A partially sighted woman has accused the county council of overlooking the needs of disabled residents with a controversial traffic scheme.

The 90-year-old resident, who uses taxis, described how trips to medical appointments have become even more exhausting, and more expensive. Since the East Oxford LTNs mean she can no longer take the old route.

She told Lye Valley city councillor Linda Smith the traffic-calming measures have drastically increased her journey time to vital hospital appointments.

Oxford Mail: Lye Valley city councillor Linda Smith

A decision on whether the trial East Oxford LTNs will be made permanent will be made by the council's cabinet on October 17.

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In a letter shared on Twitter/X by Cllr Smith, her constituent writes: "Previously to get to the JR it would be Iffley Road, Magdalen Road, Divinity Road. Now it’s The Plain, St Clement’s and Headington Hill or the ring road.

"Taxi firms charge more per mile on the ring road.

"My next eye hospital appointment is at 1.30pm so I will be leaving the hospital after 3.30pm.

"St Clement’s will be at a standstill as all connecting side roads between St Clement’s, Cowley Road and Iffley Road are blocked so all traffic has to go to The Plain. Alternatively, The Slade, Hollow Lane which is always congested.

"Or I pay more to sit in taxis in a queue of traffic on the ring road so a smug county councillor can pretend he is saving the planet when he is causing more pollution."

She adds: "I expect LTNs will become permanent as the county can do what it likes in Oxford city."

Cllr Linda Smith said she posted about this case because it is "representative of the stories I hear from many, many residents on the doorstep in Lye Valley".

She said they "are tearing their hair out at the fact their regular journeys to access services or for work, child care or other responsibilities now involve driving further on more heavily congested roads. 

"The botched installation of the LTNs by the county council has created winners and losers. 

"Some people are benefiting from quieter streets but residents in Lye Valley are suffering from increased traffic on boundary roads which makes moving around the city by car or by bus much more difficult."

Cllr Smith's post received huge support on social media.

Christopher Boulle said: "I am partially disabled and cannot walk for nor ride a bicycle any longer alas. I too have the same problem as this person who wrote to you. I live in Littlemore."

Dr Michelle Castelletti agreed: "The whole city is blocked and the most marginalised are the most vulnerable and/or the most in need. 

Oxford Mail:

"It’s a foolish (not brave) move to try to make change without an infrastructure in place."

Emma Gascoigne replied: "Heard of a lot of older people with similar issues and it is heartbreaking. And also people sitting in buses for hours because of the LTN traffic, which is daft as buses are the long-term answer!"

Tim Spanner said a blue badge holder exemption for all proposed ANPR LTNS "is the minimum Oxfordshire County Council must do."

He said Islington, Haringey and Lewisham have set the "precedent on this, so why the need to discriminate against the vulnerable here?"

The three low-traffic neighbourhoods in east Oxford were implemented in the in Divinity Road, St Clement's, and St Mary's areas in May 2022 as part of a trial.

The scheme covering Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park was first introduced as part of a trial in March 2021 and made permanent in July 2022.

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An Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson said: "The future of east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet on October 17.

Oxford Mail:

"This will include the decision on whether to continue with the LTNs.

"If the decision is to retain the LTNs, the cabinet will also decide whether to implement automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) enforcement and associated exemptions as well as other changes."

A city council spokesperson said black cabs should not increase the charge for going on the ring road. Private hire operators set their own fares and these are available for the public to view.

"The overall fare could be higher when using the ring road due to the additional mileage compared to the city route," he said.