It’s one of London’s busiest, most polluted and traffic-filled streets – attempting to cross it, even on a quiet day, is a bit like taking part in a game of ‘Total Wipeout’, but things could be about to change on Oxford Street. Westminster Council and TfL are on a mission to transform Europe’s busiest shopping thoroughfare into the ‘world’s best outdoor shopping experience’, and they’re after your thoughts.
An eight-week consultation was launched this week, seeking views from residents, businesses and visitors on the best ways to improve Oxford Street and the surrounding area. Nothing’s set in stone yet, but the consultation says black cabs, buses and bikes could be banned in order to ‘maximise’ TfL’s ‘ability to transform Oxford Street’.
The plan to overhaul the road has come about due to international competition as well as local issues such as overcrowding, congestion and poor air quality. The new Elizabeth Line has also brought about the changes. The line will be opening with stations at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road in late 2018, and once in action the number of people visiting the already packed shopping street is predicted to increase significantly.
Westminster City Council and TfL have proposed to overhaul Oxford Street by improving its public spaces and neighbourhoods, reducing traffic and crowding, addressing poor air quality and supporting businesses in the area. It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that the street would be pedestrianised by 2020 and the number of buses rolling up and down the road would be cut by 40 percent in the meantime.
The initial consultation sets out what the transformation of Oxford Street could mean, outlining potential changes to bus services and taxis, as well as what provisions could be made for pedestrians, cyclists and service vehicles. To see the plans and have your say on how you’d like Oxford Street to look in the future, visit TfL’s consultation page, here.