FRIDESWIDE SQUARE (5)
The transformation of Frideswide Square from a cluttered, congested junction to a welcoming and imposing public space is a key priority for the West End Partnership and Oxfordshire County Council. Frideswide Square is one of Oxford's most important public spaces, yet it is dominated by traffic and highway infrastructure, making it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate. For an internationally acclaimed city, famous for its architecture, scholarship and history, it is a disappointing introduction for visitors arriving at this western gateway.
Following extensive stakeholder and public consultation in 2010-11 (visit our Public Consultation Diary to view the documentation), a high quality scheme has been proposed which would reclaim Frideswide Square as public space, giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users whilst allowing the necessary flow of traffic to move smoothly but slowly through the space.
Two preferred design options have emerged from the extensive background and feasibility work conducted to date. This work included a series of design workshops which drew on examples of public squares around the globe with similar challenges - namely striking a balance between traffic and pedestrians whilst incorporating quality design and construction. Both options are based on the “shared space” principle which would see traffic lights replaced with compact roundabouts, reduced road widths and courtesy crossing points.
The implementation of the improvements to Frideswide Square will be carefully phased to coordinate with other major West End projects such as Oxford Station, Westgate and Oxpens, as well as the areas immediately surrounding the square (Becket Street, the Southside and the Island Site) to cause minimum disruption as the work progresses. It is hoped these much-anticipated improvements will create a Frideswide Square local residents can be proud of and pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can navigate with ease.
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