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An opportunity to unlock cycling across London's West End

A Transport for London visualisation of Oxford Street at night with public art works

A Transport for London visualisation of how Oxford Street could look. Source: TfL

A Transport for London visualisation of pedestrianised Oxford Street

Artist's impression of Oxford street (note that designs are illustrative only and not final designs). Source: TfL

8 November 2017

Sustrans’ position on Oxford Street

We want to see the transformation of Oxford Street maximise the opportunities for walking and cycling: transforming the walking environment on one iconic street, while transforming the cycling environment over a wide area of central London. We do not support a cycling ban.

Our support for the transformation of Oxford Street depends on high-quality cycling provision on alternative corridors – we want the best possible outcome for people travelling by foot or by cycle.

Half a million people already use Oxford Street daily, breathing in pollution four times the legal limit. And it will become even more packed when the Elizabeth Line opens, bringing in an extra 150,000 people a day. Given the sheer number of people filling Oxford Street, crossing it from side-to-side, and enjoying the open space, it means that separate, parallel provision is needed for people cycling through the West End.

Our support for the transformation of Oxford Street depends on high-quality cycling provision on alternative corridors – we want the best possible outcome ... Plans to create high-quality East-West & North-South cycling routes must come forward

This is why we believe it is crucial that plans to create high-quality East-West and North-South cycling routes must come forward, along with proposals to reduce traffic levels in the surrounding streets to improve them for all – not just shifting the excess traffic onto them. By holding this joint position with Living Streets, The London Cycling Campaign, Cycling UK, The Campaign for Better Transport, London Sustainability Exchange, UK Health Forum and the RNIB, we have secured a commitment from the Mayor to "ensure that cyclists have excellent access to Oxford Street and a quality parallel east-west route”, and we will continue to press for this commitment to be delivered.

We do not support a cycling ban

We strongly support the use of cycling as a mobility aid, allowing all Londoners - regardless of age or ability - to enjoy the independence and freedom that many of us take for granted. Any further impediment – such as the proposed ban - is cause for concern. We await further detail regarding a Cycling “Blue Badge” scheme that will start with a pilot scheme on Oxford Street.

Have your say 

Oxford Street is a unique space; removing traffic from it is good for our city and good for our health. Many of the decisions over the scheme are yet to be made and we urge our supporters to submit their views to the consultation and ask for the transformation of Oxford Street to press ahead alongside direct, segregated alternatives for cycling or on very low-traffic streets.

Sustrans will submit a full response to the consultation.

You can submit your views here

Notes

1. Read Sustrans submission to the previous consultation. Against the possibility of restricting access for cyclists we stated:

Without a high-quality parallel route or alternative cycling routes, the transformation would risk displacing vehicles from Oxford Street on to surrounding streets and, with it, increasing road danger for cyclists elsewhere in the district. A restriction alone would suppress cycling rather than support it.  There is huge potential for growth in cycling, benefiting the environment, health and wellbeing. London needs fewer barriers to cycling, not more. Any cycling restriction would need to consider the role of deliveries by cargo-cycle and access for those who use cycles as a mobility aid. It would also need to consider the impact on quieter periods, when the chances of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists would be much lower.

3. The current Oxford Street consultation states that “[TfL] will hold a further consultation in 2018” on its cycling proposals.

3. In his response to the London Assembly Transport Committee, 16 November 2016, the Mayor, Sadiq Khan stated:

“The proposals for Oxford Street will be developed to advance these plans and ensure that cyclists have excellent access to Oxford Street and a quality parallel east-west route.”

“I understand that simply transferring all of the traffic and bus routes onto parallel streets is not the solution so all options are under consideration to reduce traffic levels. I have instructed TfL to look at ways of further reducing traffic and not merely shifting it to other areas.”

Read the Mayor's reply: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, 16 November 2016, RE Pedestrianisation of Oxford Street

Have your say on the transformation of Oxford Street