J & I went to Paddington Station. I couldn’t take my bike as there were engineering works in Kent so getting back home would be difficult in the dark.
The journey to Oxford only took an hour. When we got off the train, packs of tourists swamped Oxford Station. It felt worse than London. Everywhere you saw in Oxford were Tourist ‘Caterpillers’.
When we left the station we saw loads of bicycles on racks just like in Holland. I couldn’t believe it. Some even had pretty flowers. Most of the women cyclists looked urbanchic, very stylish with nice coats and hats.
I was very surprised to see that there were hardly any cars in the central streets of Oxford. It was very pleasant. It looked like the congestion was controlled very well. It was also fairly quiet. Many of the roads of devoid of cars completely. In London, there is an awful din of the motorcyclists, 18T trucks and other motor vehicles. There were some ASLs too and some roads didn’t allow heavy trucks. It was so nice round there you would really take in the wonderful architecture that wasn’t as filthy as London’s.
We went to Hertford College where J studied, Trinity (my Grandfather) and saw Boris Johnson’s College. Outside his college it was virtually traffic free. At J’s collegue we saw the notice board which had loads of posters about rowing & tennis clubs.
There was an exhibition on the Earth from the Air outside Oxford museum which was very thought provoking. It made me more aware of what humans are doing to to the environment. Unfortunately, it is not coming to London even though Londoners would benefit from seeing the exhibition.
Afterwards we had a nice meal at the Jamaican Restaurant along Cowley Road and headed towards London at about 9pm.
So a very enjoyable day indeed. It was far more pleasant than London. It is really horrible to come back here where it is noisy, filthy and polluted – and pro-motorist. Oxford is real Cycling City.
Oxford is the heart of education and J said that it takes about 30 years for ‘knowledge’ to hit London. So maybe, when it is 30 years from now, London will actually be a better place, rather like Oxford, and maybe more cycling friendly.
Oxford is starting to become more pedestrianised (which was a great shock to me) and here is some spiel from the council:-
“Why are you doing all this?
We want to transform central Oxford’s streets to make the city centre a much more pleasant place for everyone.
There are currently too many buses, poor air quality that exceeds health guidelines, dirty, cluttered streets and poor quality paving. We want to achieve the standard of pedestrian experience that the city deserves while maintaining good access for everyone. This will be good for businesses, good for visitors and, above all, good for residents of Oxfordshire.
Which streets will be pedestrianised?
By 2013, our vision is for Queen Street, George Street, Magdalen Street and Broad Street to be fully pedestrianised, along with Cornmarket which is pedestrianised already
High Street and St Aldate’s will be part of a pedestrian priority zone with many fewer buses and a more pedestrian friendly street design.
When will these changes to the city centre happen?
They will not happen overnight. We plan to introduce this ambitious plan in stages:
In 2009, we propose to remove the bus stops from Queen Street, reduce the number of buses passing through the street, widen the pavement areas and improve the road and pavement surfaces.
In 2010, we propose to pedestrianise George Street (as far as the entrance to the bus station), Magdalen Street and Broad Street.
In 2011/12 we propose to reduce the number of buses in St Aldate’s and High Street. These streets will become part of a pedestrian priority zone with a more pedestrian friendly street design”
and WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT IS MAKING
Why is London so behind?
Maybe we should move the Capital to Oxford?!