Experimental Closure of Queen Street

OCS response to the consultation

6 July 2017

Oxfordshire County Council plans to close Queen Street to all motor vehicles, including buses, for what they describe as an ‘experimental period’ of 18 months. To allow for the closure there is a set of other changes to traffic arrangements in the city centre. The start of the closure coincides with the opening of the new Westgate in October. We have submitted a formal response to the proposals which you can read in full here. The main points we made are:

  • The County’s ‘Statement of Reasons’ does not in fact give any reasons for wanting this closure.
  • Some people cannot walk the length of Queen Street. This is particularly important for disabled people, but it is not discussed in the proposals.
  • Traffic lights will be removed from 3 junctions around the city centre – mainly to help the buses move more easily. This obviously has repercussions for other forms of transport – particularly cyclists and pedestrians, but also motorists and delivery vehicles. Some disabled people may need some safe means of crossing the roads where traffic lights have been removed.
  • In moving the High Street bus, taxi and loading bays further away from Carfax there has been no consideration of cyclists. One of the most important cycling routes in Oxford goes through the Turl and across to Alfred Street.
  • New waiting restrictions in St Aldates have not taken into account the need for access to the Town Hall (weddings, ceremonial occasions), and again the impact on cycling and pedestrians (particularly the disabled) has been ignored.
  • We think arrangements at the George Street, Worcester Street, Hythe Bridge Street junction need further consideration.