A petition to keep busy road in Bicester open despite more frequent train activity at the level crossing has now received 1,400 signatures.

The London Road level crossing in Bicester has been a point of contention for years, with drivers claiming that the length of barrier down time causes them delays.  

East West Rail (EWR) – the rail link between Oxford and Cambridge that runs through Bicester – advised last year that train services through Bicester will become more frequent, and therefore delays at the crossing may become worse.

More frequent train activity through Bicester may mean the crossing will be closed for up to 50 minutes in every hour.   

Last year EWR held a consultation with the Bicester public asking for their views on six different proposals to solve the issue, including a bridge, underpass and complete closure of London Road.   

EWR’s first phase - which saw the creation of the Western section which operates services between Oxford and Bicester - was completed in December 2016.

The second phase centres on ERW’s wider proposal to connect Oxford to Cambridge and involves track and signalling upgrades between Bicester, Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.

Councillors Donna Ford, Michael Waine, Calum Miller and independent councillor Les Sibley wrote a joint letter to EWR calling for London Road to remain open to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.  

Councillor Nick Mawer, Mayor of Bicester, said: “We have to find a fix for vehicles. We need either an over or an underpass. There are potential routes for a bridge that haven’t been fully explored.”

He added: “Residents of London Road would rather their road be turned into a quiet cul-de-sac; they’d be happy if there wasn’t two-way traffic thundering across the railway line.”

Nick also mentioned the Bicester Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, and pointed towards the fact that 3 of the proposed solutions suggest that the London Road crossing is going to be closed to promote cycling and walking in town.  

He said: “Personally, I don’t think people should be compelled to walk or cycle. Encouragement to cycle is okay, and for us to improve infrastructure, but the majority of people in Bicester are still motorists, and it’s not right that motorists should be penalised to favour walkers and cyclists. There’s no real issue with walking in Bicester, we have plenty of footpaths, it’s mostly for cyclists.

He further stated: “I will carry on campaigning for a tunnel or a bridge, the tunnel would be the least visually intrusive, but also the most expensive option.

“East West Rail don’t want to pay for it.”


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