Oxford Mail - 03/02/2006
An injection of parking spaces
Moves to improve access to the John Radcliffe and other Headington hospitals will see bus lanes created and more hospital car parking.

Efforts to improve transport links to the hospitals are being introduced in the lead-up to services and 1,200 staff being transferred from the Radcliffe Infirmary to the JR.

Improvements will begin with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust creating two new bus-only road links to Saxon Way and London Road, via Osler Road.

These will enable buses to reach the JR more directly and allow a higher frequency of service from the city centre via Northway, and from Cowley via central Headington.

The trust will also upgrade the bus terminus and stops at the JR, with the council planning a Real Time Passenger information display. It plans to increase parking spaces at the JR from 500 to 800, and put in an extra 100 spaces at the Churchill.

Underground car parking will be created under the JR's new west wing and under the new children's hospital, with a new car park created near the Women's Centre. An innovative car parking deck will also provide 100 extra spaces above an existing car park.

With staff and services due to move from the Radcliffe Infirmary next January, the trust and the county council promised 12 months of intensive action to improve access to the hospitals.

Plans to expand the Headington hospitals led some residents to predict traffic chaos on the area's already congested roads. The trust and County Hall are now also exploring ways of establishing a direct bus service from a park-and-ride. A new bus ticketing scheme may also be piloted so people will only need to buy one ticket to travel to the hospital, even if they need to change buses.

County council deputy leader David Robertson said: "The clock is ticking in the countdown to the opening of the new buildings at the JR. It is crucial that transport improvements are made to make access to the hospitals easier."

Ian Humphries, director of estates and facilities for the trust, said: "With these improved bus services, our staff, patients and visitors will benefit from having more convenient and faster ways of getting to the Headington hospitals."