Healthy streets surveys in Florence Park and Headington Quarry
Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, are leading research with over 1,200 households in the Florence Park area to find out what they think about their local neighbourhood, particularly the ‘health’ of their streets.
The Mayor of London and Transport for London have adopted a Healthy Streets Approach in their design of streets, to encourage more Londoners to walk, cycle and use public transport, with an important co-benefit of reducing their carbon footprint. They aim to improve air quality, reduce congestion and help make London’s diverse communities greener, healthier and more attractive places to live, work, play and do business. Lucy Saunders who developed this approach for TfL came to talk to us in Oxford in November about what the Healthy Streets approach is and how it could be applied in our city.
There is considerable interest in developing low traffic neighbourhoods like the inspirational Waltham Forest Mini Holland, which many members of our coalition have visited. The Healthy Streets Approach, which is now used as an assessment tool in all street developments in London, provides the framework for putting human health and well being at the heart of planning, allowing local communities and other users of streets to assess the quality of their environment. It is now a widely used and accepted tool with a set of ten indicators and 21 questions.
Two communities in Oxford, the Quarry and Florence Park, are interested in adopting this approach. Residents in Florence Park are already in the bottom-up process of pressing for a low traffic neighbourhood. CoHSAT member, Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, are leading research with over 1,200 households in the Florence Park area to find out what they think about their local neighbourhood, particularly the ‘health’ of their streets. This will provide us with a statistical baseline for introducing measures to encourage modal shift from motor vehicles to more active transport and also give us the skills to roll this out to other areas.
The survey will close on Monday 5th August 2019. Click here to find out more about the survey.
Over the year, there has been substantial progress in plans to reduce traffic flows in the Florence Park area of South Oxford. The process started with four group visits to the London Borough of Waltham Forest, to see what is required to create a ‘mini-Holland’. These visits resulted in considerable enthusiasm and a real understanding of the benefits and challenges involved.
Several talks and a survey of the residents of Florence Park is creating a consensus that something needs to be done to reduce rat-runs, make cycling to school safer and generally make the area a pleasant place to walk around. Draft plans are being considered and there is strong support from local councillors. The process is well underway, but will take more time to come to real fruition and depends upon actions and investment by the councils.
Meanwhile, the success of Florence Park has inspired the inclusion of seven more low-traffic neighbourhoods in the Oxford local cycling and walking infrastructure plan (LCWIP) that it is hoped will be approved by the councils in March 2020. The team in Florence Park are committed to helping these seven, or any others, understand the process of establishing a low-traffic neighbourhood.