Buses, taxis and cyclists could be banned from a section of London’s Oxford Street or have their access restricted under plans to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
Transport for London (TfL) and Westminster City Council have launched a consultation on proposals to transform the street between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street to the West as part of mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to pedestrianise the whole street by 2020.
A bus and a taxi at Oxford Circus
The proposals seek to provide more space for pedestrians and tackle air pollution and congestion, treating the opening of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) next year as ‘a once in a generation opportunity to tackle these challenges’.
TfL said it was seeking to explain its initial thoughts on what transforming the street could mean for bus services and taxis, rather than providing a fully developed set of proposals.
Val Shawcross, London's deputy mayor for transport, said: ‘Oxford Street is iconic as a shopping destination, but there is far too much pollution and we have a huge opportunity to make it cleaner and safer for the millions of people who use the street every year.
‘We need to make the transformation the very best it can be – ensuring it benefits local residents, businesses, and people who rely upon transport links in the area. This is an important first opportunity for Londoners to have their say before we outline our detailed proposals later in the year.’
One suggestion is that cyclists may only be allowed on the street when there are fewer pedestrians, possibly from 10pm to 10am. Another option could be ‘to restrict cyclists from using Oxford Street at all times’.
The consultation also suggests that black cabs and private hire vehicles could be banned from the street or access for black cabs restricted to night time only, as currently happens with private hire vehicles.
Further changes to bus routes are possible, following the major changes announced last week. The consultation states: ‘Removing buses would maximise our ability to transform Oxford Street, since it would provide more space for people.’
Westminster council described the transformation as ‘one of the most ambitious place-shaping projects London has ever seen’.