Frideswide Square could become “shared space” between pedestrians and cyclists, transport officials have said.
Oxfordshire County Council is putting together its plans for what the square will look like once it is complete.
The layout of the square, where work is starting on the £5m scheme in September, has already been finalised but the finishing touches – such as the type of paving stone – are still being worked on.
As part of this, the county council has suggested that large parts of the square could be shared between pedestrians and “less confident cyclists”.
In its description of the scheme, the council said: “We believe that the areas highlighted on the plan are sufficiently large to allow cyclists and pedestrians to share them comfortably and safely.
“The areas will have carefully designed paving slabs repeated through them showing cycle and pedestrian symbols.
“These aim to ensure all users realise that cyclists are allowed to be pedalling through.”
The plans will involve creating a large roundabout outside the rail station, along with two mini-roundabouts at the other end of the square in front of the Royal Oxford Hotel.
A series of public open spaces will be created on three sides of the square, which is named after Oxford’s patron saint.
It is through the middle two of these areas that the “shared space” will be created – with pedestrian-only areas to the sides.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “It is to try and make it as easy as possible for people to cycle there.
“We are trying to see what people really feel and what the best possible space you could get out of it is.
“It is one thing to say let’s have lots of shared space, but would we be better off having more of a piazza with the ability to have tables and chairs?
“We are very open-minded about it at the moment.”
Simon Hunt, the chairman of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox, said cyclists tend to feel more at risk on roundabouts.
He said: “Any roundabout is always a concern for cyclists and here we have got three.
“Cyclists will shy away from them.”
Mr Hunt added: “I think the shared space idea is a sensible thing to do as long as there are areas which are designated for pedestrians only, and that should be associated with areas that are for cyclists only.”
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11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
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