Living Streets is today launching a call for the next London Mayor to pedestrianise Oxford Street so that it becomes an iconic, safe and enjoyable place to shop especially at Christmas.
Each December crowds of people take to Oxford Street to visit the biggest stores so that they can find the best Christmas presents for their loved ones.
Yet the amount of space available for us all is getting smaller as more and more shoppers flock to the capital’ s major high street, making it a more dangerous place. Sarah Williams, Living Streets’ London Campaigns Manager says: “The situation is about to reach breaking point on Oxford Street.
As it is, it’ s horrendously overcrowded but with Crossrail due to open in 2018 we’ re looking at a significantly bigger problem. We must act now to reduce overcrowding, sky high pollution levels and an unsafe environment.
Sarah Williams, Living Streets’ London Campaigns Manager says: “The situation is about to reach breaking point on Oxford Street. As it is, it’ s horrendously overcrowded but with Crossrail due to open in 2018 we’ re looking at a significantly bigger problem. We must act now to reduce overcrowding, sky high pollution levels and an unsafe environment.”The 1.2 mile stretch is already Europe’ s busiest retail street and is especially crowded at Christmas time. In fact, throughout the year the street is predominantly visited by people looking to shop (60% TfL survey 2013).
Sadly every six days a person gets hit by a vehicle along Oxford Street. In fact, one in four of London’ s collision hotspots are in, or around, Oxford Street . Sarah Williams says: “For many, the experience of crowds and crowds of people on Oxford Street puts them off going altogether, especially at Christmas. Oxford Street is a very uncomfortable place for pedestrians , leaving them feeling restricted and people say the change they’ d most like to see there is less traffic. Those who do take a trip along it end up feeling flustered, frustrated and fed up. What is this going to mean for future Christmas shopping on Oxford Street if nothing changes?”
Sadly every six days a person gets hit by a vehicle along Oxford Street.
Oxford Street is at the heart of London and should be an iconic place for tourists (who make up 50 per cent of visitors) and residents to enjoy. But current projections by TfL are that without a radically different approach to our transport system, there will be increases in congestion of 60% in Central London and 25% in Inner London by 2031.
So will London be a mega city choked by traffic, with polluted, hazardous town centres and streets? Or will it be a world-leading city with the freedom to walk, breathe fresh air and experience our iconic streets, public spaces, and fantastic, thriving town centres.
Walking offers a simple solution for our future. By rethinking our attitude towards transport and prioritising and investing in walking, London can be a world-class city to live, visit and do business in. Together we can create a city that puts walking first. A new Mayor has the power to make this vision a reality and the first step is by pedestrianising Oxford Street.
For any media enquiries, please contact the Living Streets press team on 020 7456 9790 , or out of office hours, 07545 209 865.
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Notes to editors
We are Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.
We want to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. We believe that a walking nation means progress for everyone.
Our ambition is to get people of all generations to enjoy the benefits that this simple act brings and to ensure all our streets are fit for walking.
For more than 85 years we’ve been a beacon for walking. In our early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits. Now, our campaigns and local projects deliver real change to overcome barriers to walking and our ground breaking initiatives such as the world’s biggest Walk to School campaign encourage millions of people to walk.