CTC’s Oxford representative has strongly criticised the new layout of a road junction in Oxford, describing it as ‘an accident waiting to happen’. The Oxford Times reports that the junction has only recently reopened following three months of work, but James Dawton feels the changes have made it dangerous for cyclists and drivers.
Dawton has written to Oxfordshire County Council regarding the junction between Worcester Street, Hythe Bridge Street and George Street which reopened on December 14.
“I regard this junction as an accident waiting to happen. It is the first time I have felt it has been necessary to put out a warning email to cycling groups about a dangerous design.
“The junction has been visually altered for those exiting Hythe Bridge Street. What was a left turn-only road has now been replaced by what looks like a full crossroads junction. There is no sign, temporary or otherwise, warning users of the fact that it is still turn left.”
The barriers and pavement separating Worcester Street from George Street have been removed and while cyclists may continue straight across the junction, it remains left-turn only for motorists. Dawton said he had already heard from cyclists who had experienced near misses there.
County councillor, Susanna Pressel, has asked the council to evaluate how the junction is working and make urgent improvements.
A council spokesman, Dominic Llewellyn-Jones, said:
“The county council met with cycling groups during the consultation phase to explain the design of the new junction at Worcester Street. Cycling from Hythe Bridge Street to George Street is not an illegal manoeuvre for cyclists and a sign will be installed soon to this effect.
“Road markings and a sign on the traffic lights indicates to motorists that it is left turn only if travelling from Hythe Bridge Street. In addition to this, red ‘new road layout ahead’ signs have been installed on all approaches to the new junction.”
Local cycling group, Cyclox, agrees with Dawton. Their chairman, Simon Hunt, said that the problem was a failure to allow a sensible route for cyclists to navigate across the new junction.
“The overall design is wrong in principle. The junction should be three-armed, not four, with vehicles using Park End Street instead of Hythe Bridge Street.”
The work has been carried out as part of the Frideswide Square redevelopment. In September, the plans were criticised by cycle campaigners for needlessly putting cyclists and pedestrians into conflict in shared spaces and for offering no clear passage for cyclists at roundabouts.