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‘We’ll need £50m to make city’s key cycle routes safer’
IT could cost more than £50m to make improvements to Oxford’s top 10 cycling blackspots, city council leader Bob Price has estimated. The councillor is calling for more support from the Government to move the city’s proposed cycle schemes forward and says the council will bid for money if it is invited to.
He says while Oxford was given £835,000 from the Government to improve The Plain – one of the city’s most notorious blackspots – other cities were given considerably more.
The call follows the revelation in Thursday’s Oxford Mail of the top 10 cycling blackspots in the city that include Cowley Road, High Street, Banbury Road, Woodstock Road and Abingdon Road.
Mr Price said: “Greater Manchester got £20m, Birmingham got £17m, Norwich £4m and Cambridge £4m. It just illustrates the lack of priority given to Oxford.”
He said: “We are aware there are blackspots but the funding available is relatively small.”
On what would be needed to be spent on each of the blackspots for the most comprehensive safety measures, Mr Price said: “I would say if you are trying to make these routes safer, we need £4m or £5m on each.”
He added: “I think all the small measures that we have undertaken as the county have helped.
“But as the figures show it is a significant problem.
“It will cost around £50m to make the network of cycle lanes entirely safe.”
In July, the Oxford Mail revealed that only three of nearly 60 projects have started since the launch of the £840,000 four-year ‘cycling city’ scheme.
City council spokeswoman Eva Oliver last night said there was no update on the progress of these projects.
Included in the scheme are £60,000 improvements to Cowley Road and Oxford Road between Magdalen Road and Oxford Business Park and £15,000 on safety improvements to the Botley Road rail bridge.
Cyclist Kevin Moreland, co-owner of Walton Street Cycles in Jericho, said: “What price can you put on someone’s safety?
“Cowley Road is probably where money is best spent and on Botley bridge.”
James Styring, chairman of Cyclox, said: “It is something that should be prioritised. The city and the county need to work together on this.”
County councillor David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member for transport, said of the accident statistics: “That is really something we have got to address and work out how to deal with it. It is a question of looking for money.”
- Cowley Road: £60k improvements to Cowley Road and Oxford Road between Magdalen Road and Oxford Business Park
- High Street: The county council wants to install hybrid cycle lanes which are wider than normal lanes and allow cyclists to go both ways at the eastern end of High Street and over Magdalen Bridge.
- Banbury Road: £3kto improve Woodstock Road and Banbury Road junction for cyclists – would need an appropriate redesign.
- Woodstock Road: £80k improvements to Woodstock Rd route south of Bainton Rd - extend pavement cycle track south of Frenchay Road
- Botley Road: £15k safety improvements to the Botley Road rail bridge to enhance useability of the road under the rail bridge by the station. £2k addressing “conflict points” on Botley Road
- London Road: The county council has introduced stretches of bus and cycle lane on London Road and Headington Road as well as other traffic calming measures.
- The Plain: Funding for the near £1m scheme has been confirmed including narrowing lanes and widening pavements.
- Abingdon Road: Proposals estimated to cost £20k to remove pedestrian refuges and replace with zebra crossings to free up road space for the provision of inbound cycle lane and provision of road cycle by-pass of traffic lights at Weirs Lane.
- Iffley Road: New cycle lanes costing £50k completed.
- B480 Oxford Road: Improvements to Cowley Road as above.
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