Turning a city into a transport paradise inevitably takes time. There’s a lot of city that needs to change, and a lot of people that can obstruct progress. So it is important to carry on taking small steps, as well as working on bigger ones.
What’s on the agenda in Oxford in 2014? There are some major projects – a £900k project to make The Plain roundabout more cycle-friendly, and planning for a major extension to the Westgate shopping centre, and a rebuild of the railway station.
But there should be progress on financially-smaller schemes as well. They should not be postponed yet again. While it is true that people will carry on muddling through without them, they do have a positive effect, so every postponement is an opportunity missed.
There are three simple cycling schemes which should be done in 2014, and a long list of small improvements for walking where progress can be made.
1) Cycle lane under Botley Road railway bridge. The traffic-light island needs to be trimmed slightly, but otherwise this is simply a matter of painting in a cycle lane and narrowing the traffic lanes. The dimensions are all a bit tight, but adequate at 20mph. The railway bridge might get rebuilt, but it might not, and the costs of marking a cycle lane are so low that it should be done as an interim solution, regardless.
2) Cycle lanes on Marston Road. This scheme has been on hold, and should be pushed to implementation. It consists of an outbound cycle lane from London Place to John Garne Way, and cycle lanes on both sides from there to the start of the cycle tracks. The parking would all be moved to the east side and placed in a bay.
3) Parking ban on Donnington Bridge Road. Cycle lanes were painted on Donnington Bridge Road a couple of years ago, but they are generally obstructed by a small number of parked cars. The cars are parked half on the pavement, half on the road: the road is clearly not wide enough for parking. There is spare capacity in the side roads, and the whole length should be double-yellow restricted.
4) Raised side-road crossings. The new type of raised side road crossing that was installed along Iffley Road is very effective at giving pedestrians priority. These should be installed at all side roads, in due course. The next batch could be along Botley Road, to improve conditions for people walking from and to the Park & Ride.