Archive for the ‘Living Streets’ category

Yet Another Proposed Crossing in Bridge Street

July 19th, 2015

Give or take a day or two, it’s precisely a year since we last wrote about a proposed zebra crossing in Bridge Street, and here we are again writing about another one.

 AnotherProposedCrossingInBridgeSt

Last year’s consultation resulted in a decision to go ahead with that crossing – sitting midway between the newsagent and the decorating merchant – in October 2014. The report summarising the scheme cost, proposed position of that crossing, along with the pros and cons, can be found here, and the minutes from the meeting where the decision was made can be found here, including this statement concerning funding:

“Addressing comments received regarding timing of this scheme in relation to other major projects in Witney such as Shores Green and the West End Link [an officer of OCC] advised that as neither scheme had been confirmed delivery was therefore open ended. As a result the 30,000 vehicle daily flow on Bridge Street would remain suggesting a strong case for a scheme to come forward now rather than wait for major schemes to come forward.  Funding for this scheme was available until 2017 and as no decision on other major infrastructure would be taken before then any delay beyond then would mean the finance would be lost.  Also there was no guarantee that other major schemes would significantly reduce flows.”

Apart from the odd way this item appears to be being dealt with (the decision was never subject to a ‘call in’ – item 17 of Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules) you might be forgiven for thinking that the new proposal is in addition to the original crossing because the S106 funding put aside for this is £115k according to page 61 of the local Infrastructure Delivery Plan – we could have two zebras for the price of what was presumably put aside for a signal controlled crossing. (The priority and timescale column may need updating from ‘2014-2019′ to 2014-2017’ given the above statement on funding.)

Page61WOIDP

However, the consultation letter circulated to key stakeholders and local residents makes it clear this is an either/or choice:

“This is an alternative location to the one which was consulted upon last year which provided a link between the Newsagents and Otters Court / Mill Lane. However, due to the level of response in opposition to the crossing at this location, this new location is now being considered.

To help us make a decision whether or not to proceed with this proposal, all comments would be much appreciated both for and against.”

So what are the merits of a crossing on the bridge itself at the very southwestern end of Bridge Street?

Without a similar arrangement across the Mill Street arm, which is also difficult to cross and used more often, it seems beneficial but insufficient in itself for the current and potential pedestrian activity at that location. We note that the Infrastructure Delivery Plan mentions a future ‘refuge’ to make crossing Mill Street slightly easier, however, given the County’s and the District’s fine words on encouraging walking in Witney, we would expect to see a zebra crossing there too. That would get us almost all the way to our proposal for that end of the street which we laid out in last year’s post.

With a pedestrian friendly Mill Street crossing, and as an addition to a crossing at the northeastern end of Bridge Street, how could anyone object to this proposal? Unfortunately, that is not what is being offered here – it’s either this or the proposal from last year. We understand that a zebra crossing adjacent to the mini-roundabout at the Newland/West End junction was considered but discarded in favour of last year’s proposal, so there are no other possible sites on offer for this single, pedestrian friendly crossing in Bridge Street. We also understand that there are no new grounds for objections to the original crossing proposal approved last year.

The consultation results will be considered and a decision made on this new crossing proposal on 3rd of September. If you have a view as a current or future pedestrian on the relative merits between these two crossings in Bridge Street, you have until this Friday 24th July to let the County know. We suggest you send it to the same contact address given here for last year’s consultation.

And finally, Sustainable Witney would like to say thank you to everyone at OCC involved in trying to come up with a viable solution to crossing this most contentious of streets in Witney. It’s much appreciated.

Proposed Crossing in Bridge St

July 17th, 2014

Oxfordshire County Council Consultation: Bridge Street, Witney – Proposed Zebra Crossing

In 2003 three crossings were identified and proposed along Bridge Street in the ‘Witney Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy’, none of which were ever realised, although a pelican crossing in the centre of Bridge Street was consulted on and rejected: possibly because of local objections to the removal of the small amount of available parking there; possibly because of fear of stop-start traffic movements adversely affecting air quality (Bridge Street is one of West Oxon’s two Air Quality Management Areas, the other is in Chipping Norton).

