‘Ambitious’ plans for the start of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, centred on ‘new world-class public spaces’, have been unveiled.
If approved, the plans – which are being publicly consulted on until 17 December – would create new traffic-free public spaces in the heart of London to ‘rival other world cities such as Paris and New York’.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has described the plans as a ‘hugely exciting moment’ for the Capital – a sentiment echoed by Mike Brown, London’s transport commissioner.
Designed to create a ‘truly pedestrian-friendly environment’, the proposals would see all east-west traffic restricted from entering Oxford Street between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus, whilst maintaining north-south routes through that section.
The carriageway would be raised to be level with the existing pavements between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus during this first stage, making the area more accessible for all users.
New seating would be placed along the street, while an 800m-long work of public art could also be commissioned for the length of the former carriageway, acting as a centrepiece for the transformed street.
The scheme will also see a range of measures implemented to help protect the wider area from traffic and air quality impacts, including new high-quality public spaces, cycle routes, 25 improved pedestrian crossings, wider pavements and additional taxi ranks.
Subject to public response, the delivery of this first stage scheme will aim to coincide with launch of Elizabeth line* services through Central London in December 2018.
Sadiq Khan said:
“This is a hugely exciting moment for the capital. Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard.
“Whether you’re a local resident, a business, or shop in some of the area’s famous stores, our plans will make the area substantially cleaner and safer for everyone, creating one of the finest public spaces in the world.
“We will continue to work closely with residents, businesses and Westminster Council to ensure the plans are the very best they can be.”
Mike Brown MVO said:
“Everyone involved in this project has worked tirelessly to design a scheme which would make Oxford Street and the wider area an even better place to live, work and visit.
“I’m hugely proud of the proposals that are being consulted on and urge everyone to comment on these truly transformative plans for London.”
*Set to launch in December 2018, the Elizabeth line will stretch more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through central tunnels, across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
08 November 2017