SCHOOL travel time has increased by up to an hour since a new traffic calming scheme was implemented.

In March of this year, Oxfordshire County Council began a trial of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood [LTN] in Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park.

The controversial scheme includes putting planters or barriers on particularly streets to stop through-flow traffic.

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The council has now proposed a plan for another LTN trial in East Oxford – affecting St Mary’s, St Clements and Divinity Road.

Results from their month-long consultation revealed that the council’s Special Education Needs transport team raised concerns about the time it was taking children to get to school since the Cowley LTN was introduced.

During the meeting, which took place at a stakeholder workshop last month, the team said current travel routes to school were taking an hour.

Recommended journey times on school transport for primary school pupils is 45 minutes, and 75 minutes for secondary school pupils.

The Special Education Needs team said this has resulted in children causing physical harm to themselves or others – the team attributed this to increased journey times which heightened anxiety.

It said consequently children are not arriving at school well enough to access education.

The council said traffic flows continue to be monitored to see whether the increased journey times are attributed to the LTNs or another factor.

The report also highlighted that pick-up and drop-off from residential addresses is required, given complexities and needs of students, and the LTN filters is a ‘major problem and cause of delays’.

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Drivers and passengers also reported experiences of receiving abuse when they had to stop and load around LTN blockages.

Attendees from St Frideswide Primary School, and St Gregory the Great Secondary School, both on Cricket Road, also joined the workshop.

As a result of concerns around access to the school sites, for both pupils and teachers, the council has identified Howard Street [a road where a traffic filter is planned for the East Oxford LTN] is a key route for access.

The schools said they had already been impacted by the Cowley LTN trial, particularly by the filter on Rymers Lane.

Schools raised concerns that further reduction in access will cause delays, students being late to class and have an impact on assessing education.

The council will be investigating these issues.

The results of the consultation revealed that the majority of respondents did not support the scheme.

However, of those residents living within the East Oxford area, the majority fully supported the trial of the LTNs.