I NEARLY choked on my muesli last Friday morning at the sight of the Oxford Mail headline: “New bus route planned over nature reserve and golf course”.

The story highlights the county council’s desperation to keep public transport moving in the face of chronic congestion caused by cars, deliveries and buses.

The plan is part of a council consultation about county-wide transport and it’s open until April 2.

There’s a natty map of the county’s major links drawn as an underground map at tinyurl.com/Oxon-Underground-Map.

Allowing buses to drive from the Churchill Hospital to Hollow Way makes absolute sense purely in terms of the bus network, but that the route would take buses through Lye Valley nature reserve and across Oxford City golf course is preposterous. You can view a PDF of the route and other ideas at tinyurl.com/Oxon-CC-Eastern-Arc.

Lye Valley is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an important lung close to the city centre. Cycling or walking across Warneford Meadow, by Boundary Brook and through Lye Valley, it is easy to imagine you are miles away, in a bucolic countryside valley.

Luckily, Lye Valley and the golf course have steep slopes, so I can’t see the route ever going ahead.

What would be great, of course, would be to have official cycle routes through the valley and across the golf course, connecting Cowley with the hospitals without destroying local ecology.

I’ve always cycled those paths and they are wonderful.

Their plans are divided into three sections: 2015-20, 2020-25 and 2025+.

The “Active Travel” section doesn’t have anything for cyclists to get excited about until 2025+, when there is talk of “super premium cycle routes and segregated feeder routes” whatever that means. Let’s hope when the council does get round to asking Cyclox, there’s time to design schemes that really benefit cyclists, unlike at The Plain or Frideswide Square.

The “Mass Transit” section is the usual thrall to buses. Why on earth do they spend all this time and money on buses when cycling offers so much more for so much less?

The ballsiest and most significant section of the consultation is “Managing traffic and travel demand” with a workplace parking levy pencilled in from 2020.

Hallelujah! After half a century of car-worship and deification of maximised traffic flows, finally we are talking sense.

Removing the destination removes the journey, simple as that. With proper cycle/bus alternatives there is no need for the tens of thousands of private parking spaces. The levy could significantly reduce demand for parking and this scheme to divert buses through a nature reserve would be as unnecessary as it is unacceptable.