‘Transformational’: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods get the thumbs up in Cowley

At a recent online event hosted by Cyclox, Patrick Lingwood, Active Travel Lead for Oxfordshire, and Scott Urban of Oxfordshire Liveable Streets reported on progress in Oxford’s three newest low-traffic neighbourhoods.

‘Transformational’: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods get the thumbs up in Cowley

“There’s no need to visit Waltham Forest to experience an LTN for yourself anymore – come to Cowley!”

Implementation of the trials in Florence Park, Temple Cowley and Church Cowley has been underway throughout March and is now largely complete bar the installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) at those filters that allow buses and taxis through.

Residents are encouraged to respond to the first stage of the public consultation Oxfordshire County Council is required to run alongside the trials, which have been implemented under Emergency Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs), by 31 March.

The trials were given the green light based on Cowley residents’ positive response to the pre-consultation, which in turn fed into the design of the trials themselves.

On the whole, feedback from Cowley residents remains positive, with early signs of people switching to walking and cycling on their everyday journeys and a noticeable drop in traffic noise and pollution, particularly on those streets that were previously prone to heavy short-cutting traffic from outside the area.

As yet, there haven’t been reports of knock-on disruption on the major roads surrounding the new LTNs, but the County Council continues to monitor the situation closely.

As with any change in the community, some disruption is to be expected while the trials bed in and people adjust their driving routes or opt for another way to travel.

Homes and businesses remain accessible by car, but residents have commented on the almost instant difference the removal of through-traffic has made to the safety and feel of the neighbourhoods.

If you missed the event, which provided a detailed breakdown of the data and rationale behind the three Cowley LTNs and a report on how it’s going so far, a recording is available to watch here:

You can find maps of the locations of the active travel filters here, and read about residents’ early experiences here, but there’s no substitute for going down to Cowley to take a look around yourself!

We’d love to organise small-group ‘cycle safaris’ to see how it feels to travel around these new low-traffic streets, if Covid19 guidelines allow. Do get in touch if you’d be interested in joining us!

When will we see the plans for Headington?

According to the County Council’s schedule, it looks like they will be sharing details of their plans and suggested filter locations for Headington in the early summer. These will be publicised through letters sent to every household, and maps and an online consultation, where residents and businesses will be asked for their views on the filter locations. In Cowley, the decision on the trial was made about a month after the consultation ended, with the trial (an ‘Emergency Traffic Regulation Order’) due to start 1-2 months later.

To watch a recent local event about the evidence behind LTNs, click here.

Title photo: T. Helweg-Larsen