Oxford Street's finally getting the pedestrian makeover it's been in need of for years.
The revamped section of Oxford Street will take the form of two pedestrianised piazzas, one on each side of the intersection with Regent Street.
Road closures will be trialled — with a six month ETO (experimental traffic order) to start with, from July, 2021. The closed areas will run from Oxford Circus to Great Portland Street — the area designated to become the East Piazza if the closures are made permanent, and the project continues as planned — and from Oxford Circus to John Princes Street, which would become the West Piazza.
The road running north to south along Regent Street would stay open for vehicles.
What's the point?
If you've ever been to Oxford Circus, you probably don't need to ask. Already hugely crammed with a chaotic mix of pedestrians, cyclists, buses, private vehicles, and people trying to get into or out of the station, the area's expected to get even busier with the arrival of the Elizabeth line.
The new plans are intended to calm the bottleneck of people coming through the area, and improve air quality.
- An international design competition — run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) — will be launched later this summer
- Stakeholders and residents will have the opportunity to feedback on the trial traffic changes during the six month ETO period
- From November, 2021 work would start on the creation of the piazzas
- In later stages the plans will involve collaboration with TfL to allow improved access for Oxford Circus tube station — though don't get too excited just yet, the project plans have that lined up to start from 2024
Read the project plan in more detail here, including plans for the tube station access, expected impact on bus journeys along Oxford Street (spoiler: the council's forecast is of an average reduction in bus journey times, from 2022)