The centre of Oxford will be turned into a huge cycle and walking route as part of the Government’s efforts get everyone walking and cycling to work, as a campaign to get people off public transport and onto their bikes takes hold.
The Government has released two funds, one worth £250m to be put into place immediately to promote bike use, and Oxford will receive its share of this emergency cash.
“We manage several large office buildings in Oxford, and we are turning our car park spaces into bike parks – the demand is going to be huge”, reports Jonathan Ratcliffe from Office Provider Offices.co.uk
The transport secretary Grant Shapps has laid out plans to “create a new era for cycling and walking” in response to the coronavirus crisis, with the government to put active travel at the heart of its strategy. The new measures – both short-term and long-term – in Saturday’s UK government coronavirus briefing (9 May), including a £250m “emergency active travel fund”.
“Boris is very pro-cycling, and this emergency injection of cash is to help people get back to work – by bike. Oxford will see roads closed off and used as cycle and walking lanes. The thinking is that to maintain 2m distance between bikes and pedestrians will mean cars and public transport will not be allowed on certain routes through Oxford”, explains Ratcliffe.
The longer-term plan is the investment of £2bn across the UK promoting cycling, walking and public transport, but it looks like this might be on hold for the next few months as businesses get back to work.
Oxford will see the following in the next month:
- Pop-up cycle lanes “within weeks”
- Reallocation of road space for “significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians”
- Vouchers for bike shops to help repairs: “to encourage people to get their old bikes out of the shed”
“If you love cycling, this will be a great time for you – however if you don’t, you’d best get prepared for more bikes through Oxford as we get back to work!”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk