BicesterBUG

Recent News

How do you solve a problem like London Road?
23rd October 2022

How do you solve a problem like London Road?

The London Road level crossing in Bicester is on its way to be closed most of the time when the next phase of East West Rail (EWR) from Bicester to Bletchley and beyond becomes active.  The company responsible for the development of the line therefore wants to find alternatives to the level crossing.  So far EWR have considered a number of options, only one of which focuses on pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooters and all the other plethora of non motorised traffic that crosses the railway at present. The sole option proposed for pedestrians and cyclists is a footbridge like that next to Garth Park (pictured below)

Best they can offer?

Footbridge connecting Launton Road to Langford over the railway by Garth Park

We feel this proposal from EWR, if implemented, would prove to be hugely problematic to foot and cycle access and simply block many elderly and less mobile residents from accessing the town centre. Multiple switchbacks and a height gain equivalent of 3 storeys is the opposite of accessible but there could be a better way.

Viable, sustainable and inclusive

Inspired by the multitude of active travel underpasses used in other countries and by considering the needs of all ages and abilities of walking, cycling and scooting across the railway we put together a solution which prioritises exactly those residents overlooked by EWR and captures aspects ignored in the other proposed options.  By integrating bus, car, taxi access with simple and easy underpass for residents this is a solution that delivers for Bicester.  Below is a birds eye view of the concept in the context of the existing buildings and infrastructure.

Bird's eye view of a pedestrian and cyclist underpass with taxi rank, parking and bus stops

When viewed from the Langford/East side of the railway (see below) the gentle slope and modest depth of the underpass can be seen next to an extended parking area and bus turning area. The path segregates pedestrians from cyclists to avoid conflict and allow both to proceed at their own pace.

View of underpass from east/Langford side, expanded parking on the left and new bus and taxi area on the right

On the town side the path exits the wide and airy underpass and rises into the existing bar parking avoiding impacting the existing heritage buildings at the current level crossing. From here it is a short walk cycle or scoot to Market Square and beyond.

View on underpass from the town centre side

What now?

We are calling on EWR and the authorities to consider a serious pedestrian/cyclist option for the London Road Level crossing taking account of the obvious drawbacks of their budget footbridge option and the clear benefits of the vision we have outlined.  The people of Bicester deserve it.

Chance to be involved in Active Travel Research
22nd December 2021

Chance to be involved in Active Travel Research

Background

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) have recently made changes to improve cycling and walking in Bicester and Witney. These include improved infrastructure (walking and cycling routes) and projects to help encourage people to try walking and cycling (e.g. bike loans, guided walks). Researchers from the University of Bristol will be conducting some research into this throughout 2022.

The study will look at how two groups of people might be encouraged to walk or cycle more instead of using the car. These groups are

a) people who commute to work

b) older adults between 65 and 75 years.

The research study will collect data throughout 2022 by conducting group discussions and individual interviews with residents of Witney and Bicester.

We are looking for up to six members of the public to work with the research team to advise on how the research is conducted.

Who can get involved?

Individuals who

  • Are interested in research
  • Live in Bicester or Witney
  • Either a) commute to work at least three days a week OR b) are aged between 65-75 years

What is required?

The role of lay panel members is to use their local knowledge and expertise to help design research tools, including recruitment notices, information sheets, and questions the research team will ask during the study.

These materials will be drafted by the research team for lay panel members to comment on. They will be sent these materials by post or email, and invited to comment and advise on how they can be improved during two  online meetings in January/February 2022.

You don’t have to be an expert on research. You will have local knowledge of Witney and Bicester, and what it is like to live there, that will help ensure the research tools are accessible and relevant.

The online meetings will last around one hour and may take place during the day, or early evening depending on  lay panel members’ preference.

The work will take around 3-4 hours in total in January/early February 2022. There will also be an opportunity for some lay panel members to remain involved with the Study Management Group throughout 2022 (though this is optional).

What reward is offered for taking part?

Lay panel members will have the opportunity to shape the research that takes place in their communities.

The University of Bristol will offer payment of £25 per hour. Payment can be by vouchers for those in receipt of state benefits (For those in receipt of state benefit confidential advice is available via the Benefits Advice Service for Involvement)

What do I do if I want to be involved?

You can find out more, or register your interest in taking part, by contacting Tricia Jessiman, the lead researcher for the study. Email Tricia.Jessiman@bristol.ac.uk

Oxfordshire's Celebration of Cycling
18th October 2021

Oxfordshire's Celebration of Cycling

This September, Bicester BUG took part in Oxfordshire’s Celebration of Cycling along with other cycling organisations in the county. If you came along to any of our events, we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.

Our events calendar kicked off with a screening of Motherload held at Coles Bookshop. The documentary followed the journey of people around the globe replacing their cars with cargo bikes, and provided food for thought on how we can replace more car journeys and transport larger loads by bike. This was followed shortly after by two more screenings of Why We Cycle and Together We Cycle at the Eco Business Centre in Elmsbrook. The two films explore Dutch cycling culture, charting the events of a country seemingly ruled by the car to the inspiring images of the cycling society we see today, and led to discussions about where the UK’s cycling infrastructure is in comparison and how we might like to see it develop.

We held our Market Stall at the Bicester Friday Market at the beginning of October, speaking with residents about what they enjoy about cycling in Bicester and what they would like to see improved; common themes of safer cycle routes and more bike parking emerged. To rest our tired legs, we headed off to the Wriggly Monkey for our first Bicester BUG regular social meeting where we had a night of great food and great company. We will be holding these on the first Friday evening of every month, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for location details as the weather changes. We’d love to meet more current and prospective members, so please come along for like-minded talk and good beer.

The celebration culminated in the start of the Women’s Tour where we saw fifty female riders from the local community ride out ahead of the start of the race. It was a fantastic day, and uplifting to see the enthusiasm the town had for the event. We hope that Bicester will make the most of this momentum and make active travel the basis for getting around the town.  

Thank you to everyone who came along to make our Celebration of Cycling events such a success, watch this space for our next plans!

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Current Consultations

EWR London Road Crossing
7th June 2021

EWR London Road Crossing

Recent Consultations

 DriveThru Greggs
2nd August 2021

21/02286/F DriveThru Greggs

NW Bicester Housing (EcoTown)
21st June 2021

21/01630/OUT NW Bicester Housing (EcoTown)

Banbury Road Roundabout
2nd April 2021

Banbury Road Roundabout

Housing at NW Bicester
1st April 2021

21/01630/OUT Housing at NW Bicester

Symmetry Park
21st December 2020

20/03404/F Symmetry Park