This is my response to the Oxford City Council consultation on improving Botley Road for cyclists and busses…
I live in Abingdon and commute to work on Osney Mead, just off the Botley Road. As often as possible, I cycle into the city from the south and avoid the Botley Road altogether, but there are also occasions when I am a motorist on it. Additionally, I use it to cycle from the industrial estate into the city centre after 5pm on some evenings.
I note the following:
- As a cyclist, I would much prefer on-carriageway cycle facilities along the entire length of Botley Road; ideally with physical barriers separating them from the traffic, like those used on Donnington Bridge. Off-carriageway facilities which share the same level as the pavement are rendered useless as pedestrians are routinely unaware of which half of the space they should confine themselves to. The proposed switch to cyclist priority across junctions is welcome, but in my view this is much better achieved by making cyclists first-class users of the road itself.
- The raised walkways across side roads should be carefully reviewed from a drainage perspective, given Botley Road’s history of severe flooding.
- The reduction of traffic exiting Ferry Hinksey Road to a single lane is undesirable as both a cyclist and a motorist. A majority of traffic turns left from Ferry Hinksey Road, particularly at the end of the working day, and the additional lane allows cyclists to safely overtake that traffic and turn right towards the city centre. Adding a new pedestrian refuge here seems excessive as the timing of the lights presently allows plenty of time for pedestrians to cross, and in any case there is a controlled crossing a short distance into Ferry Hinksey Road. Reducing traffic exiting the industrial estate to one lane will be more dangerous for cyclists as it will create increased congestion and force them to wait longer and breathe more fumes.
Although it is perhaps wider than the scope of this consultation, I note that the key stated goal of encouraging less car use on Botley Road is unlikely to be achieved without more drastic measures – for example, a congestion charge for non-resident travel inside the Oxford ring road. Alternatively, speaking in my motorist persona, I would be much more likely to use the Park and Ride (so far, I never have in ten years of working on Osney Mead) if it either (a) did not charge for both the parking and riding aspects of the journey or (b) had busses which served the industrial estates off Botley Road rather than requiring a ten minute walk through the rain in addition to the bus journey.