Westminster City Council’s plans for the part-pedestrianisation of Oxford Street at Oxford Circus may well improve the public realm in this iconic area but there are real concerns that its rushed implementation and lack of consultation may lead to more taxis, delivery vans and other vehicles using the residential streets north and south of Oxford Street.
By pedestrianizing Oxford Street from John Prince’s Street, next to the John Lewis store, for 150 metres all the way to Great Portland Street, vehicles will have to take a detour through the side streets to get to the other side of Oxford Circus.
Many drivers will decide to take alternative routes through the streets north and south Oxford Street to avoid the inevitable traffic jams. Taxi drivers and white van delivery drivers will want to avoid the route around Oxford Circus and will soon find quicker routes through the residential streets of Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho.
In addition, it is proposed that bus routes will be re-routed in a circuitous way around the Oxford Circus Piazza. This threatens to displace congestion and air pollution to neighbouring residential streets and cause delays to bus travellers.
Councillor Pancho Lewis, Labour Councillor West End Ward, said:
“We have urged the City Council to fully consult with residents before starting on roadworks to implement these part-pedestrianisation plans.
We repeat our call to the Council to put community engagement at the forefront of plans for Oxford Street, including the Oxford Circus Piazza. Those who live and work in the area are the ones who will be most greatly affected by these plans and it is very important that they are properly consulted before changes are implemented that could have a significant impact on their lives.”