Two-way road fight goes on

First published in Didcot Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

A DIDCOT county councillor is vowing to fight a report which has dashed hopes of improving access to the town’s largest estate.

Motorists can drive out of the 3,500-home Ladygrove estate using the Cow Lane tunnel under the railway line, but have to drive all around the A4130 ring road when they want to get back.

In 2010, a trial was proposed to test two-way traffic through Cow Lane tunnel leading from Station Road next to Didcot Parkway to the Ladygrove estate.

But the £25,000 experiment, backed by Bill Service, county councillor for Didcot Ladygrove, was not supported by the Labour-run town council and the test did not go ahead.

Now, a report by consultants AECOM, on the future of Didcot and the surrounding area, says making the tunnel two-way should not go ahead, and urges residents instead to rely on “more sustainable travel” including buses.

The 115-page report was based on public consultation in February about how the area should be developed as a result of Harwell Oxford science park and Milton Park business park being named as part of the Science Vale Enterprise Zone.

The report has not yet been made public and the Oxford Mail/ obtained a copy using the Freedom of Information Act.

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Mr Service said: “There are about 7,000 people living on the Ladygrove estate and it doesn’t make sense in the 21st century that they have to take a detour to get home after a night out.

“If I go to the Conservative club in Foxhall Road it costs me £7 to get a taxi home at night.

“It’s all very well for this report to recommend that people on the estate use more sustainable forms of transport but only minibuses – 17-seaters – can get through the tunnel.

“I have been campaigning for Cow Lane tunnel to be made two-way for years and I will continue to keep banging on about it.

“At the moment the county council won’t consider it.”

The AECOM report says: “It is considered that opening up this link to two-way car traffic is likely to have the effect of encouraging greater car use for local trips between Ladygrove, North East Didcot and the town centre, rather than encourage more sustainable travel.

“Any potential options for this part of the transport network may need to focus on priority measures for buses, and improving the tunnel for pedestrians and cyclists, to encourage more short trips into the town centre.”Traffic was two-way until 2003.

Comments (11)

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2:40pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Myron Blatz says...

Trying to ignore the needs of people who live on these large estates, is plain DAFT! The notion that expanding the housing won't expand demand for car use, is also stoopid - and proves just how unconnected with reality are the Planners, who gleefully 'tick boxes' in providing more housing, but seem incapable of equating more housing and people, to more car use. As for bus provision, whilst this must always be encouraged, there is no way that the 'average Family shop' at supermarkets can be accommodated on buses, not to mention that most large supermarkets are built out-of-town or, not on bus routes - and nor do people want to pay the extra charges on food and other essentials for 'convenience stores' which the Coop and other supermarkets now build, though usually not with sufficient parking space in town and city centres. This is true for the elderly, the disabled AND for young parents with children - so it's not just 'them old people moaning' which local authorities, planners and councillors so often quote.
Trying to ignore the needs of people who live on these large estates, is plain DAFT! The notion that expanding the housing won't expand demand for car use, is also stoopid - and proves just how unconnected with reality are the Planners, who gleefully 'tick boxes' in providing more housing, but seem incapable of equating more housing and people, to more car use. As for bus provision, whilst this must always be encouraged, there is no way that the 'average Family shop' at supermarkets can be accommodated on buses, not to mention that most large supermarkets are built out-of-town or, not on bus routes - and nor do people want to pay the extra charges on food and other essentials for 'convenience stores' which the Coop and other supermarkets now build, though usually not with sufficient parking space in town and city centres. This is true for the elderly, the disabled AND for young parents with children - so it's not just 'them old people moaning' which local authorities, planners and councillors so often quote. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Wed 5 Dec 12

livid99 says...

Wasn't the Cow Lane tunnel 2 way before ? I'm sure it was, before they built the Orchard Centre
Wasn't the Cow Lane tunnel 2 way before ? I'm sure it was, before they built the Orchard Centre livid99
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Wed 5 Dec 12

H.J.Harris says...

Is the tunnel wide enough to accommodate two way traffic or would it need traffic lights which could lead to queues ?
Vehicles are so much wider now than those of days gone by.
To build a new tunnel or widen the existing one would be very costly in terms of money and disruption to the train services.
Is the tunnel wide enough to accommodate two way traffic or would it need traffic lights which could lead to queues ? Vehicles are so much wider now than those of days gone by. To build a new tunnel or widen the existing one would be very costly in terms of money and disruption to the train services. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Improve access to the Ladygrove estate?

That's easy. Build a new bridge over the Thames half way between Appleford & Long Wittenham and link the A415 with the B4016 at the junction of Didcot Road & Ladygrove.

Then close the current bridge at Long Wittenham to all but Pedestrians, cycles and horses. This would significantly improve the lives of people in Long Wittenham (but still allow easy access to the health centre and school just over the bridge).

