Oxford Circus will no longer be a road junction, and the sides facing Oxford Street will be pedestrianised, under plans announced today. The two sides of Oxford Street leading to Oxford Circus will be pedestrianised, while Regent Street will continue uninterrupted – effectively turning Oxford Cirus into just a normal road.

To enable this, an Experimental Traffic Order will be issued that will stop road traffic from using Oxford Street between Great Portland Street on the east and John Princes’s Street on the west. Those traffic orders will come into effect later this year, and the two sides of Oxford Circus will be car-free from November.

Newly pedestrianised areas, overly on OpenStreetMap

Running alongside that, an architectural competition is being run which will come up with plans to revamp the area on a permanent basis.

The first stage will be delivered by the end of the year, in time for the possible Christmas shopping rush, and the rest phased in over the next year or two.

Artist impression from a bird’s eye view showing future transformation of Oxford Circus with traffic continuing on Regent Street and two new Piazzas on Oxford Street, either end of the circus.

Although the details are minimal, Westminster Council and the Crown Estate are also looking at how they can improve access to Oxford Circus tube station. The indicative image is very early stages, and not to be taken literally, but could suggest they are looking adding two new entrances in the middle of the former Oxford Street.

Artist impression of the western piazza with new access into the London Underground, improved public realm and greening. Viewpoint is taken from Oxford Circus looking west into Oxford Street.

Section through Oxford Street showing two new Piazzas either end of Oxford Circus with improved access and new entrances from the piazzas directly into the underground station.

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9 comments
  1. JP says:

    The new entrances slap~bang in the middle of the road can only be the first step (by the back door) towards permanently removing traffic from Oxford Street.
    Unless they are piddly little road-island steps, from the indicative images… they are wide portals which would be difficult to drive a bus around if they ever changed their minds.
    Presumably lift towers could be provided too which are equally expensive to tarmac over if Oxford Street gets vehicles back in the future.

  2. Dan says:

    Ian – do you have a link to Sadiq Khan’s Oxford Circus pedestrianisation plan, which Westminster vetoed a few years back, so we can compare the schemes?

    I don’t really understand the point of not pedestrianising the whole street. Buses won’t be able to use it any more. Will Oxford Street just be for taxis and cycles?

  3. Melvyn says:

    While full step free access to Oxford Circus Station would be expensive installing lift or escalators from street to booking hall level would in effect make the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines stair free thus improving accessibility for those who have difficulty using stairs and help those with luggage or prams.

    Looking at that new entrance at Liverpool Street Station for Crossrail then almost anything is possible…

    One has to ask why this wasn’t done years ago or has the emptying of London by the pandemic made politicians realise they have no right to customers but have to attract them !

  4. Jakob Hartmann says:

    While they are at it… they should add a tiny little tunnel from Oxford Circus station to the Elizabeth Line platforms at Bond Street – to connect the Victoria Line to the Elizabeth Line.

    • Ryan says:

      It’s very much on purpose that this hasn’t been done. Making Victoria line passengers use the Central line, and making Elizabeth line passengers use the Northern and Jubilee lines, ensures that crowds are spread out. Otherwise, Oxford Circus station (already significantly overcrowded in non-pandemic peaks) would tip into dangerous levels of foot traffic and effectively grind to a halt.

  5. Kim Rennie says:

    There wouldn’t be so many “empty” buses in Oxford Street if so many weren’t starting or finishing their journeys in the area. Cross-London routes that had existed for 90-odd years or more were needlessly split to make the privatisation of London Buses easier (eg the 8 replaced by the 98 and 8) by ending routes operated by more than one unit. Of course if it isn’t a bike or e-scooter (legal or not) then Shapps, Khan or TfL aren’t interested.

    • ChrisC says:

      The fact is that the number of people going the entirity of one end of a route to another is miniscule.

      Also long routes are more prone to disruption and it takes longer to recover from it causing passengers unnecessary delay.

      Your last point is just silly.

  6. Chris Rogers says:

    Strange how things keep appearing for the West End – the ‘mound’, the trees in Regent St, the plans to reclad and gut Debenhams. Or rather, maybe becasue I’m no longer there much/at al it just seems strange. Hard enough keeping up with the TCR/Charing Cross Rd changes that ARE being built.

    It will take a decade at least to achieve the tube entrances, esp given TfL’s current woes.

  7. almost witty says:

    So what happens to the existing bus routes that go through Oxford Circus (eg the #94) — do they go around?

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