Little waster wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 10, 2023 3:56 pm
Tedious $piked Contrarian wrote:Oxford as Britain’s oldest seat of learning – but, according to The Sunday Times, it is better ‘known to its residents for its gridlocked traffic’. In past decades, town planners might have looked at this problem of high levels of congestion and drawn up plans for new and wider roads.
So ... how's that working out then?
You can't drive much of the very centre of Oxford because of roads closed to you. This, thought strange in Britain, is pretty common in many historic cities on the continent. The consequence is good conditions for cycling and buses. Buses are excellent and well used in Oxford, and far more people use bikes than most other places.
When I go to Oxford, I usually take my bike on the train; or else in the back of my car and park at a friend's house in the suburbs; or sometimes use the park & ride. By chance I'm going there both tomorrow and a week later for various events. As I cycle around Oxford, mostly the traffic is pretty light. It can be a bit queued up near the station. Because if you do approach the city centre in a car, you are committing your self to a tortuous journey. And a car is not much use to you to get around Oxford, given the practical restrictions. There is high use of bikes and buses. It's a bit like what they say in Amsterdam - you can drive your car in Amsterdam, but that's your own fault.
On the other hand, it has driven some employers out of central Oxford, because it was no longer practical for their less local employees to drive to work.
I did take some interest in the Oxford's upcoming plans at one point, because I took part in a tender to advise them on related things - a tender which got cancelled. Oxford were interested in creating some more restrictions on car traffic, such as barriers only permeable to bikes, gates only some cars can go through, etc. They had previously made some fairly modest proposals for just one or two more barriers, but had got slaughtered on it, because they hadn't adequately assessed all the impacts. So they left it for a while, and were then proposing a proper process of designing such restrictions, which would be carefully assessed and with proper consultations at all stages, to avoid the bear-trap they fell into the previous time. There was no mention at that time of making a charge for leaving your zone frequently.
I think this kind of thing is pretty common on the continent, where people accept that free-for-alls to drive around historic city centres is just infeasible. But Britain made the mistake of seeing the car as the future.