Oxford

Council votes to ban buses from Queen Street in Oxford

Queen Street, Oxford Image copyright Lewis Clarke
Image caption Oxfordshire County Council prohibited buses, taxis and private hire vehicles from using Queen Street in June

Councillors have voted to ban buses and taxis from Queen Street in Oxford for six months because of safety concerns.

The city centre road was made pedestrians only from June to November during the redevelopment of the Westgate Shopping Centre.

Now Oxfordshire County Council has agreed to continue the policy when the centre reopens because of the predicted increase in pedestrians.

The "experimental traffic order" still has to be signed off by the government.

The closure has also been blamed for increasing pressure on other city centre roads.

'Concern over pedestrian safety'

When the shopping centre is finished next year there are expected to be 11 million more people using it.

Council officers have estimated the number of pedestrians using the road will increase by 145% from 4,000 per hour up to 9,800 per hour.

They have also calculated that at present, 48 buses per hour use the road.

Officers said in their report that assurances from the bus companies "do not remove our concern over pedestrian safety".

But transport boss David Nimmo Smith said he was worried it would cause increased bus traffic in other roads such as St Aldates, which he described as an "architectural gem".

The Secretary of State for Transport will now have to approve the plan before it comes into effect.

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