Plans to cut pavements for new London Road bus lane spark concerns

Oxford Mail: Roz Smith in London Road Buy this photo Roz Smith in London Road

PEDESTRIANS and cyclists in Headington have warned altering pavements will put them in danger.

More than 100 people packed out a public meeting on Wednesday to voice concerns about plans to cut the pavements’ width to make way for a new bus lane.

Transport bosses want to add a new inbound bus lane in London Road from the Green Road roundabout to the junction with Gladstone Road.

Residents at the Headington Community Centre meeting heard trees could be chopped down to make space.

One and a half metres would be cut from pavements on both sides of the road and a cycle lane would also be axed.

Cyclists would instead be forced to use the bus lane.

London Road resident Maria Garrard said: “This is a road which has a lot of children, young people and families using it.

“What we don’t want to lose is a lot of pavement.

“Why are we going to cut up footpaths and make it more awkward for families that live there?”

County council transport bosses claim the project will improve access to the city centre and Headington.

They say the project will reduce traffic and improve public transport.

The scheme is part of a wider £5m Oxfordshire County Council project to boost transport links in the area.

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It also includes increasing the number of parking spaces at Thornhill Park and Ride by 500 before April.

County council highways officer Owen South and Sean Hatton of Oxford City Council attended.

Mr South said: “It is a very difficult area and there are no easy options. The problem I have been given is to look at how we can improve bus priority.

“Motorists are one of the groups who wouldn’t lose out from this proposal.”

He added: “I’m not interested in pushing a scheme through and not listening to what everyone says.”

County councillor Roz Smith said: “London Road is one of the most important roads into Oxford city.

“Nothing has actually been decided yet. We want to ensure that residents still have a large footpath to themselves.

“Motorists, bus users and cyclists want to be reassured that they are going to be able to get safely along the London Road as well.”

A formal consultation will be held in March.

Feedback from the meeting will be passed to the county council’s cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose.

He was last night unavailable for comment.

County council spokesman Sam Henry said: “We will take account of the views ex-pressed at last night’s informal meeting in our work on the project.”

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