Divinity Road Area LTN Proposal

Here, in the Divinity Road area, we propose to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) by introducing modal filters at the tops of Divinity Road and Stone street, as indicated on the map below. These two modal filters will prevent traffic from using our residential streets as a shortcut from beyond Oxford to central Oxford.

Our residential streets have benefitted overwhelmingly from the national reduction in car use during lockdown. Before lockdown, according to a County Council survey conducted in October 2019, 6,000 cars were driving past our doors, on Divinity Road, day and night. Southfield Road also carries a significant volume of traffic, but the survey planned for Spring this year did not take place because of restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

Our aim is to make the low level of car use, and improved safety of cyclists and pedestrians, a permanent feature in our neighbourhood.

According to our local survey results, 92% of our residents favour an access-only neighbourhood. This will prevent the very many out-of-area drivers taking shortcuts through our residential streets. The kinds of speeds we usually see at night when the roads are empty, we are now seeing in the day – posing a threat to pedestrian and cyclist safety. Many local parents are afraid to allow their children to walk on the pavements and cycle to school, for fear of being knocked down. Divinity and Southfield Roads are both used heavily by students, pedestrians and cyclists, who attend Cheney School and Oxford Brookes University.

Our proposal will not only improve road safety and provide opportunities for our children to walk to school and cyclists to get to work and university, but will also allow for ongoing social distancing, reduced vehicle emissions and air quality improvements for local residents. Reallocation of our road spaces will allow for school street projects, a major cycle corridor and pocket parks, in line with the Connecting Oxford plan for our city’s future.

The proposed locations of modal filters are shown in the plan below.  They are to be placed at the top of Divinity Road and at the Divinity Road end of Stone Street.

County and City Councillors’ endorsements.

Councillor Jamila Azad for the County and City Councils and Councillor Tom Hayes for the City both endorse these proposals. Their joint statement is:

The County and City Councils are keen to introduce low traffic neighbourhoods. By making our streets quieter and safer we hope to encourage more people to travel on foot or by bike. These proposals prepared by the Divinity Road Area Residents Association are an effective and economic way of achieving this objective.

The Proposal

DRARA Residents’ Traffic Survey (2020)

92% of residents want DRARA to be access only

In June, we asked DRARA residents for their views on traffic in their street. This was in response to a Council survey of traffic volume on Divinity Road, which recorded nearly 40,000 vehicles a week, including a high number of vans and HGVs. On weekdays, nearly 6,000 vehicles use Divinity Road as a rat run. The traffic volume in our residential street has soared by over 70% since a previous survey was conducted five years ago.

We had 183 responses to our survey. It produced a clear finding:

There is high and overwhelming concern about heavy traffic in and around Divinity Road, and strong support to turn the area into an access-only network of streets, in line with Oxford’s ambitious plan to reimagine our streets so people can safely walk and cycle.

These are the main findings:

  • 92% want the neighborhood to be access only
    – high concern about traffic volume, especially rat running
  • 91% are concerned about escalating traffic
    – 72% say this is a very high concern
  • 92% say less traffic would improve their quality of life
    – improved safety, less noise, less pollution
  • 78% say traffic was bad or very bad before lockdown
    – two-thirds cited traffic noise as a major concern
  • 91% say reduced traffic during lockdown improved their quality of life
    – less noise, improved safety, less pollution, better sense of community
  • 73% witnessed road rage in the past year
    – angry driving and speeding; some cite concern for personal safety
  • 50% have had their car damaged while parked on the street
    – scrapes, broken wing mirrors, dents
    – six respondents reported having their car written off!

DRARA Residents’ Traffic Survey (June 2020)

  1. Where do you live?
# of respondents
Bartlemas Road 15
Divinity Road 49
Hill Top Road 29
Minster Road 18
Southfield Road 55
Stone Street 2
Warneford Road 15
183
  1. How would you best describe the traffic on your road before lockdown?
Good
1
2 3 4 Bad
5
Total
# of respondents 3 9 28 50 93 183
2% 5% 15% 27% 51%
  1. How much did the traffic noise concern you prior to lockdown?
Not at all 1 2 3 4 Very much 5 Total
# of respondents 7 22 30 58 66 183
4% 12% 16% 32% 36%
  1. Did the reduction in traffic during lockdown improve your quality of life? How?
Not at all 1 2 3 4 Very much 5 Total
# of respondents 4 4 8 39 128 183
2% 2% 4% 21% 70%
Mentioned in reply
Improved safety Better sleep Less noise Less pollution
# of respondents* 72 20 104 67
 % answering 44% 12% 64% 41%
  1. How concerned are you by the escalation in traffic?
Not at all 1 2 3 4 Very much 5 Total
# of respondents 0 2 14 36 131 183
0% 1% 8% 20% 72%
  1. Have you witnessed any incidents of road rage on your street in the last 12 months? If yes, how frequent are they?
Yes No Total
# of respondents 134 49 183
73% 27%
Daily/Almost daily 2/3 x/ week Weekly Fort-nightly Monthly 3 x/ year Regular Total
# of respondents 19 3 15 6 7 3 18 71
  1. Has your household or a visitor had their parked car damaged in the past 12 months? If yes, please provide details.
Yes No Total
# of respondents 91 92 183
50% 50%
Mentioned in reply
Damaged wing mirror Scrapes/scratches Dents/more severe damage Car written-off
# of respondents* 38 52 19 6
Percentage answering question 42% 57% 21% 7%

*91 respondents
Some respondents mentioned two or more of the issues listed

  1. Would less traffic on your street improve your quality of life? How?
Not at all 1 2 3 4 Very much 5 Total
# of respondents 0 4 11 29 139 183
0% 2% 6% 16% 76%
Mentioned in reply
Improved safety Better sleep Less noise Less pollution
# of respondents* 99 13 98 89
% answering 63% 8% 62% 56%

*158 respondents
Some respondents mentioned two or more of the issues listed

  1. Do you support the proposal of turning our neighbourhood into an access-only network of streets?
Yes No Total
# of responses 169 14 183
92% 8%