Cars, lorries and taxis to be banned from Tottenham Court Road as part of £35m revamp

James Warrington
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The traffic ban is part of a regeneration scheme launched by Camden Council in 2015

Cars, lorries and taxis will be banned from Tottenham Court Road as part of a £35m project to improve the West End.

The road will be open to buses and bikes only between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday, in a bid to reduce congestion and air pollution and speed up bus routes.

The changes, which will come into effect in March, will transform Tottenham Court Road into a two-way street with wider pavements and new pedestrian crossings.

The traffic ban is part of a regeneration scheme launched by Camden Council in 2015 to create new open spaces and improve air quality in the area.

“Not having taxis in the daytime will lead to 25 per cent less traffic, with all the benefits for air quality and congestion that go along with it,” Adam Harrison, cabinet member for improving Camden’s environment, told the Evening Standard.

But cabbies have hit back at the plans, saying they will have a negative impact on residents and businesses in the area.

“Licensed taxis are a vital means of public transportation and the only part of the transport network that is 100 per cent wheelchair accessible, so should not be excluded from routes which buses and cyclists can access,” said Richard Massett, chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA).

The project will also replace the one-way system on nearby Gower Street and create a new park in Alfred Place, which is currently a road.

The council will create a new pedestrianised plaza next to the Centre Point building and Tube station to help ease pedestrian crowding ahead of the delayed Crossrail opening.

"We’re pleased to see that our funding has helped Camden Council move on to the next phase of its West End project in March," said Ben Plowden, director of strategy and network development at Transport for London (TfL).

"Their decision to reduce motor traffic in the area, alongside our investment in roads and public spaces, will reduce danger to the most vulnerable road users as well as helping to clean up the area’s toxic air."

However, TfL said it understands Camden Council will review its position on taxis when they are "substantially" zero emission.

Last year plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street were ditched by Westminster City Council after opposition from local residents.