Oxford Street: Traffic restrictions to be changed and more pedestrian space
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Plans to make long-awaited improvements to Oxford Street have been unveiled, as a consultation on proposed changes is opened to the public.
Westminster City Council, in partnership with the New West End Company, is looking to “regenerate” the central London tourist hub via a range of amendments to vehicle access and enhancements to the public realm.
These include increasing the space for pedestrians, improved lighting, more green areas, and greater traffic restrictions.
Previous plans for the street were axed after Labour took control of the council from the Conservatives last May.
An initial £120 million budget was revised, partially due to the previous administration’s failed Marble Arch project.
The new plans encompass the entire 1.8km length of the street, from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road.
As well as more space for pedestrians, 12 new crossings are planned, with 45 existing crossing points to be improved.
The proposals include 16 “designated amenity spaces”, providing gathering and resting spaces for visitors.
In regards to traffic, Oxford Street is currently a bus, taxi and cycle only area from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, between Portman Street and Great Portland Street eastbound, and Oxford Circus and Binney Street westbound.
Under the plans, it is proposed the restrictions are expanded to cover 7am to 7pm seven days a week, between Portman Street to Stratford Place, New Bond Street to Great Portland Street, and Rathbone Place to Tottenham Court Road eastbound.
Westbound, they would apply between Tottenham Court Road, to Rathbone Place, Great Portland Street to New Bond Street, and Stratford Place to Orchard Street.
Additional bus services are also being proposed.
Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “The West End constantly needs to adapt if it is to continue draw to shoppers from around the country and around the world.
“We have great brands such as Selfridges and John Lewis, and we’re pleased that, IKEA and HMV will both be opening on Oxford Street later this year. But we need to innovate and ensure we can offer a top-class experience for everyone.
“I want Oxford Street to be a place local communities, residents and visitors and businesses can feel pride in. New West End Company and Westminster City Council have a long track record in successful collaboration and are looking forward to working in partnership to keep Oxford Street thriving.”
Dee Corsi, chief executive at NWEC, said: “The proposed enhancement of Oxford Street’s public realm infrastructure is part of a bigger, once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to regenerate one of the world’s most iconic retail and leisure destinations.
“This partnership between NWEC and WCC is happening against a backdrop of wider, positive shifts in the market; from the progress of ambitious, multi-use redevelopment projects to the signing of new global flagships, and the return of iconic brands such as HMV.
“We are already seeing increased footfall and dwell time as a result of the Elizabeth Line, which underscores the need for an enhanced visitor experience that will encourage more visitors to come more often and stay for longer.
“We look forward to working with WCC to ensure that we are capitalising on this momentum and delivering on a vision for Oxford Street in which enhanced public realm provision is a key component of its long-term, sustainable growth.”
The consultation, which can be found here, will run until August 31.