More information has been released about plans to pedestrianise the lengths of Oxford Street next to Oxford Circus and divert road traffic around it.
The initial phase will see traffic restricted from using Oxford Street between Great Portland Street on the eastern side and John Princes Street on the western side. That comes into effect next month.
With road traffic – which is mainly buses and taxis unable to use the east-west route across Oxford Circus, it will be diverted northwards to parallel roads.
Initially, the traffic will be sent via Wigmore Street while road improvements are carried out to allow for a long term diversion around Oxford Circus, with improvements to Margaret Street and Cavendish Square, and a number of smaller side streets.
Getting rid of Oxford Circus as a junction is expected to will see westbound journeys by buses becoming about a minute longer in the evenings, but they expect southbound journeys to be 5-10 minutes quicker throughout the day.
A lot of pedestrian improvements on the side streets are being proposed as part of the plans, along with some additional loading bays for deliveries. In terms of total works being carried out, the enabling works in the side roads are as big a project as the Oxford Street pedestrianisation, even if they get far less attention.
Enabling works and the piazzas will be developed by December 2021, with permanent works to follow following the award of a design competition and a second consultation round in 2022.
The completion of the surface works is expected to be by the winter of 2023.
The additional information was included in a brochure which has been added to the consultation webpage.
A proposal to add two new entrances to the Oxford Circus tube station will come later, with plans for one to be added from 2024 and the second a year later in 2025. Those changes will be entirely dependent on finding the cash for the additional entrances though.
A missed opportunity would have been to include the proposed western entrance into the Crown Estate’s planned redevelopment of the corner block currently occupied by Microsoft. Including a new entrance into the frontage facing Oxford Street roughly where Swallow Passage is today would remove the need for an entrance to sit in the middle of the pavement.