Lower speed limits are to be introduced alongside improvements to a major route into Oxford – but a campaigner argues they should have been introduced sooner.
The Kidlington roundabout revamp will also feature new and improved bus lanes, segregated cycle routes and paths and new cycle and pedestrian crossings.
The revamp was given the green light by Councillor Duncan Enright (Lab, Witney North & East), Cabinet Member for travel and development strategy at Oxfordshire County Council.
As part of that, the current 40 miles-per-hour (mph) limits will be reduced to 30 on approaches to the roundabout.
While welcomed, Peter Barnett questioned why the speed elements had not been sanctioned sooner.
He cited the council’s Vision Zero policy – a commitment to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from road traffic collisions in Oxfordshire – and the death of Ellen Moilanen, also known as El Len Tham, following a collision with a lorry near the roundabout in February 2022.
“On Wednesday of next week, it will be one year since Ellen Moilanen was killed at the junction of the A4165,” he said.
“Two weeks later, a letter was delivered to Bill Cotton (Oxfordshire County Council’s director for environment & place), copied to the council’s CEO (Stephen Chandler), saying there were some immediate actions that must be taken. One of them was making that stretch of road a 30 mph speed limit.
“Here we are, nearly one year later, with no speed limit reduction and only now a TRO (traffic regulation order) being put forward for your consideration.
“Twelve months; why did it have to take so long? Is there a better way to do this? Did this TRO really have to be lumped in with the roundabout and the forthcoming development? Could it have been expedited separately?”
Mr Barnett added: “If the council is serious about Vision Zero, then the changes in culture and working practices need to happen quickly.
“Experience from other organisations shows that changes need to be led and driven from the very top – by the CEO and Corporate Director – driven and monitored down through the organisation constantly and iteratively until the changes are well embedded. Barriers to these changes need to be removed.
“Many congratulations on the commitment to Vision Zero – a bold, country-leading commitment – but we need you to act faster.”
Councillor Enright reflected on “points really well made” and the “good challenge” presented by Mr Barnett.
Aron Wisdom, the county’s programme lead on the Kidlington roundabout project, said: “I will take that back to the traffic and road safety team to understand why it was not expedited as quickly as we may have liked.”
The overall project will now move forward to the detailed design and construction stage following Councillor Enright’s approval.
“I am very grateful for the comments here, none of which indicate we should do anything other than press ahead with the scheme, although there are some useful notes for the detailed design and delivery,” he said.
“I wish everyone good luck in delivering it speedily and well.”