic Reguation Orders for Access to Headington

26 March 2016

Oxford Civic Society wishes to make the following comments in response to Oxfordshire County Council’s Access to Headington – Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) consultation.

In our response to the original consultation on Access to Headington we said we were very supportive of the stated aims for the project but were concerned that the statements should amount to more than simple rhetoric, and that the specific measures proposed should genuinely represent the optimum solutions for the achievement of the aims. Specifically we said, “No technical data have been provided showing the current conditions, e.g. traffic flows, mode share or diurnal patterns. Likewise, no modelling of the effects of the measures proposed has been published. The basis on which the proposals have been developed is unclear, particularly in relation to population, employment and transport projections and their consistency with those data underpinning transport planning and management more generally in the city. The projected ‘improvements’ are unquantified.” We note with regret that this is still the case, and it is not possible to know what may be the scale of the benefits the scheme is intended to deliver.

We do however welcome the fact that attention has clearly been given to the earlier comments made by ourselves and many others about the need to find alternative spaces for the parking places to be removed from Headley Way and Windmill Road, and to the concerns expressed about loss of trees, green verges and other ‘green’ amenities. In that context we note that the changes originally proposed for Osler Road have been dropped and that the road no longer forms part of the overall scheme. We welcome the publication of the County’s parking survey data, which we believe provides compelling evidence that sufficient alternative parking space can be found to replace the spaces displaced from Headley Way and Windmill Road. Where raised entry points are proposed at the mouths of existing side roads, we would emphasise the need for really good visibility both for exiting vehicles and for cyclists, in the interests of safety.

We are not in a position to make comments on every detail of the scheme. Others are better-placed to do this, and we urge the County to give careful consideration to the detailed studies carried out by, among others, Cyclox on behalf of cyclists, Oxford Pedestrians Association on behalf of pedestrians, and local Residents’ Associations and Councillors who have carried out detailed analyses of their own areas.

We realise there are conflicts between some of the objectives of the scheme and the valid interests and concerns of some local residents. We cannot adjudicate between these, but we do note that neither ‘side’ has produced objective data to support their claims.
The viability of the Headley Way shopping parade needs careful consideration. It is a significant local amenity, which reduces the need for local residents to travel to shop and depends in part on passing vehicular trade. Changes in parking and circulation here need evaluation in terms of its continuing success.

We believe the proposal to enforce traffic flows in Churchill Drive during the rush hours using camera surveillance and fines should be a helpful contribution to the Old Road traffic problem. We welcome the Girdlestone Road cycle access improvements, though we should have liked to see more positive measures for cyclists along Roosevelt Drive. We also support the idea of a new crossing at the London Road bus gate by Osler Road.