The independent London newspaper

Reasons for backing pedestrianisation are overwhelming

07 July, 2017

• THE reason why we back Sadiq Khan’s proposal to pedestrianise Oxford Street is simply because there is no other feasible alternative which will stop the ongoing slaughter of pedestrians year after year.

There is over one collision every week. That is one citizen killed or injured week after week. Is this the price that opponents of pedestrianisation are prepared to pay?

And how are we going to rid the street of the worst air pollution in the world if we do not remove the traffic. There will be millions more visitors in the street when Crossrail opens. You can hardly walk on the pavement when Oxford Street is busy now.

Allowing these extra people into the street with the existing traffic is a deliberate act of municipal irresponsibility. Lambs to the slaughter comes to mind.

The argument about displacement occurs on each and every occasion that traffic flows are altered. The evidence is that it is never is as bad as people fear. Yet again I plead for a proper scheme on adjacent streets to keep out rat-running traffic.

Residents don’t have to put up with the blight of so much traffic if they don’t want to. What you can not do is claim some privileged position just because you live there to the detriment of the millions of people who come into the West End and are its lifeblood.

I am genuinely sorry that Susan Kaye’s (Make your voices heard if you would be adversely affected by pedestrianisation, June 30) journey to Oxford Street will become more difficult and that she might choose to shop elsewhere. But she is just one person and the vast majority will benefit from these changes.

In any case it’s the first duty of government to keep its citizens safe and that applies as much to the many millions of pedestrians who use Oxford Street every year as it does to the nightmare of terrorism or an awful tower block fire. Each human life should be valued. Currently pedestrians in Oxford Street are not.

Chair, Westminster Living Streets


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