Ambitious plans for the start of the transformation of London's Oxford Street area, centred on new world-class public spaces, have just been unveiled by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL.
If approved, the plans, which are being publicly consulted on until 17 December 2017, would turn the Oxford Street district into the world’s best outdoor shopping experience and create new traffic-free public spaces in the heart of London to rival other world cities such as Paris and New York.
Throughout the consultation, people can have their say on plans 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 everyone.
New seating would be placed along the street to give people a chance to rest and spend time enjoying the area. A new 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. 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.
The plans have been designed to fit with the wider extensive improvements being made across the West End, including the transformation of Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations in advance of the Elizabeth line, the Baker Street two-way project, and changes to the Tottenham Court Road / Gower Street area. The scheme will also see a range of measures implemented to help protect the wider area from traffic and air quality impacts.
TfL has been working since summer 2016 to reduce the number of buses operating along Oxford Street by 40 per cent to reflect a change in customer travel and better match demand across the West End.
New and extended taxi ranks would be created close to Oxford Street to allow Black Cabs to continue to pick up and drop off.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, 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.
“Alongside the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, the Oxford Street area will be truly transformed over the coming years. We will continue to work closely with residents, businesses and Westminster Council to ensure the plans are the very best they can be, including investing in wider pavements, pedestrian crossings, more taxi ranks and further high-quality cycling infrastructure to support everyone living and working in the wider area.”
Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, said, “With the opening of the Elizabeth line next year and expected increase in visitor numbers, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the Oxford Street district into the world’s best outdoor shopping experience and an unrivalled place to live, work and visit. There is a huge amount of public and private investment happening across the West End which is so important in generating opportunities and prosperity for Londoners. We want Oxford Street and the surrounding neighbourhoods to be the jewel in the crown.
“We listened to what people said as part of the first consultation and we now want to hear from as many people as possible about what they think about the detailed plans before we take any final decisions. Protecting and improving the quality of life for residents in the surrounding area will be a key consideration, it’s crucial that everyone knows that we are listening and that they can help shape our plans.”