Oxford Circus To Get “The Tokyo Look”

Oxford Circus tube

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?

Image courtesy of Ian Muttoo’s Flickrstream from the Londonist pool

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  • ZoZo

    Great. Now I have Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” going round in my head.

    Thanks.

  • goldenlad

    This has actually been possible for a number of years, the phasing of the lights already means that about once every 2 minute, all the lights are red allowing plenty of time to cross diagonally. However the problem has been the curved walls on each corner blocking most pedestrians from getting in a suitable place to cross.
    However, if you want the pedestrians to start their crossing in these positions, then I can only guess that the entrances to the tube station will have to be moved, and that will take some building work, no doubt for years to come.