What are the east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods?

    The east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are three areas where motorised traffic is prevented from taking shortcuts through a residential area. This creates quieter and safer streets where people may feel more comfortable when making local journeys by cycling, wheeling or on foot.

    The restrictions are made up of bollards and planters and are located in the Divinity Road, St Clement’s and St Mary’s areas of east Oxford.

    The trial for east Oxford LTNs began in May 2022 under an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) and will run until November 2023, by which time a decision will need to be made on their future.

    You can find out more on our webpage on East Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) | Oxfordshire County Council.

    What has happened to the data from the first consultation?

    We held a statutory public consultation during the first six months of the east Oxford LTNs trial, from May to November 2022. This data has been analysed by an independent company and you can read their report by downloading it from the main page.

    Why are you running another consultation on these LTNs?

    Since the east Oxford LTNs trial began in May 2022, frequent vandalism and theft of bollards and their locking mechanisms has prevented thorough impact assessment, because bollards were often missing. In March 2023, new bollards were introduced.

    Considering the impact of the vandalism on the evaluation of the trial, a traffic regulation order statutory consultation will run for six weeks to gather additional feedback on how the trial is operating now that the new bollards are in place. This feedback will form part of what is considered when any decision on its future is made.

    We have also been gathering feedback from the last year to understand the trial’s impact and to help inform future decision making. We have listened to this feedback, and we are proposing some changes that could be introduced but only if the council decides to continue with the east Oxford LTNs.

    This consultation enables us to propose changes to the scheme and seek feedback. It also provides an opportunity for people to comment on the LTNs as a whole, and as designed, which would not be possible as part of the experimental traffic regulation order process due to time constraints.

    Why is the consultation only six weeks long?

    An experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) can only be in place for a maximum of 18 months. Changes made during the 18 months require another six month consultation. To reach a decision before the end of the trial period, there is not time for the necessary consultation and reporting through the experimental traffic regulation order process.

    This consultation therefore allows for us to propose changes to the scheme, which could not be made as part of the ETRO process due to time constraints.

    A six week traffic regulation order (TRO) consultation enables the council to combine the statutory consultation on the TRO with the consultation period required to use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) enforcement for these restrictions. This is the best way for us to gather this feedback on the scheme, as designed, before the end of the east Oxford LTNs trial in November.

    Does this mean the east Oxford LTNs are being made permanent?

    No, the east Oxford LTNs are still a trial, and a decision on their future is expected in October this year. The changes proposed as part of this consultation would only go ahead if it was decided that the LTNs will remain in place.

    Do I have to fill this new survey out if I have already completed the old survey?

    If you completed the survey that was open during the first six months of the trial, you are welcome to complete this survey too. We also welcome feedback from people who have not previously commented on the east Oxford LTNs. All feedback received will be considered when deciding the future of this project.

    How will consultation data be used when making decisions about these LTNs?

    A decision is expected to be taken in October this year on the future of the east Oxford LTNs. Officers will make recommendations based on a range of factors, including monitoring data, alignment with policy and feedback from the consultation held during the first six months of the trial, and this six week consultation.

    A decision on the proposed improvements will be made at the same meeting. When deciding, cabinet is asked to consider a range of information including consultation feedback, monitoring data, legal advice and equality and climate impact assessments. 

    In their decision, council members recognise the range of views expressed and, where relevant, may commit to undertake additional further measures flagged through feedback or monitoring.

    Will my views count?

    Yes. Consultations are not a referendum or vote on a matter, but they do provide us with important information to consider. Implementing policy often involves balancing conflicting interests, so it’s important that we consider the widest possible range of opinions. Your feedback helps us amend and improve proposals or decide not to continue with them. Projects are promoted because of their alignment with policy like our local transport and connectivity plan. These policies are adopted by local politicians that have been elected on a manifesto and to represent their constituents.

    Officers and cabinet members consider all consultation responses alongside other relevant information when making recommendation and decisions and so all views are valuable.

    When will the full data and monitoring report be available? Why haven’t you shared that now?

    The east Oxford LTNs are still being trialled and monitoring and evaluation is ongoing. A full data and monitoring report will be made available as part of the full range of monitoring and evaluation documents ahead of the October cabinet meeting.

    Where can I find out more about the improvements you are proposing?

    You can read about the improvements and view downloadable drawings and maps on our Let’s talk Oxfordshire page.

    How did you decide which improvements to make?

    Over the last year we have gathered feedback to understand the trial’s impact and help inform future decision making. This includes monitoring and evaluation data, consultation responses and feedback from meetings with partners like the emergency services, waste services and public transport providers. We have used this information, alongside technical work, to arrive at a set of proposals that we think would be practical to implement and address known concerns such as unintended consequences or problems with access.

    Why are you proposing to move the bollards in Bullingdon Street?

    We are proposing to move these bollards to the south-west at the junction with Hurst Street, to improve turning facilities at the filter point and to prevent vehicles from mounting to the pavement to get around the filter point.

    Why are you proposing to change parking arrangements in Marston Street?

