Friday, 25 June 2021

Relief road would ease congestion

A WATLINGTON bypass would reduce congestion even if 3,000 new homes are built at Chalgrove Airfield, according to a report.

Oxfordshire County Council commissioned the study by engineering firm AECOM into the effect of removing on-street parking.

It comes as Homes England, a government agency, proposes to redevelop the airfield, which it owns.

The agency has committed to part-fund the planned “edge road”, which is seen as key to alleviating congestion and improving air quality in the town centre.

The Watlington Parking Study says: “The provision of an edge road, even with the addition of Chalgrove Airfield traffic in 2033, would result in less delay, shorter queues and improved journey compared with the situation in 2016.

“The edge road would provide significant traffic congestion and air quality benefits.

“The removal of parking on Couching Street will result in short-term journey time benefits in both northbound and southbound directions.

“However, by 2033, while there will be some northbound benefits, southbound journey times will increase significantly.

“Queuing at the central pinch point will remain comparable with or without parking in the short term, although there will be a brief spike in the northbound direction with parking removed.

“By 2033 the removal of parking on Couching Street will result in major increases in queuing at the central pinch point in both directions.”

Last year, it was revealed that parking in Couching Street and Shirburn Street could be banned on a trial basis to see if it improves air quality.

South Oxfordshire District Council suggested creating a “freight clearway” in its draft low emissions strategy.

This is despite opposition by the parish council and residents who say it could increase the risk of accidents and mean there is too little parking space in the town.

The bypass proposal is part of the Watlington neighbourhood plan, which names three sites for up to 260 new homes.

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