“I absolutely love the new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods”

By Andy Chivers

Eleanor Vogel is a GP in Kidlington. She rides to work every day from Cowley – an impressive 30km round trip – which involves cycling along Church Cowley Road and Rymers Lane. She posted this on Twitter on 14th March: “I live on an arterial road in Cowley and I absolutely love the new LTNs”. We talked to her to find out why, and here is what she said:

I started cycling to work before lockdown, over 14 months ago now. It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It has been so good for my mental and physical health. I do all my home visits on bike and have never yet had to get into my car for visits. I do own a car and could drive but I hardly ever use it now as I so much prefer to cycle. 

I had a lovely road bike, but unfortunately a car drove into me on the Plain at the beginning of March. Luckily I only had minor injuries but my bike was destroyed. I did report it in order to claim the insurance, so that incident will be added to the many on the Plain roundabout. I now have a new road bike and am back cycling, but since that incident, each passing car has made me a little bit more jumpy. So I am keen to see traffic reduction and better cycling infrastructure on our roads. Low traffic neighbourhoods will help enormously.

After the introduction of the LTNs in Cowley I have seen an instant improvement in levels of traffic on my commute to work. It is still very early days, as the Church Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhood was only introduced on 1st March, and the Florence Park one on 8th March. I live in Church Cowley and can see that traffic coming along Littlemore Road and turning left into Beauchamp Lane has instantly reduced. The bollard on Rymers Lane only went in on Friday 12th March, but that has made the biggest difference for me. Coming back in the evening at 8pm through the new bollards, there is a noticeable difference in traffic levels. So far the changes are looking positive.  

It has been so impressive how residents and councillors have rallied behind LTNs. I am a member of Oxfordshire Liveable Streets and so have been very aware of LTNs and how they can transform neighbourhoods and lives. I have been wanting to see this happen for a long time, and was so delighted when funding was found to implement them. I have been a campaigner for quieter streets for several years now, and I responded to the consultations and encouraged others through social media and in my own neighbourhood. I am so grateful to all the fantastic activists who tirelessly pushed for this, and to the county council who made it happen.

With these new LTNs I do hope more and more people will discover how great active travel is. I want a time to come when anyone in Oxford can choose to cycle or walk safely anywhere in the city. 

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