It would also allow people of Dorchester/Nuneham Courtenay/Sandford/L
ittlemore/Greater Leys easier access to their most convenient major National Rail station.
Improve access to the Ladygrove estate? That's easy. Build a new bridge over the Thames half way between Appleford & Long Wittenham and link the A415 with the B4016 at the junction of Didcot Road & Ladygrove. Then close the current bridge at Long Wittenham to all but Pedestrians, cycles and horses. This would significantly improve the lives of people in Long Wittenham (but still allow easy access to the health centre and school just over the bridge). It would also allow people of Dorchester/Nuneham Courtenay/Sandford/L ittlemore/Greater Leys easier access to their most convenient major National Rail station. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Diddyman says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Improve access to the Ladygrove estate? That's easy. Build a new bridge over the Thames half way between Appleford & Long Wittenham and link the A415 with the B4016 at the junction of Didcot Road & Ladygrove. Then close the current bridge at Long Wittenham to all but Pedestrians, cycles and horses. This would significantly improve the lives of people in Long Wittenham (but still allow easy access to the health centre and school just over the bridge). It would also allow people of Dorchester/Nuneham Courtenay/Sandford/L ittlemore/Greater Leys easier access to their most convenient major National Rail station.
They are on about The Ladygrove not Wittenham!!?

Cow Lane has been there for years, before The Ladygrove was there it was an old country road with a few farm buildings along it and you could get to Appleford etc. The bridge is to narrow for 2 lanes, maybe traffic lights could work as you have them there anyway? Would just mean a few more seconds delay? Have the lights there with the green arrows to filter the traffic thru when it's their turn to go under the bridge? Not rocket science is it!!

Andrew, if you want to improve the life of people living in Long Wittenham then maybe ask people to stop parking all along the main road when they drop their children off to school! I was told some time back that The Plough pub said people could park in their carpark and walk their children to school from there? Not many people bother though do they!! So many people don't give way along that road when they should, maybe filter lights here are needed?
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Improve access to the Ladygrove estate? That's easy. Build a new bridge over the Thames half way between Appleford & Long Wittenham and link the A415 with the B4016 at the junction of Didcot Road & Ladygrove. Then close the current bridge at Long Wittenham to all but Pedestrians, cycles and horses. This would significantly improve the lives of people in Long Wittenham (but still allow easy access to the health centre and school just over the bridge). It would also allow people of Dorchester/Nuneham Courtenay/Sandford/L ittlemore/Greater Leys easier access to their most convenient major National Rail station.[/p][/quote]They are on about The Ladygrove not Wittenham!!? Cow Lane has been there for years, before The Ladygrove was there it was an old country road with a few farm buildings along it and you could get to Appleford etc. The bridge is to narrow for 2 lanes, maybe traffic lights could work as you have them there anyway? Would just mean a few more seconds delay? Have the lights there with the green arrows to filter the traffic thru when it's their turn to go under the bridge? Not rocket science is it!! Andrew, if you want to improve the life of people living in Long Wittenham then maybe ask people to stop parking all along the main road when they drop their children off to school! I was told some time back that The Plough pub said people could park in their carpark and walk their children to school from there? Not many people bother though do they!! So many people don't give way along that road when they should, maybe filter lights here are needed? Diddyman
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Thu 6 Dec 12

King Joke says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Trying to ignore the needs of people who live on these large estates, is plain DAFT! The notion that expanding the housing won't expand demand for car use, is also stoopid - and proves just how unconnected with reality are the Planners, who gleefully 'tick boxes' in providing more housing, but seem incapable of equating more housing and people, to more car use. As for bus provision, whilst this must always be encouraged, there is no way that the 'average Family shop' at supermarkets can be accommodated on buses, not to mention that most large supermarkets are built out-of-town or, not on bus routes - and nor do people want to pay the extra charges on food and other essentials for 'convenience stores' which the Coop and other supermarkets now build, though usually not with sufficient parking space in town and city centres. This is true for the elderly, the disabled AND for young parents with children - so it's not just 'them old people moaning' which local authorities, planners and councillors so often quote.
THe bus is more than capable of catering for people's shopping needs. It's simple - get most of your groceries delivered once a month/week depending on your pay cycle, and buy the fresh stuff in town every 2-3 days when you're on the way home from work or in town for some other reason. It's quite easy to take this home on the bus.

All the major supermarkets deliver.

30% of households in this country don't have a car, how do you think they manage to eat?
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Trying to ignore the needs of people who live on these large estates, is plain DAFT! The notion that expanding the housing won't expand demand for car use, is also stoopid - and proves just how unconnected with reality are the Planners, who gleefully 'tick boxes' in providing more housing, but seem incapable of equating more housing and people, to more car use. As for bus provision, whilst this must always be encouraged, there is no way that the 'average Family shop' at supermarkets can be accommodated on buses, not to mention that most large supermarkets are built out-of-town or, not on bus routes - and nor do people want to pay the extra charges on food and other essentials for 'convenience stores' which the Coop and other supermarkets now build, though usually not with sufficient parking space in town and city centres. This is true for the elderly, the disabled AND for young parents with children - so it's not just 'them old people moaning' which local authorities, planners and councillors so often quote.[/p][/quote]THe bus is more than capable of catering for people's shopping needs. It's simple - get most of your groceries delivered once a month/week depending on your pay cycle, and buy the fresh stuff in town every 2-3 days when you're on the way home from work or in town for some other reason. It's quite easy to take this home on the bus. All the major supermarkets deliver. 30% of households in this country don't have a car, how do you think they manage to eat? King Joke
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Ellie the Bruce says...

