Oxfordshire County Council has fast-tracked the closure of Chilton Road in Upton to general traffic. This is part of the council's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The temporary scheme will enable us to gather feedback as we work with the council on a more permanent solution.
The aim of the closure is to provide more space for people to walk, wheel and cycle in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Paths for Everyone review
Sustrans highlighted Chilton Road - a section of the National Cycle Network - as a priority for improvement during our Paths for Everyone review in 2018.
And in 2019 the Department for Transport awarded us £177,000 to reduce traffic speeds and volumes on this stretch of Route 544.
The aim of the funding is to make it easier and safer for people to use active modes of travel to reach the nearby Harwell Campus for work.
It will also enable people to enjoy the route for leisure purposes.
At the moment many are put off by the fast-moving traffic on the short section of Route 544 that runs on the road.
Moving from temporary to permanent
The County Council is currently using a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order and water-filled barriers to close the road to motor vehicles.
But the original 2019 funding award will enable permanent measures to be put in place. And we will continue to work with the council to consult on the plans for that permanent solution.
An opportunity to gather feedback
James Cleeton, Sustrans director for the south of England, said:
“We’ve worked with Oxfordshire County Council and local residents since 2019 to find solutions to make it easier and safer for people to use this section of the National Cycle Network.
“So we’re pleased to see the Council fast-tracking parts of this project.
"Closing the road to general traffic will help people walking, wheeling and cycling to socially distance and get regular exercise.
"It will also improve road safety in the village of Upton and on Route 544.
“The temporary scheme will help us gain valuable feedback as we plan the longer-term interventions on this road.
"We want to ensure Chilton Road is a safe section of the National Cycle Network, which everyone can enjoy.”