AN INVESTIGATION by Green city councillors has found that much-needed maintenance work on Cowley Road could compromise cyclists’ safety

According to the councillors the resurfacing work in East Oxford will not be an exact replacement of the original 2005 scheme.

The original scheme was introduced to improve safety for cyclists but the new scheme could, claim the Greens, actually make cyclists less safe.


The Greens point to cost-cutting on the use of green paint to clearly mark the cycle lanes, cycle advance boxes, cycle logos and areas leading into the central shared road space.

They say these features will either be removed or merely outlined in white paint.

READ AGAIN: Poor parking is holding up buses in Cowley Road roadworks

Green councillor and keen cyclist Dick Wolff, who represents St Mary’s ward, said: “The original safety scheme was given a lot of thought - especially with regard to improving safety for cyclists.

"This is one of the most cycled routes in the country yet it is now being treated as if it were just another car-dominated city street.”

READ MORE: Cowley Road roadworks bring 12 weeks of disruption

James Street resident Chris Jarvis said: “At a time when councils are meant to be encouraging cycling for health and environmental reasons, I simply cannot believe that such a scheme was approved.”

A series of closures has shut off parts of the Cowley Road after the council invested £1.5m in improving one of the main routes in and out of the city.


Temporary traffic lights have been running since July 8 while the work completely closed various sections of the main road from July 29.

Despite welcoming improvements, traders said they came at a time when businesses on the Cowley Road are battling to claw back custom from the Westgate Centre.

READ MORE: Christ Church Dean reinstated following tribunal

Last month bus company bosses revealed that drivers in side streets have been flouting no parking zones making it difficult for buses to get through the diversion routes.

Bus company managers for Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and Oxford Bus Company say their drivers have experienced problems including an accident.

And they have urged car drivers not to park inconsiderately.


A county council spokesman said: "When the work on Cowley Road is complete the new surface and lining will mean that all the important lines and symbols will be clear for road users.

"We do not install or replace coloured surfacing unless there is a justified reason for doing so.

"There is no evidence that the applied green coloured surfacing would have improved safety at this location."

The completion date for the roadworks is Friday, September 27.

READ MORE: Bomb disposal team dispatched to village

“The last full road closure took place on August 17/18.”


Dr Alison Hill, chairwoman, of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox, said: “I don’t actually remember any green paint. I hope the new scheme does bring improvements - I agree that Cowley Road is car-dominated - if you are a young cyclist it might be better to use the designated cycle route from James Street to the Cowley centre. Cars park on Cowley Road and I have been doored on that route.”

County council cycling champion Suzanne Bartington said she would be happy to listen to the Green councillors’ concerns.