From banning black cabs to bumper Bond Street visitors: Five ways Oxford Street could change through transformation plans

 
Rebecca Smith
Oxford Street's transformation is being plotted out by TfL and Westminster City Council
Oxford Street's transformation is being plotted out by TfL and Westminster City Council (Source: Getty)

Transport for London (TfL) and Westminster City Council have launched the consultation for transforming Oxford Street, seeking people's views on the prospective plans.

Here are some of the measures being floated so far that could change the shopping street as we know it...

Read more: Oxford Street transformation that will start in 2018 could mean taxis banned

1. Banning black taxis

Currently black cabs can access the street at any time, while private hire vehicles can use Oxford Street from 7pm to 7am Monday to Saturday.

The consultation has laid out possible plans to remove access, possibly restricting access for taxis and private hire vehicles during the day. It said allowing night-time access either to the full length of Oxford Street or only to particular sections of it, could give pedestrians much more space.

While the consultation notes that taxis are important - particularly for those with mobility struggles - it said they make up a third of traffic on Oxford Street, but only account for just two per cent of the trips.

2. 40 per cent bus reduction

While 41 per cent of trips on Oxford Street are by bus, 56 per cent of trips within Oxford Street are made on foot and the volume of buses restricts pedestrians. Further to a consultation on proposals for changes to the bus network, TfL said last week that it will cut the number of buses using Oxford Street by around 40 per cent.

It is also reviewing creating new start and finish points for buses, potentially in the areas surrounding Marble Arch or Oxford Circus. Passengers who currently travel through Oxford Street may need to change buses.

3. Bye bye bicycles?

There aren't currently any restrictions on Oxford Street for cyclists but at the moment only one per cent of trips there are made on bike.

The consultation is assessing whether to only allow cyclists on the route at night, as it wants to assess "how practical and safe it would be for very large numbers of pedestrians, particularly visually impaired people, to share a space with cyclists". It is also contemplating restricting cyclists from the street altogether.

4. Night-time deliveries only

As a prime retail hub, the planners note it is important that businesses on Oxford Street can receive deliveries, but keeping current arrangements in place would "greatly limit" their ability to transform the area.

One option being floated is restricting access for freight vehicles during the day and allowing night-time access, which may mean businesses would need to re-time when they receive deliveries.

5. Bumper Bond Street numbers

The introduction of the Elizabeth Line from late 2018 is making the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street a more pressing concern as TfL and Westminster City Council envisage the new accessible Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations will increase the number of people arriving by train, and the ease with which they can travel to Oxford Street from outside London.

The planners are forecasting a 50 per cent rise in the number of people using Bond Street station, as those travelling from Reading station for example, could get to the capital in under an hour.

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