Our response to the second consultation on the transformation of Oxford Street

Oxford Street, motor traffic and pedestrians.

This is our response to the second consultation on the “transformation of Oxford Street”.

1. Do you support our proposals for the transformation of the Oxford Street district?

No

If you have any comments about our proposals, please explain them below.

Our association is against the proposals put forward by the Mayor and TfL for the transformation of Oxford Street because of the negative impact it would have on people living and working here and those visiting our neighbourhood. We find that the proposals do not support the Mayor’s policy to encourage active transport and combat congestion and pollution in central London.

Specifically were are strongly opposed to the following:

Increased congestion and pollution in the surrounding streets.
Discouraging cycling and walking in the surrounding streets because of the displaced traffic.
Danger to pedestrians and cyclists from increased traffic particularly buses making left and right turns through narrow side streets.
An increase in taxi ranks in surrounding streets.
The banning of cycling along Oxford Street.
No detailed proposals for protected cycling routes.
Disadvantage to bus passengers.
Discrimination against people with limited mobility and access problems. (Those public transport passengers who cannot use the underground system but can access the bus network, buses, taxis and who use cycles as a mobility aid. )
Creating night time crime, public safety, and nuisance problems on Oxford Street.

Two of the most affordable modes of transport are very negatively affected by the proposals: cycling and the bus service.

Banning cyclists from using Oxford Street denies them the use of a major route through the West End. Also cyclists will be pushed into side streets and have to do battle with the displaced buses and taxis as well as existing motor traffic.

Cutting the number of bus routes will disadvantage those with access problems and those less well off who cannot afford to use the Underground. This will affect the low paid workers, cleaners, security people and those employed in cafes, supermarkets, hotels and shops.

The mass withdrawal of buses and dismantling of the bus network disadvantages those who can least afford the alternative. This goes against the Mayor’s policy of social inclusion.

The proposed bus scheme is very poorly thought out. It means a cut in bus services going west-east by 74% vs a recorded 18% drop in passenger use over 7 years; and dismantles a well-established bus route network, with easy (same stop) interchange between routes. The alternative – Marble Arch area – is inconvenient and impractical to many people particularly those with mobility difficulties.

New bus stands: two are proposed for Great Portland street [2 buses for route 25] and Great Castle street [2 buses for route 55]. Those stands are not suitable: the one on Great Castle Street blocks the loading bay facilities of the commercial block between Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street; the one on Great Portland Street would block two way traffic of buses.

2. We have explained that we will develop proposals for the section of Oxford Street between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road based on the issues of concern raised by respondents to our last consultation, which included concerns about traffic displacement, access by public transport and the management of the area. If you believe there are any other issues we should take into account in developing proposals for the eastern section of Oxford Street, or have any other comments about this issue, please record them below.

Our association has concerns about the effect of pedestrianisation of Oxford Street east and this directly affects the people living and working in Fitzrovia as well as people visiting the neighbourhood.

In addition to our concerns about displacement of traffic, pollution and management of the Oxford Street east, we have the following concerns.

1. The opening of the Crossrail/Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road station (particularly when it is connected to Heathrow) will generate a significant amount of London Taxi and private hire vehicles to the area just as mainline rail stations such as Euston and Kings Cross do. If these vehicles are not able to access Oxford Street either at Tottenham Court Road or Dean Street then taxis will circulate in nearby streets. As such they will compete with the increasing amount of PHVs and Uber cars. These vehicles, while necessary for some passengers, need to be restricted and additional taxi ranks should not be provided in side streets. We consider that taxis should be able to access Oxford Street but their numbers as well as numbers of PHVs need to be restricted in the whole area. Not just in Fitzrovia but in the whole of the West End.

2. If the mayor also plans to ban cycling on Oxford Street east we would not support this. Cycling is not the problem, it is part of the solution to London’s transport network. Cycling should be enabled, cyclists should have protective infrastructure, and cycling should be encouraged.

3. It would be greatly helpful for there to be a 20mph speed limit in the City of Westminster and a 10mph speed limit along Oxford Street. This would provide a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

4. If the mayor also plans to cut bus services from Oxford Street and divert them through nearby streets we would not support this. Buses and the bus network provides access to people with access problems as we have stated in our answer to question 1. But Fitzrovia’s streets (including Mortimer Street and Goodge Street) are far too narrow to accommodate buses and bus stops.

5. There should continue to be a direct bus link between Oxford Street and Holborn and the City of London.

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