Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats

City Lib Dems say Labour Council must go further on sustainable travel

The Oxford City Liberal Democrats have published a response to the Labour-run City Council's suggestions for traffic:

Labour city councillor Alex Hollingsworth calls for a range of measures to preserve some of the new-found tranquillity of our streets.

Liberal Democrat councillors have already called on the city and county to follow government encouragement and introduce new cycle lanes and wider pedestrian spaces while there is less traffic. One-way streets would also be a much better use of available space, encouraging more people to walk and cycle safely, and observing social distancing.

My Liberal Democrat County Council colleague John Howson and I set out our initial ideas last week. The question for the Labour administration, then, is why they haven’t moved faster and gone further already?

And if one-way streets and new traffic lights are a good idea, why don’t they form part of the litany of ill-considered and disconnected proposals coming out of the Tory county and Labour city? The sad fact is that the much-trumpeted partnership between city and county is an illusion. Why else does the workplace parking levy apply to part of the city and not the rest (including, tellingly, their own car park at County Hall?). The so-called Zero Emission Zone is nothing of the kind, and the Phil Jones study (which recommended opening Broad Street and Holywell Street to buses) is still on the table. Indeed, shiny new documents are about the only aspect of Labour/Tory transport policy about which you can say, don’t worry, there’ll be another one along in a minute.

The ideas set out by the city council are welcome as far as they go, but they don’t go far enough: nothing about traffic around the JR, tourist buses or a long-term vision, nothing about connectivity outside our city. The closure of Walton Street happened by accident, and the city council leadership has dithered woefully in its response.

Liberal Democrats have a bold, workable plan for transport in our city. Our city needs it. It also needs genuinely joined-up, coordinated, collaborative policy-making between Town and County Halls.

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