Response to ‘Connecting Oxford’

We commend the City and County for their ‘Connecting Oxford’ collaboration.

23 October 2019

Connecting Oxford’ is the latest attempt by the City and County Councils to address the problems of traffic congestion and pollution in Oxford, to promote sustainable alternatives, and to reduce the number of vehicles travelling into and through the city. Recognising the need for ‘Connecting Oxford’ to benefit both residents of the city and commuters, the City and County councils have invited comments through a public consultation.

Oxford Civic Society commends both the public consultation and city-county collaboration. However, it is difficult to make specific comments on the proposals as few details are yet available. We therefore hope that the Councils will move quickly to commission the technical work necessary to enable all parties to make an informed assessment. We look forward to commenting further as details are developed.

While we wait for more details, in our intial response we support the Councils’ proposals to use traffic restriction points to reduce peak-hour traffic and encourage a fall in overall traffic entering the city. But we are concerned that such points may simply redirect traffic to already overburdened routes such as the Ring Road – a risk that does not appear to have been considered in plans shared to date.

The Society is also concerned that the proposed Workplace Parking Levy may be less effective than a city-wide congestion charge, as a levy risks disadvantaging businesses while leaving other vehicles (peak-hour school runs, delivery trucks, tourist buses, etc.) unaffected. We would like to propose that revenue from such a levy, and any associated exemption system, is used to support public transport systems to, and within, the Eastern Arc.

You can read our full response here.