Two people walking

There is huge support for removing motor vehicles from Oxford Street. However we are hearing concerns about where cycling fits into the transformation plans. We passed this to our head of policy and comms, Tom Platt to tackle.

Tom Platt

We have been saying it since we started our campaign - the successful transformation of the Oxford Street area must include high quality east-west cycle routes through the area and be as easy and attractive as possible to access on bike, including for those who use cycles as a mobility aid.

It was one of our seven principles, set out in our response to phase one of the consultation.

And it's something we’ve continued to push hard for alongside organisations like LCC in our many discussions with Westminster City Council and Transport for London over the last few months.

So why not on Oxford Street itself, we are asked.

We believe the most viable solution for cycling in the area is for there to be separate, parallel provision close to Oxford Street.

It’s a position shared by cycle advocacy organisations like Sustrans and LCC.

It is essential that Westminster City Council and TfL reveal detailed plans for ‘high-quality’ cycle routes as soon as possible.

The transformation of Oxford Street is about turning what is currently a polluted, congested and dangerous corridor full of buses and taxis into a world class destination for people to visit and enjoy.

Half a million people already use Oxford Street daily and an extra 150,000 people are expected each day following the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

It’s because of the sheer number of people walking on Oxford Street, meandering from side-to-side, sitting, playing and enjoying the public space, that we don’t believe a cycle track on Oxford Street is the best option for either people walking or cycling.

"A shared-use design would intimidate many disabled people from using the new public space."

Existing conditions make Oxford Street a no-go area for many disabled people and we want to ensure that the newly designed Oxford Street becomes welcoming and open to everyone. We wrote to the Mayor and Leader of Westminster City Council to make this point recently.

In our discussions with organisations that represent disabled and older people, including RNIB, Transport for All and Age UK London, they have been clear - a shared-use design would intimidate many disabled people from using the new public space.

It’s for these reasons that it is essential that Westminster City Council and TfL reveal detailed plans for ‘high-quality’ parallel routes north and south of Oxford Street as soon as possible.

And it’s vital these routes are more attractive to people cycling than a pedestrianised Oxford Street. That means they need to be nearby, as direct as possible and be either segregated or on genuinely quiet routes.

The current consultation promises that high quality parallel routes will be consulted on in the Summer. It is more than a little disappointing that these proposals have not been included in this round of the consultation.

But our recent discussions with TfL make us genuinely optimistic that these plans will materialise soon and that they will be of the high quality we are calling for.

Say YES to a vehicle-free Oxford Street

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This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the area around Oxford Street.

Strong opposition remains and without all our support, there is the very real risk that motor vehicles will stay, leaving Oxford Street polluted and dangerous for people walking and cycling and with little incentive left for Westminster City Council to provide high-quality parallel routes for those on bike.

For those reasons, we hope everyone who wants a better West End to walk and cycle will get behind these proposals.

For our part, we will continue to work with cycle campaigners and others to push for the kind of high quality east-west cycle routes we all want to see as soon as possible.

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