The final design for a busy Oxford junction has received a thumbs-down from local cyclists.
Frideswide Square, outside the railway station, is being rebuilt by Oxfordshire County Council. Early designs were criticised by Oxford cyclists in April. Now the County Council has published a final version of the junction – and it hasn’t won over any more hearts and minds.
The design includes three roundabouts and no dedicated cycle tracks. Instead, the space between the road and the buildings on either side will now be designated as ‘shared use’, to be used by cyclists and pedestrians equally. The plans have been reworked from the earlier design to give a tree-lined barrier between the road and the shared-space area, plus larger bus stops.
Legally, the existing footway will be converted to a cycle track under the Highways Act 1980. The council says:
“Oxfordshire County Council is proposing to install shared use footway and cycleway areas within the north and south sides of the proposed transformation of Frideswide Square, Oxford in front of the rail station. The aim of the proposal is to improve the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the rail station and Oxford city centre.”
Speaking to the Oxford Mail, council leader Ian Hudspeth said the aim was “to try and make it as easy as possible for people to cycle there”.
However, Simon Hunt from cycling campaign Cyclox pointed out “Any roundabout is always a concern for cyclists and here we have got three.” Local cyclists have described the plans as “another stitch-up” and “impossibly inconvenient”.
Comments are invited by Friday 12th September via www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/frideswidesquare. Work is due to start immediately afterwards.