Emergency Active Travel Funding from the Department of Transport
The Sectretary of State has announced a fund to help improve active travel provision in light of reduced public travel capacity due to COVID-19 social distancing measures.
His a dvice to local authorities on reallocating road space to:
- encourage cycling and walking
- enable social distancing
Oxfordshire appliaed for Tranche 1 money but recevied only half of its potential allowance due to a lack of ambition to make significant and meaningful change to travel habits. This was a shortfall of approx £300k. OCC is in the process of applying for Tranche 2 money which is potentially up to £2 million across the county. We are engaging with as many council officers and councillors as we can to ensure this is more successful than Tranche 1 and leads to quality improvements for Bicester.
Contact your councillor now to push for this money to be spent in Bicester
Oxfordshire Cycling Network have presented these proposals to Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment (including Transport): Councillor Yvonne Constance, and Director for People and Place: Susan Halliwell. The reception is best described as between cool and lukewarm. The Council is developing its own proposals, but they would not share these and we don’t know if they are sufficiently ambitious to win funding from the DfT and deliver schemes that will make a difference.
Please help us to persuade the Council to be bold in its proposals.
Things you can do – at home:
1. Write to your County Councillor using the template letter below. The more you personalise this, the more effective it can be.
2. Follow the County Council, CoHSAT and other cycling groups on Facebook and Twitter. Like and share posts about these schemes. Don’t get involved with detractors (the more engagement the higher their post will show) but write comments to support posts which are supportive.
Suggested email title: Let’s Build a Better Oxfordshire with Tranche 2
Dear Councillor [xxx]
I am writing to let you know my support for [any local scheme you are aware of e.g. the two bus gates in central Oxford this August, traffic restrictions making High St in Witney and Market Place Wantage better for pedestrians and people cycling] – thank you for introducing these! From this great start, I ask that Oxfordshire County Council is as bold and ambitious as possible for the Tranche 2 Proposal for the Emergency Active Travel Fund. There is overwhelming support across Oxfordshire for positive changes to our transport system in the post-Covid world.
This is what I want to see for a Better Oxfordshire:
[Choose which measures you are in favour of here – add local ones or your town name where possible]
- A massive cut in traffic and congestion throughout Oxfordshire
- Segregated cycle lanes
- Wider pavements
- Pedestrianisation of streets in the centre of Oxford / Market Towns
- Safer ways for children to get to school by walking and cycling
- Low traffic neighbourhoods
- Connecting Oxford Plus – starting with your planned trial of 2 bus gates and building to 7 gates as proposed by Oxfordshire Liveable Streets
I support the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) proposals for EATF2 and hope you will adopt these measures or something even more ambitious in order to meet the DfT’s requirement for swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to pedestrians and cyclists.
We know from other cities around the world (London, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Ghent, Utrecht and many more) that these measures are hugely popular when implemented and they give these places huge benefits, including safer walking and cycling, a boost for the local economy, a cut in air pollution (high air pollution has been linked to Covid-19 deaths) and faster and more efficient journeys for everyone.
We have an opportunity to build a Better Oxfordshire for the post-Covid world. Let’s take this opportunity with both hands. I look forward to seeing a bold and ambitious Tranche 2 Proposal based on these elements.