THE CITY has been divided over a new traffic scheme.

Earlier this month Oxfordshire County Council implemented a Low Traffic Neighbourhood [LTN] in the Cowley area as part of a six-month trial.

Read also: The LTNs 'have me losing out financially' 

While some residents feel they are reaping the rewards of the new scheme with quieter and safer streets, others are angry and concerned that their morning commute will take longer, cost more money and increase congestion on other main roads.

A supporter of the LTNs, Ian Grierson, who lives in Temple Cowley said: “I am a driver, a cyclist, and a walker.

Read also: Low Traffic Neighbourhood 'played no part' in man's death, says ambulance service

“I certainly have no axe to grind against motor cars – but not every single road will be cut off, they will be accessible.

“Yes, some vehicles will need to do three-point turns but that’s a small price to pay for reduced traffic in the area.”

Rob Haynes who lives near Florence Park echoed the view that only small changes need to be made to make the scheme a success.

He said: "I love the LTNs here and in other places I've seen them.

Read here: Cowley LTNs: 'The benefits outweigh the inconvenience'

"They don't stop anyone from driving anywhere, they just make some car journeys slightly longer, and that's a significant part of my journey, it's probably one I better not be driving."

Other residents have said the scheme has made the area much 'more liveable' and urging the council to maintain the system even after the trial period.

Sandy Ruxton, in a letter to county councillor Yvonne Constance, said: "I deliver free meals by bike across OX4 for the scheme run by Flo's and ArkT.

"My round is so much easier, healthier and more pleasurable since the filters were put in.

"The air feels clearer, the danger from close passing cars and lorries is greatly reduced, birdsong can be heard, and I see more people walking and cycling on the streets: in short, it's a joy."

Read also: Over 100 show up to virtual debate on Cowley's LTN

The council placed planters and boulders on particular roads to stop 'rat-runs in Florence Park, Church Cowley, and Temple Cowley.

Brian Fahy is a resident that lives on one of the rat-runs between Florence Park and Church Cowley; he said he has seen a positive impact since the scheme began.

He said: "I have seen the effect of cars driving between two perimeter roads at 10-20 miles above the speed limit.

"This has a knock-on effect of safety for myself, my partner, and my children."

Mr Fahy's daughter was hit by a speeding hit-and-run driver and fortunately recovered.

He added: "I support all methods of traffic calming when they are implemented in a thoughtful, considerate and clear manner."

But not all residents are convinced - a petition to stop the LTN scheme in both Cowley and Littlemore has now received over 1,700 signatures.

Daniel Stafford, who created the petition, said: “I started the petition because this is already having a negative impact on the quality of life of Littlemore residents. It is only going to get worse. We do not disagree with the need to care for our city and planet, but we do insist that the cost of this specific measure is falling unfairly and disproportionately upon Littlemore residents.

“These are not ‘rat-runs’ for Littlemore residents – they are vital link roads to connect us to the rest of Oxford, and not least to our local hub in Cowley centre.”

Other residents against the scheme have said that a life without cars in the 21st century is unrealistic.

Ravi Sundar, who lives in Church Cowley, said: "Cars are part of everyone's life in the modern age and they are not going away no matter what, people like the independence that travelling by car brings.

"It is a harsh reality that the pro-LTN brigade has to accept."

He also expressed concerns about increased congestion and commuters having to drive further miles each day.

Read here: Petition to remove Cowley's LTNs gains over 1,000 signatures

Mr Sundar said: “Yes, some areas have had rat-running, but in this plan we are funnelling in each area around 400 households of car journeys in and out through single junctions of streets where people are living.

“Displacing traffic to perimeter roads and junctions in and out creates extra mileage and congestion which must negate any environmental gains made by people choosing to walk or cycle.

“By artificially manufacturing congestion, caught up is the disabled, elderly, carers, trades – anyone who relies on a car to maintain their quality of life or employment they have been treated as If they are collateral damage for the ‘greater good’ of active travel.”

Suresh Kumar, who owns The Kumars at No.39 newsagent on Crescent Road, said although he initially supported the scheme as he wants the roads and residential area to be safe for locals, as he believes ‘residents’ safety should always come first’, he is becoming more concerned about the effect the LTN might have on his business.

The LTN in the area affecting Mr Kumar’s store was implemented last week, however, by the Friday he was already seeing a 40 per cent dip in his usual sales - he hopes if the LTN does remain in place that residents will continue to support his business.

Read here: Locals come out in support of Cowley's LTNs as row rages on

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: "Oxfordshire County Council consulted on the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in Church Cowley, Florence Park and Temple Cowley in December 2020.

"All statutory consultees including the emergency services were informed of the plans for the LTN in the Cowley area.

"An LTN is an area where motor traffic is prevented from taking short cuts through a residential area by traffic blocks.

"This creates quieter streets where residents can feel safer and more comfortable when making local journeys by bus, bike or on foot as we recover from the pandemic and into the future. LTNs also offer a real chance for residents to adopt active, green lifestyles."

Over 1000 residents responded to the council's consolation with the majority supporting the proposed scheme.

The spokesperson added: "The LTN does not prevent access to properties or businesses but may require slight changes in route."

After the six-month trial period is over, the council may decide to extend the experiment for another 12 months before deciding whether to make the scheme permanent, amend it or cancel it.

If you would like to provide your own feedback on the LTN trial, visit

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