The Oxford Mail reports that £367,000 of Oxford City Council money is being spent on cycle infrastructure improvements. However, the city has been unable to spend anything on improving the roads for cyclists due to a stand-off with Oxfordshire County Council.
Earlier this month, we reported that a row had broken out between the two local authorities after it was revealed that only £15,000 had been spent on cycling projects since 2012. According to City councillor John Tanner (Labour), Oxfordshire County Council has been preventing cycling schemes from going ahead until it has established its new transport strategy.
This is only expected to be complete by March 2015, but a county council spokesman denied that there was an embargo on cycling infrastructure improvements in the meantime.
“If the city want to come forward with cycling schemes we will gladly consider them but it is of course important to see how they would fit within our plans for the wider city.”
Tanner has said that the city council will focus on projects where it owns the land and so while £367,000 has now been allocated for cycle improvements, the projects are only those that did not need approval from Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.
“We have spent it on some good schemes but they have been mostly off-road schemes such as the resurfacing in Hinksey Park and more cycle parking at the Park and Rides.
“It is true at the moment the county council has a moratorium on extra on-road cycling schemes. It’s a bit frustrating. I would like to see parked cars being banned from cycle lanes in Oxford but the county council said they would only look at it once they agree on Oxford’s transport strategy.”
Cyclox campaign group chairman, Simon Hunt, welcomed the spending but felt key issues remained unaddressed:
“They are all worthwhile schemes – signage is high up the list of priorities, which is good, but only one cycle route has been improved.
“In the grand scheme of things it has not improved things which need to be done, there are other things higher up the list of priorities.”
As it stands, investment has been earmarked for route signs, resurfacing, cycle ramps and cycle parking.