John Cobb, FLAG member who has been instrumental in researching the traffic flow around the Parish with John Bradley has sent through the following letter to the Oxford Times. If you have more to say on the matter, please send your own letters in too by following this link.
Your two recent articles about the dangers of the A420, both to users and to those who live and work nearby, make sobering reading. No doubt the deplorable accident statistics will be used to argue that the A420 must be ‘improved’. Indeed, many small improvements for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and bus users are urgently needed. But it would be fallacious to propose improvement by widening it or making it a dual carriageway to cope with an ever-growing number of commuters. The road carries too much traffic already. Past experience shows that such improvements simply attract more traffic. The solution is to reduce the traffic. The current development plans for Oxfordshire will achieve precisely the opposite.
Many of the large new housing developments planned for the county are remote from jobs and everyday facilities. Residents of these dormitories will be obliged to use their cars for everything. One thousand new houses feeding cars onto the A420 would increase the average volume of traffic by nearly twenty five percent. And many more houses than that are planned. In the time – probably twenty years – that any substantial improvements could be made to the A420 and other Oxfordshire roads, the current paradigm of commuting from outlying towns and villages to work in Oxford, Swindon and Science Vale will almost certainly have become unworkable.
The proper long term solution to the problem of ever-increasing traffic and its resultant consequences is to locate homes appropriately – close to employment and with good public transport. The District councils must now rethink their local plans and abandon their schemes to site large developments in inappropriate places. With some imagination the planners could – and should – ensure a sustainable and safe future for the coming generations.