Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing Opens

M@
By M@ Last edited 101 months ago
Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing Opens

oxcirc.jpg

As we type these words, momentous events are unfolding in central London. Mayor Boris Johnson is officially unveiling a new transport initiative right in the very heart of the capital. The most eagerly anticipated improvement to the city's pedestrian infrastructure since, well, um, um. Still, we can't help but feel a little excited about the cruciform crossing that opens today on Oxford Circus. The junction has long been among London's most hideous pedestrian experiences, so the changes can surely only be an improvement. Can't they? We'll be along later to put the crossing through its paces. But if you've been one of the first to take shank's pony across this increasingly linear Circus, please share your experience in the comments below.

Last Updated 02 November 2009

iSleepDiagonal

I have just returned unscated from testing the new Oxford Circus diagonal crossing. Quite an experience.

I approached from the south, where on the eastern side there is quite an ugly stretch of unfinished concrete along the pavement's edge - I trust they'll get around to the "make good" stage soon.

My first transit was from south-east to north-west: Tezenis(?) to H&M. As the man turns green, we commence our crossing - from all four corners at once. All goes swimmingly until the four groups meet in the middle, whereupon a certain amount of side-step, hop and jump is required to avoid contact (I think I saw a dosey-doe at one point). Lord knows what it'll be like on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Next, a simple non-diagonal W-E transit, from H&M to NikeTown. Plain sailing here, although I noticed some shoppers doing the "half way" on to the central reservation - which is quite narrow, despite stretching 50 yards or so away from the X. As a result, some crowding took place.

Next, the other major corner-to-corner transit, NE-SW - NikeTown to Benetton. Surprisingly I was the only crosser starting from my corner. Once the green man appeared, I began crossing and had to shout at a cyclist who'd jumped the red light - I suspect assuming that the central area, being a free-for-all, included him (possibly her).

Running out of ideas, I decided upon one last cross: brazenly E-W, between the two central reservations on either Oxford St side. Doesy-doe time again - but by now the trick to it all had dawned on me - don't aim for the middle. Unless the next step in Boris' "triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and good old fashioned common sense" scheme is some kind of roundabout or contraflow.

markle

Bit of a shame that the finished piece isn't as subtle as the artist's rendering, with a big horrible white cross in the middle of the square.

Probably also worth pointing out that Oxford Circus is not the first diagonal crossing in London - just look outside Balham station, where there's been one for years, cross and everything. Take a quick peek at http://torytroll.blogspot.com/...

Looks a bit more subtle too :)

purpaboo

I can't help but wonder about safety. With most of the barriers gone, surely more numpty tourists will end up underneath buses.

iSleepDiagonal

Good point, purp. Also, with the railings gone, where will teenagers meet? That precious area between the railings and the steps down into the tube was valuable and significant "turf".

nictee

We passed by at 20mins to 10am and all was expectant. Japanese drums, people in costume, people in suits, people in uniform, all waiting for someone to cross.
So we came back later to cross the diagonal with H&M behind us. Green man. Off we went & guess what - a bus came through from North of Regent Street & just stopped across our diagonal path- it was really dangerous! Had to go off the diagonal course behind the bus!
The wider expanse of pavement is a great improvement though, you can hop around the slow-moving tourists more easily.