Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s new Cabinet Member for Highways Management, has urged people in Oxfordshire to give the newly implemented east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) time to settle, as he acknowledges some residents’ frustration at the changes.
Oxfordshire County Council implemented three trial LTN areas in east Oxford on Friday 20 May, with planters and bollards installed to close some roads to all through traffic, apart from emergency vehicles and waste services traffic.
The aim of the measures is to improve road safety and air quality, reduce congestion and encourage walking and cycling as an alternative to car travel.
Councillor Gant said: “We understand that the first few days of the east Oxford measures have presented challenges for some residents and businesses. Their implementation requires people to make changes in their already busy lives and has coincided with road works in the area, which has meant traffic has moved more slowly. I acknowledge the frustration felt as these new measures bed in.
“We believe that in the medium and longer term, and alongside other measures in the city, schemes like these will deliver benefits to us all, including safer streets, cleaner air, and an overall change in people’s travel habits, to more sustainable modes of transport.
“We need to change the way we travel into and within Oxford – and the county council remains committed to reducing the number of car journeys people make across Oxfordshire. The effect that cars have on our climate, combined with the levels of congestion we currently experience across the county, mean that the status quo is not an option.
“However, I know in the short-term, change can be hard, and I also understand that we must ensure that those who need to use vehicles can get where they need to go. Work is ongoing to monitor the progress of the measures and we will ensure that information about alternative routes is readily available.
“I would encourage people to give this time, work with us to make recommendations for improvements, and above all fill in the consultation survey so that your feedback is heard. These are experimental measures that are being trialled and we welcome all views to help us deliver the right outcome for our communities.”
The three trial LTNs cover the Divinity Road, St Clement’s, and St Mary’s areas and were installed under an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO). The trial will last for a minimum of six months.
The public consultation is now open seeking residents’ views on the measures. Anyone can provide feedback on the proposals before 30 November 2022, by visiting letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/east-oxford-ltns-2022 or by requesting a paper copy.
Changes to LTNs can also be made during the initial six-month trial, at which point the public consultation period will reset and continue for a further six months.
At the end of the consultation period, the county council will assess the impact of the east Oxford LTNs, including any feedback received, data collected on traffic and air pollution and levels of walking and cycling in these areas. The council will then decide whether to confirm, cancel or extend the ETRO for up to 12 months longer to allow for further consultation and monitoring.