Plans to make Oxford Street traffic-free halted by Westminster Council

The Evening Standard reports that Westminster’s cabinet member for Oxford Street, Daniel Astaire, has now told officials to stop working on the pedestrianisation plan for Oxford Street. At a full council meeting last week Mr Astaire said: “TfL and the Mayor are the main proponents of the changes to the street, but it belongs to the council and the decision rests with us.

Joe Irvin of Living Streets said

“Oxford Street has a horrendous casualty record and suffers illegal levels of air pollution. These problems will only be exacerbated with the additional 150,000 people expected to arrive via the new Elizabeth Line opening in December. We can’t afford to wait.

“We do not support any solution that simply pushes the problem onto neighbouring streets. That’s why from the start we have advocated for an area-wide approach that makes the whole area a safer and more pleasant place to walk, live and shop.

“Any delays to transforming Oxford Street will threaten the health and safety of everyone using London’s most iconic high street and the economic viability of the area.”

Barcelona: the walking city

by Rosalind Readhead, Ban Private Cars in London

Barcelona1Barcelona is blessed with amazing natural infrastructure: backed by mountains, flanked by two rivers and with a horizon stretching across the blue sea of the Mediterranean.

My wonderful guide, Carlos Orti of Barcelona Camina, took me up to the mountains by funicular train for a strategic view across the city.

Here we found locals picking the tender stems of wild asparagus. Whilst the foragers were picking out the delicate green shoots of spring, we were picking out the crucial points of infrastructure in the city. Continue reading “Barcelona: the walking city”

Expert body makes links between physical environment, activity and health

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence today published guidelines recommending that councils ensure footpaths and cycle routes are convenient, safe and attractive to use. Widening footpaths, repairing potholes and clearing pavement parking would mean improved routes for cyclists, pedestrians and other users, NICE says. It recommended that councils should restrict vehicle access, making more areas pedestrianised.

The Mail  reported criticisms of the recommendations by the Taxpayers Alliance and the IEA with the headline: ‘Now nannying health chiefs say that roads should be NARROWED or even closed to force motorists to walk more.’