King George’s Playing Field Cycle Improvements - FAQs
Why is a path needed here?
A series of Quiet Connector Active Travel routes have been planned across Oxford to allow residents to walk, cycle and using other forms of active travel away from busy main roads. This scheme improves active travel journeys from Lamarsh Road to Willow Walk.
It ties in and strategically connects with routes OX24/25 and OX23 on the Oxford Cycle and Walking Network for LCWIP.
The new path, designed for both pedestrians and cyclists, will provide a direct, convenient and visually pleasing off road connection between Botley and the City Centre from the South.
Conflict between pedestrians and cyclists
A three metre-wide unsegregated shared-use connecting path is proposed. This will provide sufficient width to reduce the potential for conflict between cyclist and pedestrians. The provision meets current standards and guidance on new cycle provision.
The path is likely to attract a wide range of users, including dog walkers, families, and visitors to the city, all naturally wanting to explore or view the area along the path.
Comments during the public consultation were received regarding the shared use of the path.
Segregating the path into separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists would result in a wider path that would be more visually intrusive, more impactful on the ecology of the site and involve more materials and associated carbon. It would also be difficult to enforce the segregation.
The legal status of even a segregated footway and cycleway is that pedestrians can use both sides. We want to avoid the potential perception that cyclists have right of way, which may increase cycle speeds and give the impression to pedestrians that the cycleway is an area not permitted for their use.
A “shared” provision is likely to provide a more flexible space in terms of self-enforcement of appropriate speeds at busy times, i.e., people walking across the full width of the path may help prevent cyclists dominating the space.
There is currently no lighting at King Georges Field and no plans to include lighting within the proposals. This will have the least possible environmental impact. This was mentioned by several respondents during consultation as a reason for not including lighting. However, there are positive benefits from including some form of reflectors alongside the new path. Stantec and ODS have proposed bat friendly florescent solar stud lighting and Oxford City Council have agreed these can be installed as part of the scheme.
Impact on Ecology and Trees
Impacts on habitat and species on the site have been considered during the development of the path design to minimise disruption to habitats in the field. An ecology walkover survey was completed on 30 November 2022.
The location of the path has been sited along existing desire lines and away from the area that has the best quality habitats and trees.
The scheme minimises ecology impacts and no trees will be felled.
During the construction works, appropriate working practices will be implemented to avoid harm to protected species.
Due to the sensitive nature of the site, it was felt that the path should follow existing desire lines as it crosses the King Georges Field.
Comments were received in the public consultation regarding flooding. Despite recent flooding, it is expected that the formal path will be more resilient if and when flooding occurs at King George’s Field in the future. The design of the path ensures the impacts of flooding will not be increased by the works. The new path will be constructed of porous material and will have a cross fall matching the existing ground so that the path itself should avoid puddling.
Upon completion of the path, the path will become the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council for upkeep and maintenance. The design of the path has been deliberately considered to support the ease of maintenance.
Funding has been secured from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal Funding, for which the County Council is the accountable body. This funding was awarded to the Oxford City Council to support the delivery of Quiet Connector shared cycle routes.