Much to the rejoice of many Londoners, plans to finally pedestrianize the western section of London’s Oxford Street have been revealed by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The proposal to make the western side of the famous shopping street fit for only pedestrians has been in the pipeline for a while, and the measures are due to be implemented by December 2018.
The plans mean that east to west traffic will be removed, whilst some of the north to south route will be retained, subject to consultation. The plans for December next year, also coincide with the launch of the Elizabeth Line services, also known as the Crossrail, which is expected to bring an estimated 1.5million extra commuters to the city, boasting an even busier shopping district.
The proposals itself span a half-mile section between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street and Sadiq Khan has commented that the publication of the plans is ‘a hugely exiting moment for the capital’. Paris has already introduced a no car policy once a month on its famous shopping street, Champs Elysees. Khan continued to add:
‘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.’
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Transport for London (TFL) has been working closely with the major to reduce the number of buses running through the area since last summer. The plans will also mean that new and extended taxi ranks could be created nearby to allow black cabs to pick up and drop off eager-eyed shoppers, looking to grab some hot deals from some of the city’s famous department stores. Cyclists will have to dismount under the new scheme, although the mayor is hoping to propose a new cycle route along quieter roads to the north and south of the street next summer.
Khan further commented that ‘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’.
The scheme will also raise the carriageway to be level with the pavements on either side, to boost accessibility. The scheme will also have a piece of public art that will have been commissioned and designed to run along the entire length, symbolising the area as a pedestrianised zone.
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