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Plans unveiled to pedestrianise London's Oxford Street in 2018

The western section of London's main shopping street is to be transformed into a pedestrian zone filled with public art, it was announced today.

London mayor Sadiq Kahn has revealed plans to start imposing traffic restrictions along Oxford Street by the end of 2018, allowing the congested street to become a pedestrian-priority area.

Visualisations show the pedestrianised zone stretching all the way from Oxford Circus to Selfridges, with colourful shapes painted over the pavement and public art suspended over the road.

“This is a hugely exciting moment for the capital," Khan said in a statement.

"Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard."

Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping thoroughfares in Europe, with an estimated 500,000 pedestrians walking through it each day.

Currently pedestrians share space with two lanes of traffic – meaning shoppers, tourists, residents and workers have to battle with streams of taxi cabs, rickshaws, buses and bicycles.

In the new proposal, buses would be re-routed and taxi ranks expanded. Plus the road would be brought up to the same level as the pavement, making it more accessible for wheelchair users.

Cyclists would be required to dismount in the area. However the proposals promise a separate consultation on implementing new cycle routes along quieter parallel roads either side of Oxford Street, to be held in the summer of 2018.

Oxford Street would then be able accommodate a sequence of public plazas lined with trees and benches with 25 planned pedestrian crossings. Traffic would still run north to south across the road at certain points. An 800-metre piece of public art could be commissioned to line the new space.

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