Motion backed urging re-introduction of road vehicle-free days on busy shopping street, which suffers from high NO2 pollution
The London Assembly has called on the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to support the re-introduction of pedestrian-only days on Oxford Street, which suffers from some of the highest levels of air pollution in the capital.
Assembly Members today (November 5) backed a motion by 16 votes to eight urging the London Mayor to start work on options to cut air pollution and improve safety on the busy shopping street, amid evidence of rising collisions between pedestrians and buses.
The motion backed by the Assembly today calls in the short term for the â€œhighly popularâ€ VIP day to be re-introduced this Christmas, alongside â€œa programme of weekend pedestrian closures over summer months based on the successful New York Summer Streets programmeâ€.
It also urges TfL to â€œdraw up a number of options to end pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries as well as reduce air pollution in Oxford Streetâ€, which would then form the basis of a public consultation â€œbefore the end of 2015â€.
In addition, the motion notes the comments made by Kingâ€™s College air quality scientist Dr David Carslaw from a July interview with the Sunday Times, in which he said that measurements of nitrogen dioxide concentrations on Oxford Street were to his knowledge â€œthe highest in the world in terms of both hourly and annual meanâ€ and â€œas high as they have ever been in the long history of air pollutionâ€ (see airqualitynews.com story).
However, the London Mayorâ€™s office has strongly denied Dr Carslawâ€™s claims (see airqualitynews.com story).
The motion follows a report last month by the Assemblyâ€™s Liberal Democrat group, which argued that Oxford Street would be â€œdoomed to declineâ€ unless it was fully pedestrianized by 2020.
Transport for London (TfL) figures also show pedestrian collisions with buses have increased on Oxford Street, while another report by the Assemblyâ€™s transport committee earlier this year â€“ â€˜Feet Firstâ€™ â€“revealed that six of the capitalâ€™s top 24 pedestrian collision hotspots are on this road.
According to Lib Dem Assembly Member Stephen Knight â€“ who proposed todayâ€™s motion for pedestrian-only days â€“ minor modifications to Oxford Street will â€œnot be sufficient to maintain the West Endâ€™s status as a premier shopping destination in the face of poor pedestrian safety and world beating pollution levelsâ€.
Mr Knight said today: â€œOxford Street cannot go on being a street where a pedestrian is knocked-down every five days and where nitrogen dioxide pollution is higher than anywhere else on the planet. The on-going conflict between pedestrians and vehicles must be resolved in favour of pedestrians once and for all, if the west end is to remain a world-class shopping centre. This motion asks the Mayor to draw up proposals and start a formal consultation by the end of 2015.â€