London Mayor candidate encourages industry to support traffic-free Oxford Street proposal

Transport specialist Christian Wolmar, who is campaigning for the Labour nomination to stand in 2016 as Boris Johnson's successor, has told Event the industry should trial events on London's Oxford Street in a bid to save the area from declining footfall.

Should Oxford Street be traffic free? (Christian Scholz/Flickr)
Should Oxford Street be traffic free? (Christian Scholz/Flickr)

It comes as Wolmar was quoted in an Evening Standard article last Friday (12 September), saying traffic should be banned on the central London road in order to save the destination from reduced visitor numbers.

Wolmar told Event: "Event organisers need to test the idea of a traffic-free Oxford Street by hosting events there, in a similar way to Regent Street. We need to return this street to Londoners and something radical needs to be done.

"It has a similar potential to South Bank to host concerts and events, but cannot be done without the support of the event industry."

He added the execution of events on the busy London street, known predominantly for being a shopping destination, should not be one-off concepts. "They need to be genuinely tested to see what would happen and whether other events could be successfully hosted there in the future to preserve the street."

Wolmar explained main roads in major international cities which have been transformed into pedestrian-only zones is becoming a worldwide trend, citing locations in France, Istanbul and Copenhagen as valid examples. "London will get there in the end – it will be a zeitgeist towards reinventing the area and making it a more pleasant environment for Londoners and tourists."

Regent Street has been hosting a series of events as part of its Summer Streets season, making the area a traffic-free zone throughout July.

Do you think events should be hosted on London's Oxford Street? Comment below to let us know what you think.

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