Lorries, taxis, and cars are set to be banned from Tottenham Court Road as part of a £35 million project that aims to improve the West End.
The road will be open to bikes and buses only between 8 am and 7 pm, Monday to Saturday, in an attempt to reduce the congestion and air pollution and speed up the bus routes.
The changes will come into effect in March. It will transform Tottenham Court Road into a two-way street that has wider pavements and new pedestrian crossings.
The traffic ban will be part of a regeneration scheme that was launched by the Camden Council in 2015 in order to create new open spaces and improve the air quality in the area.
During an interview with the Evening Standard, the cabinet member for improving Camden’s environment, Adam Harrison stated: “Not having taxis in the daytime will lead to 25 per cent less traffic, with all the benefits for air quality and congestion that go along with it.”
However, cabbies have criticised the plans. They said that they will have a negative effect on the businesses and residents in the area.
The chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), Richard Massett, stated: “Licensed taxis are a vital means of public transportation and the only part of the transport network that is 100 per cent wheelchair accessible, so should not be excluded from routes which buses and cyclists can access.”
The project is also set to replace the one-way system on nearby Gower Street and devise a new park in Alfred Place, which is currently a road.
The council will build a new pedestrianised plaza that will be next to the Centre Point building and Tube station to help in easing pedestrian crowding ahead of the delayed opening of the Crossrail.
The director of strategy and network development at Transport for London (TfL), Ben Plowden, stated: “We’re pleased to see that our funding has helped Camden Council move on to the next phase of its West End project in March.”
He added: “Their decision to reduce motor traffic in the area, alongside our investment in roads and public spaces, will reduce danger to the most vulnerable road users as well as helping to clean up the area’s toxic air.”
However, the TfL said that it understands that Camden Council will review its position on taxis when they are “substantially” zero emission.
Last year, the plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street were overturned by Westminster City Council after the opposition from local residents.