Work is expected to begin later this year as part of major changes to tackle “severe congestion” in the region which council leaders say is “unsustainable and requires action.”
The project will work with Transport for London to improve access to Oxford Circus tube station and give priority to pedestrians.
The pedestrianization of Oxford Circus has been a topic of discussion for city councils for many years, dating back to the 1980s.
Plans have often been put on hold due to difficulties in re-routing public transport, as well as increased travel times and potential losses for taxi drivers.
New Elizabeth Line should help attract 60 million additional pedestrians per year to the center of London – and 70% of people will travel to Oxford Street via the underground.
Westminster City Council Chief Rachael Robathan said: “There is an urgent need to tackle the issues of congestion and pedestrian safety, poor air quality and noise.
“The severe congestion of Oxford Circus, of people and traffic, is unsustainable and requires action.
“The day after the pandemic, and with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, there is a compelling need and an overwhelming opportunity to build back better; a status quo approach will no longer work.
“We hope that the creation of these pedestrian-only spaces at Oxford Circus will not only improve safety, security and accessibility, but create an iconic destination in the heart of London. “
The program is linked to Westminster City Council’s Greenways project, which is designed to improve the experience for cyclists in the Oxford Street area and the borough.
A design competition organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects from this summer will help shape the final project to ensure ‘world class designs’ and ‘value for money’.
Plans call for additional planting and seating in the shopping and leisure district as part of “significant improvements to public spaces,” according to the project’s announcement by Westminster City Council and the Crown Estate.