Sustrans is deeply disappointed by Westminster City Council’s Place Strategy for the Oxford Street District, which lacks vision, ambition, and the measures needed to deliver a world-class public space. We are urging our supporters to join us in letting Westminster know that their plans are not good enough.
As Europe’s premier retail destination, Oxford Street deserves a street environment to match. Instead, the area is plagued by air pollution, road danger, and street design which fundamentally prioritises vehicle traffic above people.
In 2017, Transport for London consulted on plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street. The bold scheme proposed to significantly improve road safety for vulnerable road users, improve air quality and establish Oxford Street as a place for people. 64% of respondents supported the proposals in principle, including Sustrans.
However, Westminster has scrapped those plans in favour of a diluted scheme which maintains two-way vehicle movement.
By cancelling the original project, millions of residents, workers and visitors will continue to breathe air that is four times above the pollution legal limit and remain at risk from traffic when crossing the street.
Westminster has accurately highlighted the challenges facing the district, including:
- A lack of space for pedestrians.
- Poor quality pedestrian environment.
- Poor air quality.
- Poor road safety.
- Rapidly changing retail trends and fierce online competition for shops.
- Difficulty getting to and moving around the district.
Accordingly, the revised scheme does feature encouraging elements such as east-west cycle ways parallel to Oxford Street and a uniform 20mph speed limit for the district. However, it fails to realise the vision of making Oxford Street spectacular by putting the 600,000 people who visit Oxford Street every day first.
Retaining road traffic and expecting people to continue negotiating delivery vehicles, taxis and buses seriously undermines Oxford Street’s position as a modern, world-leading destination.
Commenting on the proposals, Sustrans London Director Matt Winfield said:
“A vibrant, attractive Oxford Street is important for Westminster and for London. Ambitious change is needed to provide a high quality experience – modest tinkering won’t do if Oxford Street is to remain relevant. We urge Westminster to think again.”
Have your say
The removal of vehicles from the capital’s most iconic street represents a once in a generation opportunity to transform central London, making it a safer, cleaner and fairer place for all to enjoy.
Have your voice heard by responding to the consultation. The survey closes on Sunday 16th December