We are strongly committed to improving roads and paths for walkers, cycling and mobile scooter users. Labour councillors have worked hard to secure a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Witney. This is a detailed report listing Witney’s needs, and makes us ready to apply for government grants and other funding.
Councillor Ruth Smith says: “When the government funding for active travel was announced in the first lockdown, I contacted everyone who cares about active travel in Witney, from all groups and parties. I put their ideas into a document that made the case for Witney’s walking, cycling and accessible travel needs. County councillors brought it to the attention of Oxfordshire County Council. Planners developed faith in Witney and we were awarded the East-West Active Travel corridor. When people feel safer, they make more journeys without a car – great news for public health, air quality and the climate. This first route, which runs from Woodstock Road and Madley Park in the east to Tower Hill in the west, is very much the starting point. There’s room for improvement (Corn Street still isn’t right!) and we will work for that.”
The £1.2 million funding to improve the public space on the High Street is from a government active travel fund. We are getting closer to gathering the town’s ideas to make the space feel good, look great and work hard for residents.
Improving our Roads
Witney Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council have introduced a 20 mph zone covering most of Witney in alignment with Government policy, many other UK councils and global uptake. This includes all the residential roads and roads with shops, schools, clinics, churches etc, and roads used for residents getting from A to B by active travel, keeping the system simple and consistent. Lower speeds go hand in hand with how safe it is to walk and cycle in Witney.
But it’s good for drivers …
Residents are finding that they can turn out of side roads more comfortably because drivers are driving more slowly on the main roads. Schools are noticing safer approaches for their pupils. If the calmer feel encourages more journeys to be made without cars, car traffic will get lighter, which is better for drivers. The lower speeds create less impact on pot-holes reducing wear. Our The Drive for 20 post has more details.
And it’s good for nature and wildlife too…
An evaluation of 20mph zones in London, carried out by Imperial College, showed slowing traffic resulted in fewer accelerations and decelerations, than in 30mph zones. This smoother driving style reduces particulate emissions from tyre and brake wear – which still represents a significant cause of air pollution from zero-emission vehicles.
Hedgehog preservation is helped along longer stretches of road where other mechanisms don't work Councillor Andrew Coles and Candidate Alan Bartlett are active supporters