PART of Oxford has gone Dutch thanks to a new cycle scheme.
Oxfordshire County Council has transformed Jack Straw’s Lane between Marston and Headington into a Dutch-style “bicycle street”.
It is hoped the £70,000 scheme will address local concerns about traffic speeds while encouraging cycling in the area. There is now a narrow buff-coloured strip going down the centre of the street separating two wide cycle lanes, with other larger areas creating the impression of a pedestrianised zone.
While motorists will still be able to use the street, it is hoped the plan will encourage them to wait behind cyclists instead of overtaking by squeezing past.
Simon Hunt, of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox, said: “It is quite a novel way of doing it.
“I don’t know of anywhere else where they have done this.
“They are clearly trying to use psychology to make drivers go slowly but we will have to see whether drivers who haven’t been confronted with this before actually do.
“It is too early to say whether this can be rolled out across other parts of the city.”
Jack Straw’s Lane is often used as a short cut to the John Radcliffe Hospital by cars and taxis and residents have expressed concerns about speed.
In one speed survey carried out by the county council cars were clocked travelling at around 28mph on average despite the speed limit being 20mph.
About 18 months ago, the residents’ association presented a petition to the leader of the county council asking for Jack Straw’s Lane to be made access-only. But this was rejected because police officers felt access-only measures are difficult to enforce and they lacked the resources for it.
Since then the county council has been working with the residents’ association to come up with a scheme which could work.
The discussion led to the idea of of copying a scheme currently used in the Netherlands.
But Jack Straw’s Lane resident Roger Evans said he had yet to notice a difference.
He said: “I would say cars are going at exactly the same speed.
I don’t think anybody will know what on earth it is for and they will just carry on as they did before.
“I don’t think the cyclists have been educated as to what it is and nor have the motorists.”