Plans for a traffic-free Oxford Street unveiled
Plans to remove traffic from part of Oxford Street to create a new landmark public space and world-class shopping destination in London have been unveiled for consultation.
The proposals would see the western section of the famous retail street transformed into a space for people, not traffic, by December 2018, to coincide with the launch of the Elizabeth line.
Under the plans, all east-west traffic would be restricted from entering Oxford Street between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus, with five north-south crossing routes maintained. Details include the creation of new public spaces, cycle routes in the surrounding area, wider pavements and expanded taxi ranks. An 800-metre-long work of public art as a centrepiece for the street is also being considered.
“This is a hugely exciting moment for the capital,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said. “In just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard. Whether you’re a local resident, a business, or shop in some of the area’s famous stores, our plans will make the area substantially cleaner and safer for everyone, creating one of the finest public spaces in the world,” he said.
An initial consultation found 62 per cent of respondents in an online survey supported the principles behind the transformation of Oxford Street - although some raised access and congestion concerns. Westminster City Council and Transport for London staff have so far attended more than 50 meetings with residents, businesses and groups supporting cyclists and bus users, to address concerns as they develop the designs.
“We listened to what people said as part of the first consultation and we now want to hear from as many people as possible about what they think about the detailed plans before we take any final decisions,” said Councillor Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council.
“Protecting and improving the quality of life for residents in the surrounding area will be a key consideration. It’s crucial that everyone knows that we are listening and that they can help shape our plans,” he said.
Since summer 2016, Transport for London has cut the number of buses running along Oxford Street by 40 per cent, with even fewer buses to operate after the opening of the Elizabeth line. Oxford Street lies within both the new T-Charge zone, the world’s toughest emission charge for older, more polluting vehicles introduced in London to help tackle toxic air pollution, and the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will come into force in April 2019.
The public consultation closes on 17 December 2017.