Oxfordshire County Council’s ‘Connecting Oxford’ proposals, announced in autumn 2019, plan to implement five traffic restrictions and a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) in East Oxford. The proposals aim to prevent private vehicles travelling through the city centre and generate much needed transport funding to invest in Oxford’s ailing transport network.
The University supports the Connecting Oxford proposals and their objectives to improve connectivity, tackle transport carbon emissions and reduce air pollution, but does not think they go far enough and that a more radical package of benefits to underpin the traffic restraint measures is needed. The detailed University response to the proposals made in December 2019 was developed after engagement across the wider University community, including staff, students, departments, colleges and contractors, during Michaelmas Term 2019. This repeated previous statements to the Local Authorities and the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission on the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor that the University’s priorities for transport are:
- transformational investment in Oxford’s First-Last Mile network i.e. the walking, cycling, bus, rail and road links that connect our staff living in outlaying settlements such as Witney, Bicester, Kidlington, Abingdon and Didcot with their jobs in Oxford;
- the urgent need to improve the safety and experience of walking and cycling to and within Oxford; and
- A new rail link between Oxford and Cambridge.
The County have now allocated £1.6m to develop the scheme to a full business case for submission to Government in 2021, following further consultation with the public and key stakeholders during 2020. We will be working with County & City over the next year and a half to ensure the University’s interests are protected and enhanced going forward.