Published: 11 July, 2013
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
CAMPAIGNERS have renewed calls for the pedestrianisation of the West End after new figures revealed a 50 per cent increase in the number of people killed on Westminster’s roads.
Last year nine people were killed in accidents in Westminster and a further 184 were seriously injured, according to Transport for London (TfL). The statistics show that more people were killed or seriously injured in Westminster than any other London borough in 2012, with deaths increasing by 50 per cent and serious injuries by 19 per cent.
The council have been urged to improve their road safety record and have been accused of failing to make the city a “safe and pleasurable place to visit for pedestrians”.
Westminster Living Streets chairman Peter Hartley said: “Westminster City Council’s road safety record has to improve.
“Crossrail will soon bring millions more pedestrians onto Oxford Street. A solution needs to be found to open the whole of Oxford Street to pedestrians permanently. We can then walk around in safety, breathe clean air and shop comfortably.”
Martin Low, Westminster’s City Commissioner of Transportation, said: “Westminster deals with one million people coming in and out of the city every day.
“Our pavements and roads will be expected to take the pressure of 200 million extra people when Crossrail arrives. This is why we are already developing individual cycling and walking strategies to respond to the increase in demand.
“Whilst these figures are disappointing, the council has already taken a number of important steps to reduce accidents and make the roads safer and we are looking to do more.
“For example, allowing motorbikes in many of our bus lanes, providing revolutionary pedestrian perch points in main roads like Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Regent Street, installing pedestrian countdown signals at crossings and providing award-winning free cycle training. Pedestrianising a road like Oxford Street is not something the council is considering, largely due to the difficulty of managing the demand in bus traffic that would need to go elsewhere.
“But we have already asked Transport for London to reduce the amount of buses using this road by at least 20 per cent.”