Published: July 19, 2016
CC BY 2.0 Paul Robertson
London’s iconic Oxford Street has long been known as a hotspot for both shopping and air pollution. Attracting more than four million people a week, the street is the very definition of urban hustle and bustle, and the problems that come with it. Its constant stream of taxis and diesel-powered buses (cars are banned during the day) has made it an epicenter for London’s air quality problems. But all that may be about to change.
The BBC reports that Oxford Street will be entirely pedestrianized by 2020, with the project being phased in in two stages to minimize disruption.
When viewed in context of London Mayor Sadiq Kahn’s broader air pollution crackdown—not to mention London’s recent investments in impressive bike-friendly infrastructure—this is one more sign that London is firmly committed to both tackling emissions and taking the city in a more livable, people-friendly direction.
What’s probably most exciting about this, though, is the fact that Oxford Street is known the world over. Hopefully it will spur similar rethinking of what a city can and should look like from other metropolises across the world.