Oxford and Cambridge could become the UK’s first true cycling cities
Both cities are seeking ways to transport expanding populations without impacting their historic centres, yet the simplest solution is staring them in the face
Sometimes politics really does overlook the obvious, and there’s a fine example just now in those two great centres of clear thinking and clogged traffic, Oxford and Cambridge. Here is the problem. The country wants, and badly needs, to build on these cities’ success in tech, bioscience and other industries: 129,000 new jobs and 135,000 new homes are planned in and around them over the next decade or so. But first you have to plan how to transport all the new people, and none of the usual answers works.
Even if new roadbuilding were an answer in any city, it can’t be in these two. Their historic centres are inviolable, their electorates implacable. Gone, thank God, are the days when plans could be drawn up for a new highway through Christ Church Meadow. More buses? Both cities’ centres are already choked with them. Metros? Vastly expensive and disruptive, years to build, and couldn’t hope to serve most of the journeys people will need to make.