Cycling campaigners close to winning campaign to have towpath resurfaced

Oxford Mail: City councillors Louise Upton, left, and Susanna Pressel on the towpath Buy this photo » City councillors Louise Upton, left, and Susanna Pressel on the towpath

PART of the towpath along the Oxford Canal could be resurfaced a year after cycling campaigners were told it was too narrow for the work to be done.

Oxford City Council has said it will pay for the work to upgrade a neglected 1,100m stretch of the canal towpath through North Oxford.

The work has been earmarked in its budget for the next financial year and was unveiled on Wednesday. However contributions will be needed from Oxfordshire County Council and the Canal and River Trust.

City councillor for North ward Louise Upton said: “This is exactly the sort of initiative we need to make cycling safer. As far as possible we want to get cyclists off the streets and on to safer, dedicated paths.

“I hope this will encourage more people to get on their bicycles.”

The section of track which leads from the Walton Well Road bridge to the Aristotle Lane bridge is uneven and difficult to cycle upon.

But last December Government-funded charity Sustrans said the city-centre route will not receive any money because it is 20cm too narrow.

It went on to say there is no chance of the path being widened, because the verge next to the canal is a protected habitat for water voles.

At the time Sustrans said it asks for a minimum of two metres for this type of work to be carried out and the problem would not be resolvable.

The towpath was upgraded between Isis Lock and Walton Well Road in 2010 with £150,000 from Oxfordshire County Council.

Richard Mann of cycling campaign group Cyclox said: “The reality is that lots of people do use that route and it is a useful connection that links West Oxford and the train station to North Oxford.

“It is now very bumpy and it is a missed opportunity. There are some routes near Grandpont which have become very well used after being resurfaced and this will help people, particularly with children, to get on to their bikes.”

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County council spokesman Sam Henry said: “We have received a request for a financial contribution towards a city council project to resurface part of the Oxford Canal Towpath. We are currently in the process of assessing the proposal.”

James Clifton, enterprise manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: “We are delighted that the city council has offered to contribute a large part of the funding needed to improve this popular stretch of towpath, extending the Jericho section which was funded by the County Council and ourselves.

“Providing the remainder of the money can be secured, we would be delighted to carry out the work.”

City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The council’s budget for consultation proposes that the Cycle City budget be increased to ensure schemes like this can happen, and this one is a top priority.

“However, the budget won’t be approved until February 2014 so it is too early to give details on how much the council will be spending or when work will start.

“We are now looking forward to working with the county council to agree how these Cycle City schemes can be funded.”

Comments (20)

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12:16pm Tue 17 Dec 13

herrison says...

Great news. I cycle down the towpath several times a week, and this section is a pain in the a--e.
Great news. I cycle down the towpath several times a week, and this section is a pain in the a--e. herrison

12:33pm Tue 17 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Too right. I used it in Sep attending a conference at the Barcelo - it is atrocious, not even surfaced in parts. God only knows what it's like in winter proper.

To those who cry 'waste of money' I presume you'd sooner be doing 10 mph behind me on the Woodstock Rd, on the climb from South Parade to First Turn?
Too right. I used it in Sep attending a conference at the Barcelo - it is atrocious, not even surfaced in parts. God only knows what it's like in winter proper. To those who cry 'waste of money' I presume you'd sooner be doing 10 mph behind me on the Woodstock Rd, on the climb from South Parade to First Turn? King Joke

12:59pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Arnold.Brewer says...

It is not just this length that needs attention - miles of the path need resurfacing and hedges cutting back - that Kennet and Avon path to Bath can do it why not the Oxford Canal around Oxford?
It is not just this length that needs attention - miles of the path need resurfacing and hedges cutting back - that Kennet and Avon path to Bath can do it why not the Oxford Canal around Oxford? Arnold.Brewer

2:37pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

A bit of lighting might help too.
A bit of lighting might help too. Andrew:Oxford

2:39pm Tue 17 Dec 13

King Joke says...

