Oxfordshire County Council is currently consulting about proposed bus gates in the city, and the window for responding closes on August 9. We would encourage residents to respond in support (there has been a lot of opposition), and to also mention the need for access to the Observatory Health Centre on Walton Street to be maintained for West Oxford residents.
Read on for information and thoughts from our transport lead, Neville Scriviner:
The current proposals are for a bus gate in the Worcester Street area to prevent traffic using the city centre roads to move between the West and South to the North and vice versa. Whilst the proposed measures are known as ‘bus gates’ they are really ‘traffic control points’ to limit through traffic using a particular route.
The Worcester Street gate should reduce the traffic use in Botley Road, potentially improve the flow and reduce pollution levels. The current suggestions also aim to encourage cycling, walking and bus use through more reliable journey times resulting from reduced traffic. Buses may be a less popular mode of transport at present, but will hopefully become used more fully as the Covid-19 situation improves.
We have already lobbied the County Council regarding the issue posed by the proposals of local residents accessing Health Centres / GP practices, as well as clinical staff making home visits. Other local transport groups are supporting this through CoHSAT. We have also written to Observatory Health Centre on Walton Street, and you can read our letter here:
The proposals on the County Council website can be seen below and it is important that we offer feedback from the area. We would suggest considering a number of free passes for local Oxford residents to be able to access GP practices when driving (or being given a lift) is the only option, as well as visits to people in care and emergency visits to schools. This is not exhaustive but shows the issues that people may wish to consider in their feedback.
“At the times of day when the bus gates are in operation (currently proposed to be 7.30am to 6.30pm 7 days a week), only the following vehicles would be allowed through them:
- Buses and coaches
- Taxis and private hire vehicles
- Vehicles in which a blue badge holder is travelling
- Disabled tax class vehicles
- Emergency services
We are considering exemptions to allow some residents and businesses access through the bus gates and would like your feedback on this. We need to strike a balance between local access needs and traffic reduction.”
A bus gate near Westgate Car Park is also being considered, but not at first and we are pursuing the idea of making the car park accessible from Botley Road and Abingdon Road without traffic being able to have a through route.
The first six months of the bus gate operation would be a formal consultation period.
The consultation can be found at the link below and closes on Sunday 9th August.