Recycling Our Cities
MANN R, Oxford Friends of the Earth, UK
This paper has grown out of our experience of providing for cyclists in Oxford. Oxford is a flee-standing city of approximately 120,000 people. It is the major employment centre of the'county, with a large number commuting in every day, primarily by bus.
This paper has grown out of our experience of providing for cyclists in Oxford. Oxford is a flee-standing city of approximately 120,000 people. It is the major employment centre of the'county, with a large number commuting in every day, primarily by bus. Twenty-five years ago, the proposal to build an inner relief road through Christchurch Meadow was abandoned, and the "balanced transport policy" adopted instead. The primary feature of this has been that no new roads have been built in the city centre, nor are ever likely to be. The main effect is that traffic levels have been stable. A range of measuras have tried to promote cycling and the bus, but with limited effect.
The political situation has been confused by there being two local authorities: the City Council and the County Council. The County Council is the Highways Authority, and makes decisions about the use of the main roads. The City Council has an agency agreement to look after all the other roads within the city boundary. The County places more emphasis on the needs of those from outside Oxford who need to travel in. The City places more emphasis on the poor environment that its citizens have to put up with. There is inevitably some tension between the two authorities.
The City Council has for many years sought the views of local cycling groups through co-opting them onto a sub-committee of its Highways Committee. This has allowed an ongoing dialogue between councillors, officers and local cyclists as to how best to provide for cycling. The objective can be described quite simply: to have Dutch levels of cycling, but without having to spend large amounts of money. The result is a strategy for cycling that is largely as described in this paper.
This paper goes on to describe how such a cycling strategy can be the viable basis for a sustainable transport policy, for Oxford and for other cities.
Association for European Transport