Approval of cycle Quickway schemes creates safer links for Headington

Today’s Delegated Decision by Cabinet Member for Highway Management saw the approval of several proposed cycle Quickway schemes, including on key routes into Headington.

A woman cycling with two small children
Photo by Mark Stosberg / Unsplash

Cllr Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, decided today to approve the proposed cycle Quickway schemes for several arterial roads in Oxford.

For Headington, the most relevant of these are the proposals for the removal of parking spaces on Warneford Lane and Morrell Avenue to create wider advisory cycle lanes. Combined with trials of low traffic neighbourhoods in East Oxford, this will provide people living and working in Headington with more choices when deciding how to make their journeys by making these vital connecting routes safer for vulnerable road users.

Cllr Bearder heard speakers both for and against the proposals, including residents, councillors and a representative from Oxford’s large student community.

Views expressed in the submissions and decision

  • Concerns raised about the loss of on-road parking spaces for residents in the area around Morrell Avenue. Application schemes for Blue Badges and carer permits will continue to apply.
  • Residents expressed concerns that the removal of on-road parking will increase traffic speeds on Morrell Avenue: the current 20 mph limit is rarely obeyed as it isn’t enforced. In his summing up, however, Cllr Bearder said the current problematic situation with speeding shouldn’t impede progress on other improvements and must be dealt with separately. The County Council will continue to press national government for powers to use average speed cameras to enforce speed limits.
  • Students make up a quarter of Oxford’s population. Many students don’t have recourse to a car and are therefore heavily reliant on cycling for transport. With students frequently reporting cycling incidents involving them or others they know, safety is a key concern for this group.
  • School children also belong to the significant group of road users who can’t drive. They’re therefore placed in a vulnerable position and their safety must be put first; particular mention of safe cycling routes for students at Cheney School.
  • The schemes align with the priorities of Oxfordshire’s Fair Deal Alliance: climate change requires urgent action and the Council has to act.
  • The schemes aren’t perfect and don’t go far enough. However, changes have to be incremental due to the piecemeal way the government allocates funding for highway projects. These schemes aren’t the “end point” and far more needs to be done to improve safety for cyclists, especially at junctions (where most accidents occur).
  • Car use has doubled since the 1980s and tripled since the 1960s; the road space in Oxford has not. We have to move towards providing safer options for people to travel around Oxford without cars in order also to improve matters for those who have to use their cars.

View the full meeting here:

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Background on the Quickways proposals and consultation:

Consultation extended until 24 October: new cycling quickways to be introduced in Oxford
Oxfordshire County Council’s proposed new quickway cycle routes offer scope to enable more cycling – a key element in reducing motor vehicle traffic through Headington and Oxford as a whole. Be sure to have your say by 24 October!