Liberal Democrat Councillor John Howson has presented a petition to Oxfordshire County Council concerning safe cycle routes to St Aloysius' School in north Oxford.
I am pleased to present this petition on behalf of the pupils and parents at St Aloysius' School in my division. The petition has been signed by 233 people - 119 on line and 114 on the paper petition. This is a large number for a small primary school.
The petition is to request the extension of the current cycle path on the west side of the Woodstock Road from its present conclusion at Fenchay Road to St Margaret's Road where the school is located.
The current home to school transport policy of this council starts with a recognition that it is better if pupils can either walk or cycle to school. There are obvious health benefits to cycling to school and the secondary school in my division, the Cherwell School, has an enviably high percentage of its pupils that cycle to school each day. Indeed, this council recently improved that cycling experience by painting an additional white line on the Marston Ferry Road cycle path.
This petition calls for the extension southwards of the existing cycle path on the Woodstock Road to a point adjacent to the school gates. At present, the cycle path on the western side of the Woodstock Road ends at Frenchay Road and transfer from a pavement path to an in-road path on the eastern carriageway. This is clearly less safe for primary age children and requires them to cross the busy Woodstock Road twice to reach the school. The crossing is not a Pelican crossing designed to assist cyclists.
The western side of the Woodstock Road is wide enough between French and St Margaret's Roads to accommodate an extension of the cycle path. The extension will clearly encourage more cycling to school and is supported by the school including by the pupils' Eco Council.
I hope that the Cabinet member will consider this petition and be able to support the request as it will encourage cycling and will provide a safer route to school for many children.