Cancelled: Oxford Street Pedestrianisation

M@
By M@
Cancelled: Oxford Street Pedestrianisation

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Oxford Street will remain an unpleasant, overcrowded place to visit. The proposed pedestrianisation — which would have removed east-west traffic — is now 'off the table for good' according to Westminster Council.

Ridding the street of wheels has been a dream of planners for decades. But how to keep everyone happy with such a major change in road use? Few in power have dared to pursue the controversial idea. Mayor Sadiq Khan took it by the horns, striving to get the work done for December 2018 and the advent of Crossrail. He has now been blocked. Khan has called the decision a 'betrayal', which 'poses a real threat to the future of Oxford Street'. He vows to fight on.

Making Oxford Street traffic-free would have many advantages: more space for pedestrians, cleaner air, and fewer people struck by vehicles (this map shows how the street is a major blackspot). Shops would undoubtedly benefit. Just this week, we learned that one of the street's biggest department stores, House of Fraser, is likely to close.

An earlier disappearance. Photo by M@

Such a big change to traffic flow would also upset apple-carts. Surrounding streets, including some residential, would undoubtedly get busier (and therefore smoggier and more dangerous). Those unable or unwilling to pay the higher fares of tube or Crossrail would find their bus routes altered, with loss of convenience.

It is a complex, thorny issue. Two public consultations sought out wider views. Both found that a majority of Londoners are supportive. Even so, local opinion was set against pedestrianisation. Westminster Council has now mulled over the arguments and found that the needs of the many are outweighed by the needs of the not-quite-so-many. Oxford Street, it seems, will continue to muddle along as London's most stressful shopping experience.

Last Updated 08 June 2018

Continued below.

bottle_buyer

Perhaps if the Mayor had focussed on just daytime pedestrianisation (11-8, when the shoppers are there)rather than insisting on 24 hours - when it is a major taxi and uber route to get to and from the West End, then residents might have been more willing to accept it. TfL aren't able to even MODEL what the impact will be on traffic flow in the area at night, which is actually when Oxford Street is busiest (believe it or not).

Jon

What a biased one sided article! Very poor journalism. My girlfriends and I love shopping on Oxford Street and don’t find it stressful. The needs of the many are to keep access convenient and not pander to the Mayor’s ego unlike the writer of this piece. Disappointing you couldn’t properly discuss this issue.

Melvyn Windebank

Mayor Khans plans would have created a massive inconvenience to bus users especially those making journeys that are making journeys which use Oxford Street but they are just passing through most of which are indeed Londoners travelling from say Victoria to Camden or Islington. Already users of routes 73/N73 have lost their thriroute to Victoria.

I reckon Mayor Khan together with TFL representation and Westminster Councillors should pay a visit to cities like Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield where Trams have been successfully reintroduced and with the latest Trams battery powered allowing operating without overhead wires in sensitive areas .

However, I still can't see why some routes can't be diverted to run along streets which serve the back of Oxford Street while the diversion of route 6 via Park Lane and Piccadilly could be replicated by route 98 with it using Piccadilly then creating a new route in Shaftesbury Avenue thus creating new connections a far better option than being cut off at Marble Arch .

If anything the Coming of Crossrail could generate more bus passengers not less !

HHGeek

Still bemused as to how this would have worked for anyone who wasn't able bodied / fresh & familiar with the street layout.. Buses may be slower than the tube for getting from end to end, but far more stops & easy seeing of relative position win every time if walking is tricky. Please let this be the end of this daft idea.

Jimmy Hall

Oxford Street is a disgusting and filthy place to spend a few hours. Taxis and buses could have been moved away from there with little inconvenience. Shame on WCC.