Image credit: Jonathan Bewley

Oxfordshire County Council fast-tracks Sustrans project in response to pandemic

Oxfordshire County Council has fast-tracked a scheme at Chilton Road in Upton to make it easier for people to walk and cycle as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary scheme, which will provide more space for people to walk, wheel and cycle and restrict access for motor vehicles, has been introduced using the UK Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund. It has come as the council works with walking and cycling charity Sustrans to find a permanent solution to the high volumes and speed of motor traffic on this section of the National Cycle Network.

Sustrans highlighted Chilton Road, a section of the National Cycle Network route 544, as a priority for improvement during its Paths for Everyone review in 2018.

In 2019, the DfT awarded the charity £177,000 to reduce traffic speeds and volumes on the busy road. Oxfordshire County Council is currently using a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order and water-filled barriers to close the road to motor vehicles. The original 2019 funding award will enable permanent measures to be put in place, and Sustrans will continue to work with the council and the local community to consult on proposals for that permanent solution.

James Cleeton, Sustrans director for the south of England, said: “We’ve worked with Oxfordshire County Council and local residents since 2019 to find solutions to make it easier and safer for people to use this section of the National Cycle Network. So we’re pleased to see the council fast-tracking parts of this project.

“Closing the road to general traffic enables people walking, wheeling and cycling to socially distance and get regular exercise. It will also improve road safety on this part of Route 544. The temporary scheme will help us gain valuable feedback as we consider the longer-term interventions on this road.

“We want to ensure Chilton Road is a safe section of the National Cycle Network, which everyone can enjoy, in line with our vision of Paths for Everyone.”

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