VAST changes to a key route in and out of Oxford could be begin next spring, the county council has said.

The council is looking to spend £9.1m along the Botley Road corridor to ensure it flows better for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Residents were given the first opportunity to give their views about the potential changes at a packed consultation yesterday, with more events to follow.

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Botley Road resident Carol Phillips said change was desperately needed.

She said: “I would like anything they could do to improve it. It’s not safe.”

She added that some cyclists were so worried turning right out of the Waitrose supermarket on Botley Road that they turn left, head towards the city centre before turning off further down the road and riding back on themselves.

Oxfordshire County Council’s project manager, Parminder Sekhon, said: “We’re trying to provide a facility for cyclists, pedestrians and bus users. At the moment, with the cycle lane and footways, they criss-cross and there’s a lot of confusion.

Oxford Mail:

“We are trying to make the road users more aware of space.”

‘Elephant feet’ markings will be used at the side of some of the cycle paths, encouraging motorists and cyclists to stay in their respective lanes.

Millions will be spent changing utilities under the paths in what will be the council’s next major roads plan in Oxford following the £14.5m Access to Headington project.

The first consultation event yesterday was held at the West Oxford Community Centre in Botley Road.

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Susanna Pressel, Labour city and county councillor for Jericho and Osney, was among those who attended.

She said: “It’s good that they’re doing something because we need to get people out of their cars and taking the bus, walking and cycling because that’s the only way to improve air quality.”

The council’s leader Ian Hudspeth previously told cycling expert Andrew Gilligan in his report, Running Out of Road, that the county council was ‘prepared to be bold’.

That analysis, completed on behalf of the National Infrastructure Commission, was released last year.

Oxford Mail:

A county council vision of some of the works planned for Botley Road.

In it, Mr Gilligan said Oxford needed £150m of funding to bring its cycling network up to scratch. Just £25m would be needed to bring Cambridge and Milton Keynes up to required standards, he said.

Mr Gilligan was critical of the quality of crossings in Oxford and the council’s adoption of ‘shared spaces’ for cyclists and pedestrians.

Many of those will be replaced as part of the Botley Road plan – with Cumnor resident Sam Callard supportive.

He also said ideas for ‘floating bus stops’ – which look to separate cyclists and pedestrians from people waiting for buses – were ‘really good’.

READ MORE: Cycling in Oxford needs £150m improvements, says government report

The council said Botley Road was recognised ‘as being a very slow route in and out of the city centre, facing daily congestion problems and poor journey experiences for all road users’.

The council proposes side road entry treatments for many crossings. These would be a raised bump of coloured bricks showing road users that it is part of a bike path. A similar path has already been installed in Marston Street, East Oxford, at its junction with Iffley Road.

Yesterday’s was the first consultation event of three being run by the council. Another will be held on Saturday, again at the West Oxford Community Centre. That will start at 10.30am and end at 2.15pm.

Oxford Mail:

A county council vision of some of the works planned for Botley Road.

The final consultation event will be held from 4pm until 7pm at Seacourt Hall, also off Botley Road, next Wednesday.

In Mr Gilligan’s report, he was scathing of how Oxford’s roads made life difficult for cyclists.

He wrote: “Despite the huge numbers of cyclists using them, Oxford’s main roads and junctions are still laid out almost entirely for the benefit of the motor vehicle.

“They look little or no different from the roads of a typical British city where almost nobody cycles. One council officer, though quite pro-cycling, still spoke of providing cycle facilities where they could be “fitted in” to the roads.”

Throughout the UK, just Cambridge has a greater share of its population cycling to and from work and school every day.