Cyclists say £1m proposals for The Plain do not address all concerns

Simon Hunt

Simon Hunt

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A £1M upgrade of a busy junction in East Oxford is set to make life safer for cyclists.

Oxfordshire County Council will decide on Thursday whether to implement improvements at The Plain.

Highways officers are recommending the scheme should go ahead, but cycle campaigners say the changes do not go far enough.

The council is planning to spend more than £960,000 on making the roundabout at the bottom of Cowley Road more cycle-friendly, with work scheduled to start in the autumn.

The Government gave the council most of the money last year, with an additional £130,000 being provided by the city and county councils.

Peter Lerner, the county council’s interim deputy director for environment and economy, said: “The Plain roundabout is a very busy five-arm roundabout and main junction into the city centre from the east.

“The bid was submitted in part because for less-confident cyclists it discourages some of them from cycling.

“It is anticipated that the proposed design would significantly change the appearance and operation of the roundabout, helping cyclists of a wide range of experience and abilities feel safer and more comfortable.

“The additional footway widths would also benefit the many pedestrians in the area.”

As part of the scheme, roads leading up to The Plain will be narrowed with the pavements and the central island expanded.

The angles of the five junctions will be adjusted and the road surface at the roundabout will be a different colour.

As well as slowing traffic, the council hopes this will reduce potential accidents between cars and cyclists.

Simon Hunt, chairman of cycling group Cyclox, said: “It is a highly used part of the road network in Oxford.

“It is no more dangerous than elsewhere, but the real problem is that it is a serious barrier to the would-be cyclist, and that’s the problem any changes have to address.

“We don’t think these changes go far enough. The proposals could have considered the lead-in to the junction much more than just the work on The Plain itself.”

St Clements city councillor Graham Jones said: “Only two days ago I saw a cyclist come to grief as a car barged on to the roundabout from Iffley Road without looking right.

“It’s the junction with Cowley and Iffley roads where most accidents happen, and something needed to be done.

“The transport planners have listened sensibly to cyclists and other road users and amended their plans.

“So, for example, traffic will now continue to filter from the bridge into St Clements, while cyclists bound for Cowley Road and Iffley Road get protection from a clearly marked single traffic lane.”

Council figures show there have been 35 accidents involving cyclists – 33 slight, two serious – at or in the vicinity of The Plain in the past five years.

The work at The Plain will be accompanied with changes in High Street, where cyclists will be prohibited from turning left into Longwall Street, which the council hopes will allow the junction to flow better.

Once work starts in the autumn, the council plans to complete the scheme by the end of March 2015.

A decision on whether the work should go ahead will be made by county councillor David Nimmo Smith, the cabinet member for transport, at a meeting on Thursday in County Hall at 10.30am.

Comments (4)

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9:48am Tue 25 Mar 14

jayoxford says...

A waste of money in my eyes, as a cyclist and car driver I would say fixing the road surfaces in general would be more worthwhile, only last week I had to cycle into a large pothole that gave me a blowout costing me time and money. If cyclists aren't confident enough to use the roundabout they should get off and cross with the pedestrians until they are past it. It's these bad cyclists that give all of us cyclists a bad name. I find as long as you anticipate traffic in advance and look behind you before you put your arm out to indicate (which is what many cyclists do not do) you will get around it no problem no matter what time of the day. I'm all for improving cycling conditions as a regular commuter but I don't feel this is the right way.
A waste of money in my eyes, as a cyclist and car driver I would say fixing the road surfaces in general would be more worthwhile, only last week I had to cycle into a large pothole that gave me a blowout costing me time and money. If cyclists aren't confident enough to use the roundabout they should get off and cross with the pedestrians until they are past it. It's these bad cyclists that give all of us cyclists a bad name. I find as long as you anticipate traffic in advance and look behind you before you put your arm out to indicate (which is what many cyclists do not do) you will get around it no problem no matter what time of the day. I'm all for improving cycling conditions as a regular commuter but I don't feel this is the right way. jayoxford
  • Score: 5

9:53am Tue 25 Mar 14

EMBOX2 says...

“Only two days ago I saw a cyclist come to grief as a car barged on to the roundabout from Iffley Road without looking right. "

Yes and only last Thursday I had an idiot in a car cut me up (I was driving also) and on leaving the roundabout, a cyclist decided to fly out of that little side road by the Half Moon and almost went over my bonnet.

The Plain has had so many varients of design since I've been around, none has worked, so I hold out no hope for this one. Perhaps removing the roundabout altogether needs consideration, though almost any road scheme OCC are involved with goes wrong, or wildly over budget.
“Only two days ago I saw a cyclist come to grief as a car barged on to the roundabout from Iffley Road without looking right. " Yes and only last Thursday I had an idiot in a car cut me up (I was driving also) and on leaving the roundabout, a cyclist decided to fly out of that little side road by the Half Moon and almost went over my bonnet. The Plain has had so many varients of design since I've been around, none has worked, so I hold out no hope for this one. Perhaps removing the roundabout altogether needs consideration, though almost any road scheme OCC are involved with goes wrong, or wildly over budget. EMBOX2
  • Score: 1

12:53pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

They're spending nearly £1M..........the mind boggles, there's nothing wrong with the roundabout, the problem lies with people's inability to use the correct lanes, and lack of observation, not just on this roundabout, but all of them.
I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to take evasive action because of someone's inability to pay attention, last month, one of them was a driving instructor!!!!!
If drivers, and cyclists, are following the rules of the road, there should be no issues, it's not as though it's Swindon's Magic Roundabout.......alt
hough I think that's a doddle too.
They're spending nearly £1M..........the mind boggles, there's nothing wrong with the roundabout, the problem lies with people's inability to use the correct lanes, and lack of observation, not just on this roundabout, but all of them. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to take evasive action because of someone's inability to pay attention, last month, one of them was a driving instructor!!!!! If drivers, and cyclists, are following the rules of the road, there should be no issues, it's not as though it's Swindon's Magic Roundabout.......alt hough I think that's a doddle too. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Sophia says...

How the hell can anyone manage to spend £1m on cycle paths in such a tiny area?
How the hell can anyone manage to spend £1m on cycle paths in such a tiny area? Sophia
  • Score: -1

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