What’s the Tokyo Look, then? Simpering ads for mascara featuring hot young Japanese models batting their lids while riding the Bullet train? Middle-aged American men crooning bad karaoke to their doe-eyed young companions?
Nope. The Tokyo look is inspired by that city’s Shibuya district, which offers diagonal pedestrian crossing at busy junctions. Oxford Circus, whose crosstown traffic makes it so hard to get through, may adopt the same system under a new proposal.
Currently, the kerb-ridden have to either crawl underneath the densely packed Tube station, or else skip through the teeming masses outside Niketown and avoid Megaphone Phil, if they wish to perambulate diagonally from one side to the other. Under Westminster City Council’s plan, the barriers would come down and the junction’s four corners would be accessible with a few nimble skips, with traffic from all directions stopped for 30 seconds intervals while people cross.
As part of the £40m investment plan, the council is also hoping to widen pavements in Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets (no doubt in search of that ever elusive al fresco dining culture). A public consultation is underway, and if approved, work would start next summer, taking nine months to complete.
Previous upgrades haven’t exactly panned out (anybody remember those mooted pavement speed lanes?) but we think this one has a good chance of succeeding. Perhaps it’ll be a precursor of a pedestrian-only Oxford Street?