    Changing the parking arrangements on Marston Street should improve access for vehicles needing to use the work yard on the industrial estate.

    Why are you proposing to place a bollard at the St Clement’s end of Jeune Street?

    Monitoring and consultation feedback data shows a significant increase in the volume of traffic travelling down Jeune Street as well as driving in both directions on a one-way street. There has also been an increase in drivers ignoring the no right turn sign at the St Clement’s end. Installing a bollard here and introducing a two-way street will help mitigate these issues.

    Why are you proposing automatic number plate recognition cameras in Divinity Road, James Street and Magdalen Road?

    We have listened to the feedback from emergency services and other stakeholders, and if the east Oxford LTNs are made permanent, we would propose that ANPR cameras are used to replace bollards on these three streets.

    What is ANPR and how might it work to enforce a low traffic neighbourhood restriction?

    If the east Oxford LTNs remain in place and the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras is approved, the cameras will enforce restrictions that are currently enforced using planters and bollards.

    ANPR cameras are triggered by vehicles passing through a restricted point and record only the licence plate details of those vehicles. They do not record the wider area or record constantly.

    The traffic regulation order associated with a low traffic neighbourhood filter is a legal order that restricts vehicles from travelling through an area that are not exempt. The cameras will check the number plates of all vehicles passing through the restricted area during operational times, and cross reference them against the exemptions list. If a vehicle is on the exemptions list, then the traffic authority will take no further action. If a vehicle is not on the exemptions list, the video clip will be reviewed by an enforcement officer, who may then issue a penalty charge notice (PCN) to the registered owner of the vehicle.

    Road signs will be clearly displayed at the entrance point of each LTN closure to warn drivers when they are entering an area enforced by an ANPR camera. Every street in the area will still be accessible but may require taking a slightly different route.

    Where can I find out more about penalty charge notices (PCNs)?

    Will the cameras ever be turned off?

    In the event of a road traffic accident, or other incident that might require a LTN restriction to be opened to traffic, a camera can be turned off.

    What considerations were made in selecting the proposed locations for ANPR?

    If the east Oxford LTNs are made permanent and the use of ANPR is approved, the use of ANPR will be implemented at Divinity Road, James Street and Magdalen Road.

    How will emergency services get access?

    We have engaged closely with local emergency services. Although emergency services can unlock and remove the bollards, issues like inappropriate parking and vandalism have sometimes obstructed them being able to pass through. The preference of the emergency services is for use of ANPR but this is not an absolute requirement throughout the scheme. We meet regularly with emergency service colleagues and keep them updated on our plans.

    I live on a street with an LTN restriction. Do these proposed changes mean I can now drive through?

    No. The trial is still underway, and the planters and bollard restrictions remain in place. We are only proposing ANPR on three streets (Divinity Road, James Street and Magdalen Road) and if that is approved, limited exemptions will apply. Every street in the area will continue to be accessible but may require taking a slightly different route.

    I use a wheelchair or mobility scooter; can I still travel through the restrictions?

    Yes, wheelchairs and mobility scooters can travel through the filters.

    What about people who are already cycling and scooting through the restrictions?

    You can still cycle, scoot, walk or wheel through the planter and bollard restrictions as before. We expect cyclists and scooter/trial e-scooter riders (and all other road users) to conduct themselves responsibly, and travel safely, being mindful and considerate of others.

    I am a motorbike rider; can I travel through the restrictions?

    No, motorbikes cannot travel through the restrictions as they are not exempt. 

    Are ambulance response times being affected by the east Oxford LTNs?

    We have included a snapshot evaluation report as part of this consultation, and the report includes data that models ambulance response times.

    The data simulates a delay in response times and is based on re-routing the vehicles rather than allowing emergency services to take the bollards down, as they can now.

    A full analysis of the impact of the east Oxford LTNs is being undertaken over the summer and will be published to support the cabinet decision, expected in October, on whether the LTNs should become permanent.

    Following ongoing engagement with the emergency services, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is one of the improvements being proposed as part of this consultation, and would enable emergency services to pass through three key locations. ANPR would only be introduced if the council decides to continue with these LTNs.

    How long will the consultation run?

    The consultation will run from 12 noon on 5 June to 5pm on 17 July 2023.

    How can I get involved?

    From 5 June 2023 you will be able to share your views on by:

    • Completing our survey online by visiting the survey page.
    • Requesting a paper copy by emailing eastoxfordltn@oxfordshire.gov.uk or writing to us at County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND – marking the envelope: East Oxford LTNs – six-week consultation.
    • Sending us your thoughts and any concerns or suggestions you may have by email or written letter to the addresses above before 5pm on 20 July 2023.

    What if I don’t have access to the internet?

    You can contact Oxfordshire County Council and ask for a paper copy of the survey. Paper survey copies can also be picked up and dropped off at Oxfordshire County Library (in the Westgate) and Cowley Library.

    I want to share my opinion, are there any other ways?

    You can email the project team at eastoxfordltn@oxfordshire.gov.uk, write to them at County Hall or contact your local county councillor who will raise your views with the council.