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We care about roads

Big lorries plough through South Newington village Big lorries plough through South Newington village Photo: © Karina Hudson

Many of Oxfordshire's roads are chronically, dangerously choked but people have few alternatives but to use them.

In Oxfordshire, there are about 40 deaths, 350 serious injuries and nearly 2,000 slight injuries reported on the roads every year.

Volumes of traffic

While politicians focus their sites on congested motorways, traffic on rural roads has been quietly and steadily increasing. Oxfordshire's rural road network rarely grinds to a halt in the same way as our 'A' roads do every day - think of the standstill congestion on A40 and A34 at peak times - but like a sponge, the countryside has been absorbing more and more traffic. Increased traffic can change the character of an area; its sense of place, tranquillity, and accessibility for those on foot, on bikes and on horseback. These more subtle effects are being overlooked and they drive non-car road users away.

Big lorries

Massive trucks thundering through villages can make residents' lives a misery with noise, pollution, shaking the fabric of buildings, as well as making it dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and riders. We campaign to reduce speed limits and introduce weight limits where appropriate.

Carnage on rural roads

It doesn't take a lot to turn a quiet country lane into a rat–run for motorists or for a village to lose its character as lorries blast through. DfT statistics show that 60% of reported fatalities occur on rural roads (withr 34% occur on urban roads and only 6% on motorways). Important progress has been made in reducing the carnage overall, yet the number of fatalities on rural roads remains shockingly high.

Footpaths and alternative lanes for bikes, pedestrians and riders

We campaign to keep footpaths open, construct cycle lanes, and maintain bridleways so we can all find alternative ways from getting safely and effectively from A to B.

Park & rides

Oxford's Park & Ride facilities have for many years played a significant and integral role in the transport strategy for Oxford. They form part of a consistent and sustained approach to the city's transport strategy and help to ensure that transport problems have not hindered growth or threatened Oxford's unique character and environment. There is increasing pressure at all five Park & Ride sites with Seacourt regularly filling up and Peartree and Water Eaton occasionally reaching capacity.

But hang on a minute... Park & Rides can create more and longer car journeys than they replace, because motorists dogleg across the countryside to reach a free parking facility where they would otherwise have travelled directly into Oxford by public transport. Park & Rides can distort the cost decisions made by commuters when a more direct village-to-city public transport system might be better all round.

Roadside clutter

Road signs provide essential information for road users and promote road safety. But roadside clutter can create confusion, distract motorists and can deface the rural landscape. Not all road signs are essential, and sometimes they are far too large. Often they are combined with artificial gates, dummy cattle grids, red painted roads and white roundels. When used together, they make a rural landscape look urban and a calm village look busy and restless. Moreover, rumble strips and humps add considerably to traffic noise.

A balance is needed. Road safety is paramount, and lower traffic speeds help promote an atmosphere of tranquillity. But we think we have gone too far and that there is too much clutter on Oxfordshire's roads. We believe the quantity of signage and road marking is such that it is distracting motorists rather than informing them.

Our current concerns

For more on specific campaigns see our Roads in Oxfordshire section and check out our news pages.

© CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY - phone 01491 612079 - email campaign@cpreoxon.org.uk 

CPRE Oxfordshire is a registered charity, number 1093081, and company limited by guarantee, registered in England, number 04443278

Registered Office: CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY