Andrew Gilligan is putting forward cycling as a solution to
transport problems in Oxford and Cambridge. He has written a report
for the National Infrastructure Commission, in which he says
that protected bike lanes are needed to stop the cities seizing up.
129,00 new jobs and 135,000 new houses are planned in and around
the two cities in the next ten years, but they are both congested.
The intellectual centres are planning light rail, busways, and
rapid transit networks, but Gilligan believes that cycling is the
real rapid transit network. 'New roadbuilding within these cities is
impossible. Light rail is expensive and slow to deliver. There isn't
even room in the centres of these cities for more buses. But one
simple answer is staring Oxford and Cambridge in the face: the
bicycle. Getting more people to cycle is the quickest, cheapest, and
least disruptive way to relieve pressure on their roads.'
He says that 43% of journeys entirely within Cambridge are by bike,
and the corresponding figure for Oxford is 27%. In Oxford's case,
there has been no help from local authorities to encourage cycling.
Cambridge is better, but has relied on off-road and side-street
routes, while the main roads are designed for cars and are awful for
cycling. In both cities, there is scope for much more travel by
Gilligan recommends £200 million for improvements, which he says is
a lot by cycling standards, but not by any other standards. The
government is spending five times more on a single road project near
The former London cycling commissioner wants to see five
high-quality segregated or low-traffic routes in and around Oxford,
continuing out to Eynsham, Kidlington, and Wheatley; an improvement
to the standard of main road routes in Cambridge, and new
cross-country routes serving the villages around the city; and
congestion charging or some other traffic reduction measures.
Gilligan's report also deals with Milton Keynes, where he suggests
the creation of an east-west city centre route.