I regularly cycle down the Thames towpath in pitch dark and am fine just working off the bike lights, particularly on cloudy nights when the street lights reflect off the cloud base. THe only problem is people cycling the other way with halogen lights - completely dazzling!
I regularly cycle down the Thames towpath in pitch dark and am fine just working off the bike lights, particularly on cloudy nights when the street lights reflect off the cloud base. THe only problem is people cycling the other way with halogen lights - completely dazzling! King Joke

4:17pm Tue 17 Dec 13

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

its the muppets that cycle along with a Disco Light effect attached strobing away that bug me.. idiots
its the muppets that cycle along with a Disco Light effect attached strobing away that bug me.. idiots yabbadabbadoo256

4:19pm Tue 17 Dec 13

King Joke says...

If you've noticed the flashing lights then they have worked! They are much more visible than lights which are on constantly. Last week there was long discussion about unlit cyclists. Damned if you do...
If you've noticed the flashing lights then they have worked! They are much more visible than lights which are on constantly. Last week there was long discussion about unlit cyclists. Damned if you do... King Joke

6:13pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
If you've noticed the flashing lights then they have worked! They are much more visible than lights which are on constantly. Last week there was long discussion about unlit cyclists. Damned if you do...
Can't miss my cycle lights...

I have one of the Philips combined recharge/dynamo models. It's beam pretty much matches powerful motorbike lights.

Low -level lighting would help welcome runners and walkers in these dark winter nights.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: If you've noticed the flashing lights then they have worked! They are much more visible than lights which are on constantly. Last week there was long discussion about unlit cyclists. Damned if you do...[/p][/quote]Can't miss my cycle lights... I have one of the Philips combined recharge/dynamo models. It's beam pretty much matches powerful motorbike lights. Low -level lighting would help welcome runners and walkers in these dark winter nights. Andrew:Oxford

8:10am Wed 18 Dec 13

King Joke says...

How about low-energy LEDs which are passive infra-red triggered, so they're not on all the time? I'm sure the tech is available these days to run them for a few pence a day electricity-wise.
How about low-energy LEDs which are passive infra-red triggered, so they're not on all the time? I'm sure the tech is available these days to run them for a few pence a day electricity-wise. King Joke

11:46pm Wed 18 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.
This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it. East Oxford Web Watcher

8:21am Thu 19 Dec 13

Floflo says...

East Oxford Web Watcher wrote:
This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.
I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along.

The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it!
[quote][p][bold]East Oxford Web Watcher[/bold] wrote: This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.[/p][/quote]I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along. The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it! Floflo

1:55am Fri 20 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

Floflo wrote:
East Oxford Web Watcher wrote:
This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.
I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along.

The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it!
Correct (almost) it was for horses towing barges, and used by people walking, (the term pedestrian was not in use back then) and before the cycle was invented. But seeing as the canal towpath has been out of use for horse drawn barges for a hundred years, it has in fact been fashioned by nature. I recall many of your anti-motor vehicle posts stating that roads were not originally built for cars and they must give way for cyclists and pedestrians, yet here you are implying that cyclists should be given priority over walkers on a path that was never meant for cyclists. Please explain the difference in your posts.
[quote][p][bold]Floflo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]East Oxford Web Watcher[/bold] wrote: This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.[/p][/quote]I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along. The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it![/p][/quote]Correct (almost) it was for horses towing barges, and used by people walking, (the term pedestrian was not in use back then) and before the cycle was invented. But seeing as the canal towpath has been out of use for horse drawn barges for a hundred years, it has in fact been fashioned by nature. I recall many of your anti-motor vehicle posts stating that roads were not originally built for cars and they must give way for cyclists and pedestrians, yet here you are implying that cyclists should be given priority over walkers on a path that was never meant for cyclists. Please explain the difference in your posts. East Oxford Web Watcher

8:59am Fri 20 Dec 13

Floflo says...

East Oxford Web Watcher wrote:
Floflo wrote:
East Oxford Web Watcher wrote:
This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.
I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along.

The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it!
Correct (almost) it was for horses towing barges, and used by people walking, (the term pedestrian was not in use back then) and before the cycle was invented. But seeing as the canal towpath has been out of use for horse drawn barges for a hundred years, it has in fact been fashioned by nature. I recall many of your anti-motor vehicle posts stating that roads were not originally built for cars and they must give way for cyclists and pedestrians, yet here you are implying that cyclists should be given priority over walkers on a path that was never meant for cyclists. Please explain the difference in your posts.
You misunderstand me if you think I am anti car!

