News & Press

Radical plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street will cause chaos on roads nearby, Sadiq Khan warned – Evening Standard – 19 December 2017

Residents and businesses opposed to Sadiq Khan’s plan to pedestrianise Oxford Street have claimed it will worsen congestion and increase accidents and pollution on neighbouring roads.

They urged people to flood Transport for London with objections before a consultation closes on January 3.

Under the plan, the west end of the street, from Orchard Street near Marble Arch to Oxford Circus, will close to all traffic from next December to coincide with the opening of the Elizabeth line.

The number of buses crossing from west to east would fall drastically with only two “through routes”, the 139 and 390, surviving.

Instead of passing down Oxford Street they will use Wigmore Street, Henrietta Place and Cavendish Square. But Better Oxford Street, which represents residents’ groups, said that as well as buses, delivery vehicles and up to 500 extra taxis an hour would be forced on to nearby streets.

It said: “Vans and lorries will have to use side roads, further clogging up the area that will be overrun by cars and taxis. The Mayor is not a dictator but is behaving like one, trying to force this dreadful scheme through.”

Tim Carnegie, chairman of the Marylebone Association, said the problem of a “red wall of buses” was already largely solved, with the number on Oxford Street down from 5,000 to 3,000 a day.

He said it was “a poor scheme that … does not address congestion, air quality or safety”.

Kay Buxton, chief executive of Marble Arch Partnership, which represents about 200 businesses, said: “Air quality and congestion … are already of grave concern.”

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Oxford Street businesses are up in arms over the road’s planned pedestrianisation – CityAM 20 December 2017

Thought that businesses and residents would be happy about the plan to turn Oxford Street into a car-free zone? Apparently not, as groups in the area have launched a protest against the mooted pedestrianisation.

Banning cars and buses from the infamous shopping district will lead to more pollution and gridlocked local roads, according to local amenity group representative Better Oxford Street (BOS).

Added to that, residents fear that the long stretch of empty road will be a magnet for gangs at night.

“This scheme is not wanted by residents or businesses. According to Transport for London’s own figures, of those that responded to the last consultation, 60 per cent of businesses opposed the proposals with a further 16 per cent concerned about them – that is 76 per cent of businesses in total with 66 per cent of local residents are either opposed to it or are concerned by it,” said a spokesperson for BOS.

“The mayor is not a dictator, but is behaving like one and trying to force this dreadful scheme through for purely political reasons to benefit himself and against the will of those in the area.”

Without Oxford Street being open to vehicles, BOS is warning that buses will have to be rerouted around local streets – clogging up routes and making the area more dangerous for pedestrians.

Other bus routes will be axed, it claims, making Oxford Street less accessible for the disabled.

“Whilst the principles of making better public space on Oxford Street are laudable, the proposals as designed and the phasing of transformation show a blatant disregard for the areas immediately surrounding the district – most notably at the western end of Oxford Street and its gateway to Marble Arch and Edgware Road,” said Kate Buxton, chief executive of business group Marble Arch Partnership.

Meanwhile Mark Field, the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said that pedestrianising Oxford Street would “shift the problems caused by heavy traffic elsewhere”.

But other groups are disputing BOS’s statement that the majority of businesses are against pedestrianising Oxford Street.

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