Running from Marble Arch in the west end to Tottenham Court Road/Charing Cross Road to the east, Oxford Street may become a pedestrianized boulevard by December next year. The busy shopping street is set to convert to a largely traffic-free zone, even though gridlock concerns in adjacent side streets mean that the north and south routes across Oxford Street will remain as is.
The existing street could be raised to pavement level for greater accessibility and new seating areas implemented. Plans by Westminster Council have gone out for consultation this week. Once the boulevard is in place, Oxford Street is expected to join the ranks of the grand boulevards of Paris and New York. Estate agents in Soho and surrounding areas also expect an uplift in buyer interest.
Cyclists can look forward to improved infrastructure at nearby streets. In the coming months, consultations on new cycle routes along the more tranquil roads to the north and south of Oxford Street will be considered.
Local retailers are enthused about the plans as full access to pedestrians can enhance potential for more business. Oxford Street has the dubious reputation of being one of London’s worst polluted streets mainly owing to the dense traffic. The creation of a pedestrian area is expected to offer respite.
While some residents in Soho, Mayfair and Marylebone have expressed alarm over the spilling of traffic and congestion to surrounding streets, most, including estate agents Soho believe that making one of the city’s busiest roads more accessible is a positive move.
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