I do however think that planning for a car orientated society has produced just that. As the car usually gets priority over all other forms of transport people feel that they need to drive to work, and then have no option but to work to drive.

I agree with you that pedestrians should have priority along the canal, and all places where they share space with cycles.

It's about the right tools for the job - and the bike is an ideal way to travel along canal's.

I've never argued that bikes should be given more priority on the roads because cars came along after bikes. There's plenty of other more valid reasons why giving more space to pedestrians and cycles makes towns and cities more pleasant places to live in and get around.

My point was that looking at what something was initially buildtfor, or what 'nature intended' is rarely a useful argument.

Do you know of any research which indicates that bicycles are a significant risk to pedestrians? All I can find is that even while walking on on pavements by far the biggest risk to pedestrians is the motor car.
[quote][p][bold]East Oxford Web Watcher[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Floflo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]East Oxford Web Watcher[/bold] wrote: This will make this stretch very dangerous for those of us that walk this beautiful section of the canal. The smoother the path the faster the cyclists, this path was never meant for cyclists, and those of us that walk this section should be given priority, and we do not want a tarmac path, just for it to be left as nature has fashioned it.[/p][/quote]I think the canal tow path was initially designed for horses to travel along. The canal wouldn't exist if the land was left as nature fashioned it![/p][/quote]Correct (almost) it was for horses towing barges, and used by people walking, (the term pedestrian was not in use back then) and before the cycle was invented. But seeing as the canal towpath has been out of use for horse drawn barges for a hundred years, it has in fact been fashioned by nature. I recall many of your anti-motor vehicle posts stating that roads were not originally built for cars and they must give way for cyclists and pedestrians, yet here you are implying that cyclists should be given priority over walkers on a path that was never meant for cyclists. Please explain the difference in your posts.[/p][/quote]You misunderstand me if you think I am anti car! I do however think that planning for a car orientated society has produced just that. As the car usually gets priority over all other forms of transport people feel that they need to drive to work, and then have no option but to work to drive. I agree with you that pedestrians should have priority along the canal, and all places where they share space with cycles. It's about the right tools for the job - and the bike is an ideal way to travel along canal's. I've never argued that bikes should be given more priority on the roads because cars came along after bikes. There's plenty of other more valid reasons why giving more space to pedestrians and cycles makes towns and cities more pleasant places to live in and get around. My point was that looking at what something was initially buildtfor, or what 'nature intended' is rarely a useful argument. Do you know of any research which indicates that bicycles are a significant risk to pedestrians? All I can find is that even while walking on on pavements by far the biggest risk to pedestrians is the motor car. Floflo

9:10am Fri 20 Dec 13

King Joke says...

I'm afraid that bicycles are a risk to pedestrians where the towpath is too good.

I speak as one who owns two bikes and uses one to commute daily along the towpath from Folly Bridge to Donnington Bridge or Iffley Lock. I give pedestrians a wide berth and slow down for them.

The irony is that, once I get home, I take my dogs out for a walk, often on the section between Grandpont and Osney. The path surface on this section is excellent near-road quality, resulting in macho idiots hooning along at 20 mph, pinging their bells at anyone who dares slow them down, and round blind spots like the corner by the railway bridge. I really don't understand them - if they're in that much of a hurry why don't they just use the bl oo dy Botley Rd it's quicker!

So yes let's encourage cycling on the towpath and an all-weather surface, which incidentally will also benefit pedestrians who don't want to live in wellies, but let's not make it too good or else pedestrians will be intimidated.

Sorry to be off-message Floflo but I speak as I find.
I'm afraid that bicycles are a risk to pedestrians where the towpath is too good. I speak as one who owns two bikes and uses one to commute daily along the towpath from Folly Bridge to Donnington Bridge or Iffley Lock. I give pedestrians a wide berth and slow down for them. The irony is that, once I get home, I take my dogs out for a walk, often on the section between Grandpont and Osney. The path surface on this section is excellent near-road quality, resulting in macho [and macha] idiots hooning along at 20 mph, pinging their bells at anyone who dares slow them down, and round blind spots like the corner by the railway bridge. I really don't understand them - if they're in that much of a hurry why don't they just use the bl oo dy Botley Rd it's quicker! So yes let's encourage cycling on the towpath and an all-weather surface, which incidentally will also benefit pedestrians who don't want to live in wellies, but let's not make it too good or else pedestrians will be intimidated. Sorry to be off-message Floflo but I speak as I find. King Joke

