The Transport Committee at the London Assembly are meeting on 15 June on the proposals for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street as set out by the new Mayor.
Our association was asked for our view on these proposals and their potential impact on the surrounding area to provide briefing materials for Committee members in advance of the meeting.
We submitted the following statement:
We welcome any attempts by the Mayor to reduce motor vehicle traffic and pollution in central London. Our area has some of the lowest car use by residents yet it has some of the highest vehicle pollution rates due to visiting and through traffic. We welcome active transport solutions (walking and cycling) while we understand the need for those with mobility restrictions to use motor vehicles.
We are very concerned about displacement of traffic from eastern Oxford Street into the narrow streets to the north (our area of interest).
Oxford Street is already restricted for most of its length between Oxford Circus and St Giles Circus (TCR Station) to buses and taxis only. We would be very concerned if any buses or taxis were displaced into Fitzrovia’s streets.
While bus routes could be controlled and kept out of our area we do not see how taxis can be. For example, many shoppers wish to take a taxi home with goods purchased in Oxford Street and the only way they could do so is seek a taxi in one of the side streets to the north. No doubt taxi drivers understand this and will ply their trade accordingly. This will negatively impact on residents not only with exhaust pollution but also with congestion. Even electric taxis cause congestion, and noise nuisance from slamming of doors.
In short, we would not support plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street if it meant buses or taxis or both were displaced into our area.