What Can You Do?

Write to Your Local Councillors & MPs

We’ve pulled together some information to help you write to your MPs and local Councillors to express your views on what needs to change across Oxfordshire. Please write to as many as you can and please encourage others to do the same. 

Please draw on as many of our summarised key points and use any further information from our website as you feel necessary. We’re happy for you to copy word-for-word if you so choose.

Summary of OLS’s Key Points

The Problem

Oxford City and Oxfordshire face problems caused by the unjustifiable prioritisation of private motorised vehicles. These problems include:

  1. Pollution: Oxford continues to breach European annual limits for air pollution caused by motor-vehicle emissions and particulate matter from material wear on the roads.
  2. Congestion: Traffic volume in Oxford has increased steeply since 2012, causing the average journey time at morning peak hours in Oxford to increase by 7% between 2012-16, with 10% of roads congested during this time.
  3. Road Safety: Accidents on Oxfordshire roads are significantly worse than in the rest of England. Between 2000-2016, on average 25 children and 368 adults were killed or seriously injured every year.
  4. Public Health Crises: Air pollution crisis risking public health and we face further crises caused by physical inactivity. Around 20% of 5-year-olds in Oxfordshire are overweight. Around 60% of adults in Oxfordshire are overweight. Regular physical activity hugely lowers the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, early death, osteoarthritis, depression, and dementia.
  5. Cost to taxpayers: Total government annual grants to Oxfordshire County Council fell by £72 million (37%) between 2009/10 and 2015/16, and have not increased since. In the same period, the Oxfordshire population increased by 5%, (expected to rise 20% by 2051), and the costs of statutory care duties increased.

The Solution

These issues could be resolved if we re-orientate our urban infrastructure to favour people, not vehicles. Current transport priorities should be reversed, so that people travelling as pedestrians come first, followed by people on bikes, people on public transport and lastly people travelling in private cars.

  1. Central routes into town centres and into Oxford should favour active forms of travel. Arterial routes within should be one-way for motorised traffic, two-way for others. Cycle routes should be segregated from traffic as part of the road. Pedestrians should have  full use of the pavement. Pedestrian pavements should continue across entrances to side roads. Junction corners should be at tight right-angles to prevent cars from sweeping dangerously around bends.
  2. Urban centres should be pedestrianized with separated pathways serving as through-routes for cyclists. Private motorised traffic should not be able to cross urban centres but should have to go around (via external ring road). Public transport services (i.e. buses) should have access points closer to the pedestrianized centre and be able to take inner ring roads.
  3. Neighbourhood streets should not be rat runs
  4. Connecting routes between towns and villages should provide segregated, non-motorised paths so people can get from town-to-town safely using active, low-impact forms of travel.

We need to drastically reduce the number of vehicles entering and crossing town centres and Oxford City centre on needless journeys. Active, zero-emissions transport needs to be the priority.

The Result

If we address these propositions as a whole and implement them together as one step-change, rather than incrementally, we have the chance to improve Oxfordshire and Oxford City liveability in a short space of time for the long-term. By incentivising active travel (by foot or by bike), travel by car is made unappealing. This will increase physical activity, thus improving public health. This will decrease pollution and congestion, thus bringing down health costs and highway maintenance costs.

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