Trying to move down Oxford Street at the weekend or any day for that matter is getting rather like trying to move down a busy tube carriage during rush hour.
No wonder then that with the imminent launch of Crossrail expected to bring 250m extra visitors West End leaders are thinking about how to improve public space in the area.
Westminster council, Transport for London, and the New West End Company – the group that represents businesses in the area – have commissioned consultants Arup and Publica to look into both the long and short term improvements that can be made to the West End.
This includes practical steps such as "decluttering" and widening pavements, sprucing up public spaces and introducing what they describe as a relaxation oasis where people can rest as well encouraging people to use alternative routes around the West End.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said:
This study sees all key partners working together to agree on what the West End of the future will look like, and the practical solutions needed to achieve this, particularly for how people move around the area. It means that when the hugely modernised new Tube stations and Crossrail open, we will be prepared to give workers and visitors the world class welcome they’d expect from London’s West End.
The study, which is due to be published this Spring, follows new figures out today by Arup predicting that Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon stations could be serving as many as 250m more visitors into and out of Central London by 2026.
This is 65m more passengers than previous estimates carried out in 2004 suggested. On an annual basis, this is equivalent to around 166m extra passengers.
Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations alone are expected to see more than a 200 per cent increase in passenger numbers compared to current levels, or 750,000 more people a day by 2026.