Plans to improve cycling and walking provision across Oxfordshire received a welcome boost today after the Department for Transport (DFT) confirmed almost £3 million worth of active travel funding for the county.
The successful bid submitted by Conservative-led Oxfordshire County Council will see the delivery of 5 active travel schemes – three in Oxford City, one in Witney, and one in Bicester.
This is the second tranche of DFT funding and builds upon the £600,000 already spent on interim active travel measures in the summer which included new cycle parking provision in Banbury and Bicester town centres, improvements to cycle lane markings in the Easington area of Banbury plus the Middleton Road and Warwick Road, and on Middleton Stoney Road, Bucknell Road, Shakespeare Drive and Sheep Street in Bicester, additional cycle parking at Bicester Park and Ride and increased grass cutting and vegetation clearance on key cycle routes.
This latest grant saw Oxfordshire being awarded 25% more than its indicative allocation and the 6th highest local authority total in the country.
The Council now intends to move forward with their 5 projects which will reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians and create safe environments for walking and cycling.
The proposed Bicester scheme aims to better connect the west of the town and the expanding Kingsmere development with the town centre with improved pedestrian and cycle facilities along Middleton Stoney Road, Oxford Road, Kings End, and Causeway to help increase the number of journeys residents make by bike or on foot. It will be subject to further funding from Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and a full consultation with residents.
Bicester Conservatives said: “Today’s funding announcement is great news for Bicester. We know that residents are keen to adopt healthier – and greener – travel habits. We have already supported several successful initiatives to encourage more walking and cycling locally including the popular 5k health routes or “blue lines” and the Dr Bike servicing scheme.
The County Council has also recently approved the Bicester Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan – an ambitious set of proposals to improve cycling and walking networks within the town, including links to nearby villages, which aims to double the number of sustainable trips locally from around 15,000 a day to 30,000.
The proposed Oxford Road / Kings End scheme will help make cycling and walking journeys from the west and southwest of the town easier and safer, reduce congestion and improve air quality in the area. We encourage residents to participate in the consultation when it opens.”