There is absolutely no practical reason why this route can not be opened up to two way traffic. There are already two lanes on both sides of the lights, so one could act as a filter for people trying to get back the way they came from the Ladygrove estate.
And the suggestion that opening it up would create more road users is ridiculous - pedestrians can walk both ways under this tunnel already - why would someone who already walks this route swap to using a car simply because they can cut 3-4 miles from their journey?
Surely this should be about giving people more convenient access by cutting the amount of miles that they need to drive - and let's not just assume that these are the only few miles that people are using their cars for.
There was 2 way access before and it worked fine. I say bring it back or AT THE VERY LEAST give the people that this affects the opportunity to have their say with a vote and not pay for a consultancy to come up with some, quite frankly, ridiculous statements.
There is absolutely no practical reason why this route can not be opened up to two way traffic. There are already two lanes on both sides of the lights, so one could act as a filter for people trying to get back the way they came from the Ladygrove estate. And the suggestion that opening it up would create more road users is ridiculous - pedestrians can walk both ways under this tunnel already - why would someone who already walks this route swap to using a car simply because they can cut 3-4 miles from their journey? Surely this should be about giving people more convenient access by cutting the amount of miles that they need to drive - and let's not just assume that these are the only few miles that people are using their cars for. There was 2 way access before and it worked fine. I say bring it back or AT THE VERY LEAST give the people that this affects the opportunity to have their say with a vote and not pay for a consultancy to come up with some, quite frankly, ridiculous statements. Ellie the Bruce
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Adrian1 says...

The Cow Lane tunnel was two way prior to the juction being made into a cross road by the addition of Hitchcock Way. There was a lot less traffic at that junction then. A few points to consider. The childrens play area next to the road is currently in plain sight of decelerating motorists from one direction. Opening it up to two way traffic introduces accelerating blinkered and hidden vehicles from a second direction. Spacing the traffic back the distance of the tunnel and clearance would require re-timing the lights that currently see delays and jamming at peak times already due to weight of traffic, this would add perhaps an additional 10 - 20 seconds per change, maybe more, doesn't sound a lot but it builds queues along the main route through. I do find it annoying that I have a mile and a bit additional journey on pick ups going into the estate, but egress is easier. In the event the tunnel had money available to make it two lane then I suspect it may be a viable proposition, but I rather suspect that it will remain as is and whilst I'm not too bothered either way I would feel our intrepid councillor might better direct their energies to other issues more likely to generate a positive outcome for the community.
The Cow Lane tunnel was two way prior to the juction being made into a cross road by the addition of Hitchcock Way. There was a lot less traffic at that junction then. A few points to consider. The childrens play area next to the road is currently in plain sight of decelerating motorists from one direction. Opening it up to two way traffic introduces accelerating blinkered and hidden vehicles from a second direction. Spacing the traffic back the distance of the tunnel and clearance would require re-timing the lights that currently see delays and jamming at peak times already due to weight of traffic, this would add perhaps an additional 10 - 20 seconds per change, maybe more, doesn't sound a lot but it builds queues along the main route through. I do find it annoying that I have a mile and a bit additional journey on pick ups going into the estate, but egress is easier. In the event the tunnel had money available to make it two lane then I suspect it may be a viable proposition, but I rather suspect that it will remain as is and whilst I'm not too bothered either way I would feel our intrepid councillor might better direct their energies to other issues more likely to generate a positive outcome for the community. Adrian1
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Mon 10 Dec 12

StaceyHume says...

Leave the marsh dwellers as is, already had enough money spent on them.
Leave the marsh dwellers as is, already had enough money spent on them. StaceyHume
  • Score: 0

9:33am Tue 18 Dec 12

jayzee says...

When the tunnel was two way with traffic lights it worked OK. It was then closed and speed humps put on its approach that were too high for anything except 4x4 to get over. Result was - stopped shopping in didcot because too much hassle to get there and back
When the tunnel was two way with traffic lights it worked OK. It was then closed and speed humps put on its approach that were too high for anything except 4x4 to get over. Result was - stopped shopping in didcot because too much hassle to get there and back jayzee
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Wed 19 Dec 12

hesperus says...

Cow Lane Bridge is already a significant bottle neck one way. Last week I was held there on the main road for two light cycles due to traffic and pedestrians. The bridge either needs widening or restricting to pedestrians only.
The Ladygrove development was ill planned and poorly developed. Access was never properly considered.
It is not that far round by car although I accept it is an issue for a few who seem unable to drive the short distance involved.
Cow Lane Bridge is already a significant bottle neck one way. Last week I was held there on the main road for two light cycles due to traffic and pedestrians. The bridge either needs widening or restricting to pedestrians only. The Ladygrove development was ill planned and poorly developed. Access was never properly considered. It is not that far round by car although I accept it is an issue for a few who seem unable to drive the short distance involved. hesperus
  • Score: 0

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