The editor of the Oxford Mail has recently added his voice to the chorus of concern on local transport when it was reported that the previous day it had taken commuters over three hours to reach Oxford from Witney.
For those who are commuting daily on that route the misery has only exacerbated due to a combination of crumbling infrastructure, roadworks around Oxford and simply increased traffic. Matters will not improve substantially either by simply extending a junction or adding a new lane here and there. Oxfordshire, and West Oxfordshire in particular, has been starved of real investments for far too long.
Council planners had identified potential problems way back in 2001, yet thirteen years later we are still waiting for a solution. It has now become an emergency.
Quick fix risk
The risk now is that officials may be tempted to rush into a quick fix, throwing a few millions here and there, not enough for a well planned long term solution, but just sufficient for palliative measures. We cannot afford to go down that road. We don’t need a sticky plaster, but a robust and future proof transport infrastructure project.
While we have always advocated an agnostic approach to transport modes we cannot remain silent when we see that things are heading in the wrong direction. There are non negotiable elements to any transport plans for our region and these are:
- Reliability and proven track record
- Integration with other transport modes
- Low visual impact
- Proven ROI over a medium/long term period
The next few months will be crucial. Expect a flurry of interest especially as we approach general elections. Expect some harebrained proposals too, as the smell of big money will inevitably attract unscrupulous entrepreneurs. If you feel strongly about what we stand for join us so that we can have an even louder voice on the decision making process.