Statement welcoming Oxfordshire County Council's £2.9m of investment in urgent travel recovery plans
“We have been working closely with the County Council since lockdown began to implement proposals for urgently upgrading cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
“As strong supporters of the early introduction of bus gates in Oxford, we are pleased to see the County Council talking about funding this measure urgently. By stopping people cutting through the centre to get from one side of Oxford to another, we can reallocate road space in the centre to cyclists and walkers, and ensure our bus services run on time.
“We have also been proposing dramatic changes to the city centre such as the pedestrianisation of Broad Street. It would be fantastic for Oxford to have a central square to rival other European cities and for that square to be one with so many architectural beauties.
“A third of Oxfordshire’s workforce is based in Oxford; Oxford plays a disproportionately large economic role in the county. While the Government tells people not to use public transport, it is vitally important for our efforts to restart Oxfordshire’s economy that we rapidly make changes to Oxford’s transport network to encourage more people to walk and cycle into and around the city, while also maintaining social distancing.
“Indeed, Oxford’s businesses, hospitals, universities, and charities – making up many of Oxfordshire’s largest employers – have been saying that Oxford urgently needs these changes. The clock is ticking to make these changes and help reopen Oxfordshire's economy in as safe a way as possible and we look forward to working with County to help make them happen.
“Oxford has seen a 65% reduction in toxic air pollution since the lockdown began, and – for the health of everyone who lives in, works in and visits Oxford city centre – it is vital that we maintain this historic reduction. We should never go back to the air in Oxford city centre being poisonous."
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford