“Making Oxford Street a place to be enjoyed, not endured” - Oxford Street is doomed to decline unless pedestrians are put first says new report from London Assembly Member Stephen Knight

October 21, 2014 11:00 AM

The long term future of Oxford Street as an international shopping centre will only be secured if it moves towards permanent pedestrianisation, says a new report out today by Stephen Knight, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson. The report argues that Oxford Street will fall further behind other shopping centres, both in the UK and around the world, unless serious problems with congestion, pollution and safety are finally resolved.

The report sets out a realistic and incremental process for moving towards pedestrianisation by 2020 which will ensure that Oxford Street not only becomes a far more attractive shopping centre, but is also able to cope with the immense challenges that will be created by Crossrail.

Setting out the reasons for moving towards full pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, starting with the immediate re-introduction of VIP Day (Very Important Pedestrian Day) - which sadly has been cancelled once again this year - Stephen Knight said:

"Oxford Street needs to be a place that is enjoyed, yet in practice it is largely endured by most people.

"We need to wake up to the facts. A shopping centre with the highest known concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the world and where pedestrians are knocked down every five days is doomed to decline in popularity and economic prosperity in the years ahead.
"Oxford Street's crowded pavements are already acting as a deterrent to many older people and families with children. Unless real changes occur many more people will start using other shopping centres.

"If Oxford Street is to retain its position as a world class retail centre it must finally resolve the conflict between its role as both a retail centre and transport link.

"In the years ahead pedestrians will only put Oxford Street first when they are put first."