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Delay on Botley Road bike route change
CHANGES to one of Oxford’s most notorious cycling pinch-points have been delayed as a result of proposed changes to the city’s railway station.
However, there are hopes that Network Rail’s plans for the Botley Road rail bridge will lead to a better solution in the long term.
The narrow road under the bridge has been a notorious danger zone for cyclists who have to squeeze past cars.
It was last year branded an “accident blackspot” by cycling campaign group Sustrans.
Oxford City Council included it in its £840,000 programme of road improvements as part of its Cycle City scheme.
This would have meant spending £15,000 on “high priority” changes which could have included moving the central white line to make the lane leading into Oxford wider, allowing a second cycle lane to be introduced.
When the scheme was launched last summer, the council listed Botley Bridge as a “quick win” project, meaning it was supposed to be introduced within a year.
Since then though, Network Rail has pledged to change the bridge so it can take an extra track for a new platform at Oxford station by 2019.
The city council is now putting its scheme on hold in the hope that a redesigned bridge will offer a more effective way of solving the problem. Board member for city development, Colin Cook, said: “What we are hoping for is that the bridge will be widened to allow for the provision of a cycle lane in both directions.
“Clearly, if the bridge is widened we are going to have to wait a bit longer but I suspect it will happen before 2019 anyway.
“They don’t necessarily have to take the bridge down.It is looking extremely positive.”
Richard Mann, of cycling campaign group Cyclox, said: “We understand Network Rail is looking at options which include demolishing it and we would be very supportive of that.
“But there are quite a lot of possibilities for doing something short of knocking it down.”
A subway under the bridge should be considered, he said.
Network Rail spokesman Sam Kelly said Botley Road bridge would be looked at as part of a masterplan that also includes the Frideswide Square redevelopment, currently on hold.