In 2010 the Living Streets Group met to put together a practical proposal to make Bridge Street and the junctions at either end more pedestrian friendly which consisted of zebra crossings at the North end…

BridgeStreetNorthProposed

…and at the South end…

BridgeStreetSouthProposed

Through the West Oxon Sustainable Transport Forum the group were made aware of the Complementary Traffic Measures Study which proposed a number of changes to make the centre of Witney more walkable and bike-able as part of the Cogges Link Road plans and which referred back to the consultation for the pelican crossing:

6.2.12
The consultation suggested three potential crossing locations to several businesses and residents living in the vicinity of Bridge Street. There was strong opposition from local residents to a pedestrian crossing on Bridge Street, with increased vehicle emissions, disruptions to traffic flow and a perceived increase in noise being cited. Recommendations offered by residents included a zebra crossing at either end of Bridge Street, on approach to the junctions with Mill Street and Newland. The report recommended further public consultation and advised new proposals to implement a pedestrian crossing on Bridge Street that would gain local support.

Well, we all know what happened to the CLR, but the Complementary Traffic Measures are just as relevant with the Shores Green Slip Roads and this latest zebra crossing proposal seems to be taken from its recommendations:

Pedestrian Facilities – Bridge Street Recommendations
24. Provide a pedestrian crossing within the existing desire line.
25. Retain parking spaces.

Now, eleven years after the Witney Integrated Transport Strategy, this is the position of the 2014 proposed zebra crossing:

BridgeStreetCrossing2014

It’s not clear how the desire line has been arrived at. Perhaps it’s the point where those people that do cross feel it’s become safe enough to do so when heading into town, or when coming from the Aquarius development in the bottom left of the picture. Given the length of time it’s taken to get another proposal for a crossing on the table it would be ridiculous to oppose it, but it doesn’t resolve the problems at either end of the street for people whose desire lines run elsewhere.

So we say yes to this crossing, but yes to more crossings at the junctions.

In the meantime, problems for people in West End and beyond using the S1 and S2 services could be eased by not forcing them to walk all the way up the hill on Newland to/from the Oxford bound Staple Hall stop.

It’s probably not common knowledge but the National Transport Data Repository gives locations for two bus stops in Bridge Street. If the Oxford bound stop were implemented now, before OCC have finally delivered viable alternatives for the 30,000 vehicles travelling through Bridge Street daily, many people could be saved an unnecessarily long walk. So how about activating one of the bus stops in Bridge Street too?

Don’t forget to respond by 25th July to the Oxfordshire County Council Consultation: Bridge Street, Witney – Proposed Zebra Crossing

Why no 20mph in Witney?

April 4th, 2012

Rodney Rose, the county council cabinet member for transport

From today’s Oxford Mail

…Mr Rose, reacting to a call to impose 20mph limits in Witney, said: “Unless enforced, they are a waste of money.

“It does slow things up a little bit but not as much as an enforced 20mph speed limit would.

“If I got police support for 20mph, I would be much more inclined to put more (20mph limits) in across Oxfordshire. But until it is enforced it is not worth the investment.”

Read the full story with comments from WitneyBUG and 20s Plently for Us here…

New 20mph limits ‘waste of money’ because police won’t enforce them

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Many a True Word…

August 28th, 2011

An Aussie, a Geordie, a Farmer’s Boy from Chippy and a Copper from Yorkshire walk into a club on Corn Street to raise money for Maggies Cancer Caring Centres. It was a scream, but you had to be there. And if you haven’t been there, you really should. Comedy night at Fat Lil’s is a great local night out. Next one’s September 14th, tickets from Rapture in the Woolgate.

I’d never thought about it but I guess it’s no surprise that police work in Scunthorpe is a rich source of stand-up material. I can’t recall all the gags during the evening, but I won’t forget the last.

» Read more: Many a True Word…

What’s The Big Idea?

August 4th, 2011

Most people would like to be more active – so why do so many of us jump in the car when we need to get somewhere? This was the question asked in What’s The Big Idea?, a thought-provoking presentation about the way we travel in town.

Kevin Hickman of Witney Bike User Group (Witney BUG for short) told us that 40% of car journeys in Witney are 5km or shorter, while nearly 25% are less than 2km. Why are nearly a quarter of people getting in their cars to travel distances of less than a mile?

