One year on, Cowley LTNs are doing their job

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Implemented in spring 2021, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Temple Cowley, Church Cowley and Florence Park cover most of Cowley. The aim of the scheme is to make streets safer, easier and more pleasant to walk, cycle or reach the bus stop for short local trips. Access to residential roads is restricted to the vehicles of households, businesses, deliveries and services. In some streets, drivers may have a slightly longer route.

A year on and the LTNs are starting to do their job, from what I’ve seen myself and heard from others.

In my street, cut-through traffic has stopped. I can greet my neighbours across the road and hear them! Or I can cross the street to them without being mown down by speeding cars hurtling round the corner. I have quiet walking and cycling routes along Rymers Lane and Littlemore Road so I can avoid the Iffley Road now – ironically, the back streets used to be busier than Iffley Road! When I’m out and about, I often meet people I know and stop and talk which is great. My retired neighbour walks to her allotment more often as it is less hassle than a slightly longer drive and the problem of finding a parking space. The father and his daughter opposite, and two mothers with two children each all have much safer routes to school and back.

A few streets away, are more fans of the LTN. A father and primary school daughter also now cycle to school. He says they generally cycle or walk more than they ever did even if it is sometimes a bit more hassle. He says doing the hilly route twice a day is keeping him a lot healthier than ever before.

The mother of a 2-year old likes the LTN, and feels very safe walking in the area and scooting on the road sometimes as it’s very quiet and calm. She enjoys seeing lots of people with their children cycling to school in the morning. They also cycle to Florence Park and the whole route is much quieter now. It doesn’t bother her there is only one route to drive on.

Last week I saw a mobility scooter user and companion coming towards me and a wheelchair user ahead of me both forced into the roadway by pavement parking. When drivers block pavements at least low traffic gives them the option to use the road space.

Last summer, a group of residents researched and designed a map “Enjoy Cowley – a guide to shops, green spaces and services” delivered to all Cowley residents. Families found they can cycle to the skate park near Herschel Crescent. Teenagers can be independent and walk, bus or cycle to entertainment at the Vue/Kassam.

Not everyone is happy. Change is difficult. Some residents, carers and businesses are negatively affected. There are some wrinkles the county council must iron out in consultation. While most residential roads benefit from more peace and cleaner air, some main roads have seen a slight rise in traffic. This also makes it more difficult to cross such roads by foot or bike, so more crossings are essential.

LTNs can create healthier and more liveable neighbourhoods now and in future. People can be more active locally and enjoy and appreciate their neighbourhood. Every time someone walks, cycles or takes the bus there is one less car in the queue for someone who needs to drive. Children and teenagers can grow up knowing it is normal to walk or cycle locally and take this healthy independence into the rest of their lives.