Oxford Street, one of the world’s most famous shopping destinations in the heart of London, is to be completely pedestrianised by 2020 in a bid to tackle air pollution.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office said today all traffic including buses and taxis will be banned from the shopping street as part of the mayor’s plans to tackle air pollution.
The shopping hub is one of the busiest in the UK capital and is visited by more than four million people each week.
The new plan will be rolled out in two stages to reduce disruption on the 1.2-mile (1.9 kilometres) stretch of road.
“Sadiq has made the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street a priority as it will contribute to his aim of improving air quality and it will also make it a far safer and more pleasant place to visit,” the mayor’s spokesperson said.
“Pedestrianising Oxford Street from Tottenham Court Road through to Marble Arch will require a phased programme of work that will take several years, as it will need a great deal of coordination and a close working relationship with Westminster as well as local businesses and residents.
But London deserves an iconic pedestrianised shopping street and when work is complete the mayor believes it will be a truly world beating environment,” he said.
Valerie Shawcross, London’s deputy mayor for transport, told the London Assembly this week that the plan was to ban all vehicles from Tottenham Court Road to beyond the iconic Selfridges store.
The pedestrianisation will coincide with the opening of Crossrail – a new east-west train line for the city.
Cars are already banned on most of Oxford Street between 7 AM and 7 AM every day except Sunday, but it remains a major thoroughfare for buses and taxis.
This is not the first time that the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street has been proposed as plans had been considered under the leadership of London’s first elected mayor Ken Livingstone who had introduced pedestrian-only Christmas shopping days on Oxford Street in 2005.
Traffic-free shopping days have been a feature on both Oxford Street and Regent Street ever since.