» Read more: What’s The Big Idea?

What’s The Big Idea? – Corn Exchange

June 17th, 2011

Tuesday 21st June at 7:30pm in the Gallery Room of the Corn Exchange.

A presentation this Tuesday at 7:30pm in the Gallery Room of the Corn Exchange by WitneyBUG on cycling in Witney and a discussion about one change that would make it safer to walk and cycle.

Whichever major scheme is chosen to reduce pollution and congestion in the centre of Witney, how can the best outcome be assured for its residents?

Refreshments provided by Sustainable Witney and Living Streets.

What’s the Big Idea?

June 7th, 2011

Adopt a 20mph speed limit in residential areas – Danny Dorling from What One Change on Vimeo.

A Waiting Game

November 28th, 2010

The organisation 20s Plenty For Us says…

“Already nearly 5m residents live in towns which are adopting or have adopted this policy. Most importantly, through democratic debate those communities have decided that “20’s Plenty Where People Live”. And it is those same communities who have then changed their behaviour to drive slower in residential streets and where people walk and cycle.”

So how long do we have to wait before people are put first on the streets of Witney?

» Read more: A Waiting Game

The Road to Hell

November 27th, 2010

I’ve heard Danny Dorling talk twice now on how choosing to limit the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is beneficial to the quality of life for all. Great graphics bringing to life the facts and figures of his subject, Human Geography, and the juxtaposition of what are seemingly unconnected statistics make for entertaining presentations. If only I’d known how interesting geogger’s could be.

Now he’s applying it to road safety, and this lecture he gave in Westminster to the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety gives a compelling reason for introducing 20mph and for reordering the priority of people and vehicles.

» Read more: The Road to Hell

The Sustainable Bookshelf

September 8th, 2010

Meetings on transport tend to be dominated by male engineers and planners, with a focus on figures, discussing the minutiae of inscribed circle diameters and junction capacities. Monday morning in the University Club on Mansfield Road felt very different. Could sociology departments across the country be about to rescue Britain from the hash we’re making of a seemingly inevitable cycling revolution? Let’s hope so.

The 7th Cycling and Society Symposium was far more balanced from a gender perspective, in fact three papers were presented on that particular topic, and a day looking at the cycle’s place in society and the built environment made for a refreshing change.

» Read more: The Sustainable Bookshelf

20’s Plenty For Us

August 30th, 2010

Living Streets Meeting, The Plough

August 18th, 2010

Calling all pedestrians, and those who may be feeling like third class citizens in some parts of our congested town. Come along to the next Living Streets meeting at The Plough in Witney on Tuesday 24th at 8pm to see what we can do to improve conditions for those of us going about Witney by foot.

Our current campaigns are to draw up a proposal for Oxfordshire County Council on how Bridge Street could be improved for pedestrians and to work towards getting 20mph implemented here in Witney.

Living Streets is a national charity, you can find more information about it here: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk

Let me know if you can come.

Living Streets

June 7th, 2010

Witney Living Streets are holding their next meeting at The Plough in Witney onWednesday  9th June 7-9pm. We will be discussing 20mph in Witney and how we can move this on.  We also want to see if we can start a campaign to make Bridge Street more pedestrian friendly.

Witney Living Streets was founded in 2009 and so far we have campaigned to get the crossing reinstated on Welch Way and we ran an event to highlight World Car Free Day on 22nd September 2009.

If you are interested in joining us please come along on Wednesday and let us work together to prioritise pedestrian needs in Witney.

Living Streets is a national charity working towards making streets more pleasant for pedestrians.

Marriotts Crossing

March 18th, 2010

Living Streets met with representatives of Oxfordshire County Council on Welch Way this morning to discuss the missing crossing. Prior to Welch Way being closed at the start of building work, a pelican crossing existed opposite what is now the entrance to the new shopping centre. On completion of the work the crossing had vanished.

Picture from original Witney Gazette article

» Read more: Marriotts Crossing

Where’s Our Crossing?

January 11th, 2010

The Witney Branch of Living Streets are lobbying the County Council for a pedestrian friendly crossing in Welch Way. Here’s the report in the Witney Gazette.