As any member of school staff who commutes into Oxford knows, the traffic can be a nightmare. County council transport planners know this and have been looking for ways to reduce congestion on routes into and around the city.
More than 60% of all journeys into Oxford are presently done by car, with the trend of car-dependency likely to continue as more jobs are created by the city’s thriving local economy. This will have an impact on journey times and air quality, which has been identified as a particular health risk around schools.
The county council wants to see fewer cars on the roads so buses can speed up, with new routes created and more space given over to cyclists and pedestrians. That would mean traffic restrictions on routes into Oxford similar to the existing ‘bus gate’ on the High Street.
To fund the improvements, they are considering a ‘levy’ on workplace parking spaces provided by larger employers on the city’s eastern arc (this is an area outside the city centre that links parts of north Oxford, Marston, Headington and Cowley).
The proposed area would include some schools. The county council is particularly interested to hear about striking the balance between improving non-car commuting options for staff, improving air quality near schools and the potential impact of the levy on schools with staff parking. The feedback will be used to develop a detailed project proposal, including a full business case that sets out the costs and benefits of the scheme.
The deadline for submissions is 20th October 2019.