London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed that he has instructed engineers to investigate how best to ban traffic from Oxford Street in London.
The busy shopping street has attracted attention from all the major London Mayoral candidates, who have supported the pedestrianisation of the area.
Recent findings that Oxford Circus is one of the most polluted areas in the country have increased support for the plans to remove buses and cars.
But Mr Johnson has previously ruled out full pedestrianisation, opting instead for plans to reduce bus stops and widen the pavements.
The Mayor has now written to Lib Dem London Assembly Member Stephen Knight confirming Transport for London and Westminster City Council were “examining a range of options for improving the environment for pedestrians on Oxford Street”.
Mr Knight told the Evening Standard: “If Oxford Street and the West End is to remain a world class retail centre if must become a much safer and pleasant place to visit, and that must mean moving towards permanent pedestrianisation.”
The West End Partnership Board will consider the proposals this year, Mr Johnson added.
We recently reported how the biggest London mayoral candidates have agreed to pursue the policies, if elected.
In response to Stop Killing Cyclists' 10 by 2020 campaign, which sets out ten asks for mayoral candidates, there was unanimous support to improve air quality on one of Europe's most polluted streets and, perhaps more surprisingly, for the Idaho Stop law, named after the US state where cyclists can treat red lights as stop signs, and proceed if the way is clear.
Mayoral candidates were chosen by their respective parties, and are: Sadiq Khan (Labour), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat), Sian Berry (Green). Rosalind Readhead stands as an independent candidate.
Stop Killing Cyclists' Donnachadh McCarthy said: “The 2016 Mayoral election provides an urgent opportunity to speed up the pace of transforming London into a safer, healthier and more beautiful city, fit for humans aged from 5 to 105 to cycle, walk and do business in safety.
"We welcome the fact that all five candidates replied to our 10 by 2020 Challenge and all agree on many radical new crucial safer cycling measures.
"However, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Tories' Zac Goldsmith need to firm up their commitments to a safer London, currently too many of their promises are riddled with get-out clauses."
Candidate signup to 10 by 2020 Campaign asks:
• Oxford Street to close to motor traffic - All five candidates supported this
• 10% of Transport for London budget to be spent on cycling by 2020 - Sian Berry (Green) and Rosalind Readhead (Independent) have agreed to spend 10% of Transport for London's budget on cycling, while Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon pledged to spend 3% and more if cycling exceeded 3% of traffic. Across London cycling currently makes up around 2.5% of journeys. Sadiq Khan (Lab) promised a "significant" increase in cycling budget
• "Idaho Stop"- style law - allowing cyclists can turn left on red - All five candidates supported this
• Mini Hollands for all London boroughs - All five candidates support the idea of more Mini Hollands, schemes currently in progress in three outer London boroughs designed to showcase Dutch-style infrastructure for cycling and walking
• More safety equipment in lorries, more protected bike routes, more car free space in London and rush hour tipper truck bans - All five candidates agreed "to varying degrees" to support these measures
• More 20mph zones - Four candidates supported more 20mph zones
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.