9:50am Fri 20 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

I agree entirely King Joke. I also walk my dog on that stretch and it is like a racetrack. I have had cyclists swearing at me because I have not moved out of their way quick enough. I dread any "improvement" to the towpath as it will encourage some cyclists to go faster. No doubt our Councillors would be happy if the whole of the canal and footpath were to be concreted over.
I agree entirely King Joke. I also walk my dog on that stretch and it is like a racetrack. I have had cyclists swearing at me because I have not moved out of their way quick enough. I dread any "improvement" to the towpath as it will encourage some cyclists to go faster. No doubt our Councillors would be happy if the whole of the canal and footpath were to be concreted over. mytaxes

9:52am Fri 20 Dec 13

Floflo says...

King Joke wrote:
I'm afraid that bicycles are a risk to pedestrians where the towpath is too good.

I speak as one who owns two bikes and uses one to commute daily along the towpath from Folly Bridge to Donnington Bridge or Iffley Lock. I give pedestrians a wide berth and slow down for them.

The irony is that, once I get home, I take my dogs out for a walk, often on the section between Grandpont and Osney. The path surface on this section is excellent near-road quality, resulting in macho idiots hooning along at 20 mph, pinging their bells at anyone who dares slow them down, and round blind spots like the corner by the railway bridge. I really don't understand them - if they're in that much of a hurry why don't they just use the bl oo dy Botley Rd it's quicker!

So yes let's encourage cycling on the towpath and an all-weather surface, which incidentally will also benefit pedestrians who don't want to live in wellies, but let's not make it too good or else pedestrians will be intimidated.

Sorry to be off-message Floflo but I speak as I find.
Good post. I agree with you.

Part of the problem is the poor provision for cyclists on the roads in the first place.

I'm not sure what you mean about off message though. I speak for myself.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: I'm afraid that bicycles are a risk to pedestrians where the towpath is too good. I speak as one who owns two bikes and uses one to commute daily along the towpath from Folly Bridge to Donnington Bridge or Iffley Lock. I give pedestrians a wide berth and slow down for them. The irony is that, once I get home, I take my dogs out for a walk, often on the section between Grandpont and Osney. The path surface on this section is excellent near-road quality, resulting in macho [and macha] idiots hooning along at 20 mph, pinging their bells at anyone who dares slow them down, and round blind spots like the corner by the railway bridge. I really don't understand them - if they're in that much of a hurry why don't they just use the bl oo dy Botley Rd it's quicker! So yes let's encourage cycling on the towpath and an all-weather surface, which incidentally will also benefit pedestrians who don't want to live in wellies, but let's not make it too good or else pedestrians will be intimidated. Sorry to be off-message Floflo but I speak as I find.[/p][/quote]Good post. I agree with you. Part of the problem is the poor provision for cyclists on the roads in the first place. I'm not sure what you mean about off message though. I speak for myself. Floflo

3:52pm Fri 20 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

Walking today on the canal towpath towards Isis lock, I noticed signs from the canal and river trust stating "pedestrian priority" I have not noticed them before and yet,I walk there frequently.
Walking today on the canal towpath towards Isis lock, I noticed signs from the canal and river trust stating "pedestrian priority" I have not noticed them before and yet,I walk there frequently. mytaxes

3:53pm Fri 20 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Good idea - this should be made clear.
Good idea - this should be made clear. King Joke

12:50pm Mon 23 Dec 13

huffer12 says...

Noticed that the stretch where the Council are trying to take possession (by Botley Road Bridge) has been fenced off by the boat owners to make it safer, good idea
Noticed that the stretch where the Council are trying to take possession (by Botley Road Bridge) has been fenced off by the boat owners to make it safer, good idea huffer12

2:05pm Mon 23 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

Huffer12: As far as I know the boat owners are trying to take possession, I wish them good luck as they keep the area clean and tidy at all times and are a problem to know one.
Huffer12: As far as I know the boat owners are trying to take possession, I wish them good luck as they keep the area clean and tidy at all times and are a problem to know one. mytaxes

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