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Cyclists press for safer roundabout

20 October 2012

CTC Oxford City Secretary, James Dawton, has been in the news. The Oxford Mail reports that, according to campaigners, plans for a £2m revamp at an Oxford traffic blackspot provide an ideal opportunity to improve the site for cyclists. The Oxford Mail revealed in October that council bosses were considering big changes to the Kennington roundabout where Abingdon Road joins the southern bypass. Early plans included creating a hamburger-style roundabout, similar to those in place on the bypass at Green Road and Heyford Hill.

Cycling campaigners have now submitted a list of improvements they would like to see to Oxfordshire County Council, focusing on the paths and subways that run under the roundabout connecting Oxford, Kennington and Heyford Hill. Right to Ride Oxford representative James Dawton, from Kennington, said: “As redesigning the Kennington roundabout is part of improving access to Oxford, it follows that improvements for cyclists should be one of the aims. Although we haven’t seen any plans, we are trying to get in early instead of waiting for them to plan it without considering our point of view.”

Improvements suggested by Mr Dawton include resurfacing the subways underneath the carriageways and more signs directing cyclists from Kennington and around the Heyford Hill roundabout. He also said it was important to improve lighting and visibility, as he was “yet to meet a female willing to use that route after dark”.

Mr Dawton added: “This is a very popular route for cyclists. And this is the council’s chance to make sure it is as good as it can be.” Other ideas include better entrances and exits to the subways and removing bollards that are notoriously difficult to navigate. Richard Mann, vice-chairman of city cycling campaign group Cyclox, said: “The thing about Kennington is that you have a village, where it is 20mph, and then a mile away, you have Oxford city where it’s 20mph again and cycle lanes. But you have this gap in the middle. This is the ideal opportunity to link the village to the city and make sure you don’t have to be a brave long-established cyclist to navigate the route.”

The county council said it was still considering options for the roundabout. But it confirmed £2m had been budgeted for the improvements. It hopes they can be as successful as those made to the Heyford Hill roundabout, which reopened in October after a £2m revamp, funded by Sainsbury’s. County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “Officers are continuing to explore the possibility of improvements to Kennington roundabout, including the option of a ‘hamburger-style’ scheme there.”

He added: “A public consultation would be undertaken to inform people about any proposed changes and this would be the opportunity for people and interest groups to comment to the county council.”