‘Should Oxford Street be pedestrianised?’ Landscape architects say ‘yes’

Landscape architects Tom Turner and Robert Holden debate whether Oxford Street should be pedestrianised as a shared street. ‘Yes’ is their answer. Oxford Street is an environmental disaster zone which claims to be ‘Europe’s premier shopping street’.

  • Oxford Street has the highest rate of air pollution in the world
  • Oxford Street has 35 times the average accident rate for London streets (more than 300 bus-pedestrian accidents since 2006 with over 77 people killed or seriously injured)
  • Oxford Street has average noise levels above 75 dB (which is the noise level of a vacuum cleaner or a toilet flushing or a loud voice)

TfL, which has responsibility for managing the Oxford Street Disaster Zone, knows these facts but, so far, has chosen not to act. The video makes comparisons with pedestrian streets in Istanbul, Shanghai, Edinburgh and other places where shared streets have been a great success.

TfL forgets that shopping is one of the chief leisure activities in a consumer society. The The New West End Company (formerly the Oxford Street Association) has not pushed hard enough for a change which would benefit the people of London and have a significant positive impact on NWEC  revenues.

Oxford Street was made by the Romans, as the Via Trinobantina. In the Middle Ages it was the infamous road to Tyburn Gallows – called the Tyburn Road. To forget this grim history, when the road became residential, the name was changed to Oxford Street. Should we revert to the old name, now that Oxford Street has become such a dangerous place to visit?

Who can doubt that Oxford Street will be pedestrianised? It’s a case of ‘when, not if”.

Tom Turner

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