Cowley LTNs are doing their job

Cowley LTNs are doing their job

By Alison Hill

Alison Hill, Chair of Cyclox, interviews a Cyclox member who lives in Church Cowley

Temple Cowley, Church Cowley and Florence Park Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), were implemented in spring 2021. They cover most of Cowley. The aim of the scheme is to design streets to make it safer, easier and more pleasant to walk, cycle or (post-Covid) to take the bus for short local trips. Access to residential roads is restricted to the vehicles of households, businesses, deliveries and services. In some streets, drivers may have to take a slightly longer route.

A year on and the LTNs are starting to do their job, from what I’ve seen for myself and heard from others.

How have the LTNs changed my street?

In my street, cut-through traffic has stopped. I can greet my neighbours across the road and actually hear them. Or I can cross the street to them without being mown down by speeding cars hurtling round the corner. I have quiet walking and cycling routes along Rymers Lane and Littlemore Road. This means I can avoid the Iffley Road, which ironically was quieter than the side streets before the LTNs.

When I’m out and about I am more likely to meet people I know and stop to talk, which is great.

My retired neighbour more often walks to her allotment as it is less hassle than a slightly longer drive and the problem of finding a parking space. The father and daughter opposite, and two mothers with two children, all have much safer routes to school and back.

Other LTN fans

A few streets away a father and primary-school daughter are also fans of the LTNs.  They too now cycle to school. And generally he says they cycle or walk more than they ever did, even if it is sometimes a bit more hassle. He says doing the hilly route twice a day is keeping him a lot healthier than ever before.

The mother of a 2-year old likes the LTN, and feels safe walking in the area and even scooting on the road sometimes as it’s very quiet and calm. She enjoys seeing lots of people with their children cycling to school in the morning. They also cycle to Florence Park and the whole route is much quieter now. It doesn’t bother her that there is only one route to drive on.

Last week I saw someone using a mobility scooter and their companion coming towards me, and a wheelchair user ahead of me, both in the roadway. When drivers block pavements by parking on them at least these pavement users can move into the road space.

Last summer, a group of residents researched and designed a map: “Enjoy Cowley: a guide to shops, green spaces and services”. They delivered a copy to all Cowley residents. Families realised they can cycle to the skate park near Herschel Crescent. Teenagers can be independent and walk and bus or cycle to entertainment at the Vue Cinema/Kassam Stadium.

Ironing out the problems

Not everyone is happy. Change is difficult. Some residents, carers and businesses are negatively affected. There are some wrinkles the County Council must iron out in consultation. While most residential roads benefit from more peace and cleaner air, some main roads have had a slight rise in traffic. This also makes it more difficult to cross such roads on foot or by bike, so more crossings are essential.

LTNs can create healthier and more liveable neighbourhoods now and in the future.

Children and teenagers can grow up knowing it is normal to walk or cycle locally and continue to do so for the rest of their lives. Adults and older people can be more active locally too and enjoy and appreciate their neighbourhood. For every person who walks, cycles or takes the bus there is one fewer vehicle clogging up the roads for those who really need to drive.


4 Responses

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