Ellie Ames 19 October 2023

Controversial Oxford LTNs made permanent

Controversial Oxford LTNs made permanent image
Image: oxordshire.gov.uk

Three low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Oxford are to become permanent, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet decided this week.

Since the LTNs were introduced as a trial in May 2022, protests have taken place and infrastructure has been impacted by ‘frequent vandalism’.

Vandalised infrastructure meant there were times when vehicles continued to use LTN roads, impacting monitoring of the scheme.

Results have shown decreased overall traffic on LTN roads. There have been 'variable levels of improvement' to air quality within LTNs, a council report states.

The impact on traffic levels on boundary roads has been mixed. Air quality on these roads has worsened, and in one area continues to exceed the legal limit.

The council acknowledged negative impacts to some businesses and to public transport, particularly bus services.

Three council-run consultations over three years found that most residents oppose the schemes.

Amendments to the trial agreed by Oxfordshire's cabinet mean that on some roads, bollards will be replaced with number plate recognition cameras and taxis, emergency services, waste and postal vehicles will be exempt. A boundary road that has experienced increased traffic will also close.

The council said trial traffic filters on six streets are likely to alleviate congestion but will not be introduced until work on Oxford’s train station is complete, which is not expected until autumn 2024.

Cabinet member for transport Andrew Grant said: ‘Removing the LTNs means allowing congestion to spread back into residential streets. Retaining them means we can work to maintain and increase their benefits.’

He added: ‘We are working to preserve essential journeys by car, while also encouraging safe travel for all by walking, scooting, biking and greater use of public transport.

‘LTNs are one step towards less reliance on private car journeys.’

If this article was of interest, then check out our features, 'Now I am become Uxbridge, destroyer of rational climate discourse', 'Home County drivers face taxation without representation', and 'The case for low-traffic neighbourhoods.'

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