While local attention is focused on the details of Access to Headington, the County has been working on two new design guides – one for walking and one for cycling. These are intended to set the standards for walking and cycling provision in any new developments or redevelopments.
The Guides were approved by the County’s Cabinet Member for the Environment on 27 April this year. They will eventually be produced as good-looking booklets, but until then the final text of each is on the County’s website:
I asked the County Council how well the Access to Headington work conformed to the new guidelines. I was told:
All roads within scope of the Access to Headington project have an annual average daily traffic of over 5,000. Most speed limits are 30mph or less so the minimum provision for cycle infrastructure is stepped access (Table 3 in the Cycling Design Guide).
This is proposed for The Slade (2m hybrid cycle lanes in both directions) where there is sufficient space to accommodate this. On other roads the provision will be a mix of cycle tracks and lanes and reflects what officers think is the best compromise between the safety of cyclists, keeping some on-street parking provision, working with limited available carriageway widths and a desire to reduce the potential for any further loss of trees and grass verges. Available funding and cost of works to provide alternative cycle infrastructure was also taken into consideration such as on Old Road (removing the double kerb) and Headley Way (retaining structures required on the downhill section).
The next phase of Access to Headington work covers Headley Way and Cherwell Drive. It includes remodelling the junction at the JR access, where the mini-roundabout will be replaced by traffic lights. At the bottom of the hill the whole junction will be altered with lights replacing the double roundabout. The one-way flow on the service road outside the shops will be reversed.
More-or-less continuous cycle paths will be created on both sides of Headley Way and Cherwell Drive. Although there are significant shortcomings in the design, which is regrettable, cyclists should find their journeys feeling safer and more comfortable.
Site equipment will start appearing on 19 June with construction beginning a week later. This will be at the JR entrance junction and will include the junction of the lower (Jack Straw’s Lane) part of Staunton Road with Headley Way. The work here and elsewhere will continue until about the third week of October, when it will be suspended until restarting at the beginning of January 2018. A detailed schedule of planned dates for the whole project is not yet available.
The Jack Straw’s Lane section of Staunton Road will be closed for about three weeks while the work is happening.
At present, motor vehicles leaving this part of Staunton Road wanting to turn right on Headley Way have to turn left and make a U-turn round the mini roundabout. Once the roundabout has been replaced by traffic lights this won’t be possible; there’s no obvious alternative.
I made a few notes on the plans when I went to the open exhibition in Northway on Monday, concentrating on the cycling aspects. I’ve passed them to the County’s Access to Headington team and you can read them here. I understand Cyclox will be sending some more comprehensive comments.
You can find the engineers’ drawings here. In the sidebar to the right of this post are links to the County’s website for the project and for signing up to their regular newsletter about the scheme.
This arrived from the County Council a few days ago in the wake of the exhibition of plans held on 23 March.
Work on the next phase of the Access to Headington transport improvement scheme will start soon. The next phase will focus on The Slade, between Old Road and the mini roundabout at the junction of Hollow Way/Horspath Driftway.
Contractors working for the county council will set up the site from Monday 10 April with construction work set to start on Tuesday 18 April.
Setting up the compounds will be done off-peak to reduce any impact on traffic and so that noise and disruption whilst units are installed and operated can be kept to a minimum.
This section of work will take approximately 26 weeks to complete. The team will do all they can to minimise delays but people travelling in the area are advised to plan their journeys.