Our response to the ‘Oxford Street District’ consultation, December 2018

Below is a copy of our response to the ‘Oxford Street District’ consultation November-December 2018. 

We welcome the planning approach to the whole district rather than just Oxford Street and many of the principles, concepts and ideas for improving the district regarding design, greening, accessibility and usage by pedestrians are broadly welcomed.

We recognise that this is only an initial set of ideas and concepts and that more work is needed before WCC presents a firm set of proposals backed by traffic and data analysis.

Most residents in Fitzrovia do not own or use a motor vehicle. We own the least number of cars in London yet we are subjected to the highest levels of air pollution and congestion. These vehicles take space from pedestrians and cyclists, is a cause of road danger and a major source of air pollution. Many of the principles set out in the plan including 6 (prioritising pedestrians), 7 (making the district better for cycling), 11 (improving safety) and 12 (improving air quality), cannot be achieved without a major reduction in the number of motor vehicles passing through Fitzrovia. There needs to be access in and out of the district but through traffic needs to be eliminated. However, we are disappointed that there are no proposals being put forward to drive out traffic that is using Fitzrovia to bypass the surrounding main roads.

We would like to see a 20mph speed limit across Fitzrovia and on neighbouring streets.

We welcome the fact that WCC recognises that Oxford Street is an important transport route particularly for buses. Residents, workers and visitors rely on public transport. The elderly, the young, the disabled, families with young children, the late night economy workers, and finally the often-overlooked group of people who simply can not afford paying the more expensive fares charged on the tube.

We do not support the proposals to narrow Oxford Street and remove the lay-by bus stops as this would impact on the flow of following buses and taxis.

We would like to see a 10mph speed limit on Oxford Street to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

We do not support the proposal to divert buses and taxis and any other motor traffic around Oxford Circus as this would merely displace the vehicles into the side streets and the number of turns involved would increase road danger from these vehicles.

The vague proposals as to how Westminster will reduce traffic volumes across the district include “encouraging” cycling and walking. But people won’t cycle and walk more just because they are told to – they need to be enabled, by physical changes to the design of the streets, and reducing amount of motor traffic they’re exposed to.

Steps should also be taken to reduce motor vehicle traffic in the surrounding area, as well as providing high quality cycling routes east-west and north-south.

So we propose the following to eliminate through motor traffic but still allow access to all businesses and homes on both sides of Fitzrovia.

Install bollards to provide “filtered permeability”:

Filter Goodge Street with bollards at the junction with Goodge Place on the Westminster/Camden border (outside Oxfam shop).
Filter Cleveland Street at junction with Tottenham Street.
Filter Foley Street at the junction with Cleveland Street on the Westminster/Camden border (outside the primary school).
Filter New Cavendish Street at junction with Cleveland Street on the Westminster/Camden border.
Filter Clipstone Street at junction with Cleveland Street on the Westminster/Camden border. (This would require a change to the one-way section outside the proposed new petrol filling station at the triangle site at 87-125 Cleveland Street otherwise taxis will use it as a cut through and Cleveland Mews alongside Holcroft Court would end up as a rat-run. So Cleveland Street would need to be north bound only between Maple Street and Warren Street. Grafton way would also have to have a “no entry” from Cleveland Street)
Filter Carburton Street at junction with Cleveland Street.

There is a map of the locations here:

Access to the Camden side of Fitzrovia would be via Gower Street, and access to the Westminster side would be via Great Portland Street and Portland Place.

The filtering will eliminate all through motor traffic and rat-runs across the Camden-Westminster boundary. It won’t require any loss of parking bays.

We support the proposals for Market Place, Great Titchfield and Winsley Street.

Hanway Place and Hanway Street offer a convenient alternative walkway avoiding the TCR/Oxford Street busy junction. It is also home for small speciality shops, it is where deliveries are taking place to large Oxford Street shops, and it allows access to residents at Hanway Place. We suggest the street is closed to motors “except for access” to homes and businesses.

Play Public Space Area in Little Portland Street – project 66. This refers to Little Portland Street between Regent Street and Great Portland Street. We oppose the plan because we think it an unsuitable location and money would be better spent on a play street at Riding House Street as suggested by the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum.

We are happy to continue to engage with the project team to improve the plans for Fitzrovia and eastern Oxford Street and to develop new ideas. We hope that you will consider our comments.

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