Following the withdrawal by Westminster Council from the Mayors unpopular plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street, Westminster have now formally announced a radical new plan to put £150 million into improvements over the whole Oxford Street district. These improvements, as the name of the strategy implies, intend to treat the West End area around Oxford Street holistically; investing in, but protecting the neighbourhoods that surround Oxford Street and improving Oxford Street itself whilst still maintaining its important function as an east west axis for a reduced amount of buses and taxis. Safety issues stemming from the projected increase in pedestrian numbers from Crossrail, when it finally opens, will be also dealt with by various measures, including the widening of the existing pavements where necessary.
The top ten proposals in the strategy include:
- Prioritise pedestrians by massively increasing walking space throughout the whole district whilst retaining two-way vehicle movement along the length of Oxford Street. It’s proposed to create the equivalent of two Trafalgar Squares of additional pedestrian space amidst beautiful new public spaces.
- Major improvements are proposed at key locations, including a new public piazza style space at Oxford Circus and a reinvigorated gateway to the West End at Marble Arch.
- Work towards a future where all commercial vehicles that are not zero emission are banned and introduce a 20mph limit across the district
- Retain buses on Oxford Street 24 hours a day and ensure they are zero emission.
- Enable space on higher floors on Oxford Street to have different and diverse uses to bring new life and vibrancy to the district
- Celebrate and revitalise the historic garden squares in the District by maximising pedestrian space and connections from Oxford Street
- Deliver an ambitious greening programme for the whole district, including side streets, by providing many new street trees, pop up parks and oases for relaxation, rest or play
- Encourage cycling by retaining access for cyclists to Oxford Street and develop proposals for new cycling routes across the district with two new east–west cycle routes, to the north and south of Oxford Street as well as providing a number of key north-south connections across the district and more cycle parking.
- Improve shopfronts and exteriors, provide special lighting and promote world class architecture throughout the district, celebrating the eclectic mix of heritage and styles
Full details can be found here
- Encourage a year round programme of amazing cultural events and activities, in collaboration with local, national institutions and retailers, including celebrating cultural events