By Alison Hill

The informal consultation on Connecting Oxford finishes on Sunday this week (20th October) so get your responses in fast. Your voice is needed to counter the vocal opposition that there will be.

This proposal takes a giant step and it needs the support of all who are in favour of reducing the dominance of motor traffic, which impacts in so many negative ways on this wonderful city. No more of the little minor tweaks that make a nod to walking and cycling, but a recognition of the fact that to actually reduce motor traffic radical change has to happen.

Public opinion on two radical proposals are being tested. One is the creation of traffic control points, aka bus gates, to prevent private and commercial vehicles travelling across the city, but which allow access to buses (like the High St and Magdalen St East currently). The second is the workplace parking levy covering the eastern arc, which will fund the creation of bus services that make journeys cheaper, simpler and faster than alternatives, connecting towns outside the city to the sites of major employment in the east of the city.

You can find the survey by searching “Connecting Oxford Consultation”. You can say as much or as little as you want. It shouldn’t take you much time. If you are wondering how to respond, then read further for ideas.

The first thing is…. Say, yes the proposal is great, you support it and congratulations on taking this amazing and courageous step. The only way to tackle the blight of congestion, air pollution and the climate crisis is by reducing the numbers of cars and the number of miles travelled on Oxford’s over busy roads. Implemented in full these proposals should have a dramatic effect on the numbers of cars travelling through and around the city, and also on the health of the population of Oxford, by increasing active travel. And the streets of Oxford can be freed of the blight of stationary traffic, and their beauty revealed again.

You might also think that the proposals are brilliant, but they could go further. If so why not ask for more. Those of us using bikes want to see reallocation of space away from motor vehicles and given over to cycling and walking. There is little in the proposals that says how that will happen. So add into your response that you see this as a move to free up the roads and please follow this up with a plan for continuous comprehensive network for cycling. Another ask is to make the whole city 20mph, as when there is less traffic it will go faster, and make the roads more dangerous for those on foot and bike.

Responding in this way will add to the voices of support to the councils. Tell them to hold their nerves. They have taken the first tentative step and need your encouragement to take much bigger ones. Shout YEEESSSS!