Oxford Street used to be a street that lead to the gallows but these days it is home to half a million shoppers per day and home to more than 300 shops. The Street is not what it’s used to be – is it perhaps time for a makeover?
Known as one of the most populated streets in the world, Oxford Street is now home to hundreds of shops with an average rent price of £1,000 per sq. ft. It’s known as one of the most populous streets in the world and some of its pedestrian crossings are among the most dangerous ones in the country. The move toward pedestrianising the street appears to become a reality and all of the mayoral candidates in London support the project.
The Pedestrianisation Scheme
Pedestrianisation will be good for business, as there was already experimentation done with Oxford Streets. VIP days were held where pedestrians were the only ones allows on the street, and they have seen tremendous results – up to 1 million people walked the street in only one day. The shops took in more money than on any other day.
But the question remains, where to put all the taxis and buses that currently fill the street? Christian Wolmar, transport writer, says that buses would have to be reorganised. London has many wonderful bus routes and they should be explored. In Shakespeare’s time, the street was called Tyburn Road and the street led right to a city that also supplied water. The street got its name from the Earl of Oxford, Edward Harley in the 17th century.
Especially during the holidays Oxford Street sees a huge amount of visitor traffic and this presses the need for pedestrianisation even more. London wants the street to become beautiful again, and one that people can be proud of. But some disagree.
The New West End Company says that they don’t feel pedestrianisation would solve the issue of pollution and congestion. They believe that traffic will simply be forced to surrounding streets, and they are in plans with the City Council to reduce the amount of traffic that the street takes.
Some also believe that not everyone will want to walk, especially elderly people. Transportation makes things easier and more convenient, so it’s something to consider. But there is a solution to this, as taxis would still run in the side streets. This means that you don’t have to necessarily walk all the way to your favourite shops as you’ll be able to catch a cab for the most part. But then again, walking along Oxford Street is meant to be an enjoyable activity on its own.
Oxford Street has a long and often depressing history, but it is undoubtedly one of the most popular streets in London – and the world. With the holidays upon us, it’s easy to understand why Oxford Street may need a makeover to allow everyone to enjoy the street in a less congested way.