The Anonymous Widower

London To Get Three New Market Halls

This article in the Standard, describes the start of an interesting new venture.

This is the first few paragraphs.

Mannequins will make way for food stalls at the former BHS store in Oxford Street as it transforms into a bustling hub for foodies under plans to open as the UK’s largest food hall.

BHS ceased trading in 2016 and the site sat largely empty until Polish fashion label Reserved moved in last year. Now, the remaining space at the beleaguered department store chain will be the flagship branch of a new venture bringing three permanent food markets to the capital.

A disused Tube station ticket hall in Fulham and a former nightclub in Victoria will also be transformed.

Between them the markets will feature more than 50 bars and eateries, including outposts of well-known London restaurants and street food traders as well as a smaller number of start-ups.

The venue in Oxford Street will certainly be handy if I need a spot of lunch, when I’m in the area.

But will it make the streets more crowded? Or will Crossrail and pedestrianisation give everybody a lot more space?

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | | Leave a comment

Bond Street Station Gets A New Entrance

The new entrance to Bond Street tub station has now opened on the North side of Oxford Street.

This makes it easier to enter and exit the station on the department store side of the street.

Transport for London have produced a video called Bond Street station redevelopment for 2017 – virtual tour walk-through – Tube improvements.

It illustrates several features of the enlarged station.

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Oxford Street Could Be Pedestrianised By Next Christmas

The title of this post is the same as the sub-title of this article in the Independent.

The aim is to pedestrianise Oxford Street from Oxford Street to Orchard Street by December 2018, which is the date when the Elizabeth Line will open.

It is an ambitious plan and despite substantial backing from the Mayor, Westminster City Council, the West End Company and groups like the British Heart Foundation, I don’t think it will be plain sailing.

Walking Along Oxford Street

In Walking Along Oxford Street, I show various pictures I took this morning whilst walking between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road stations.

Oxford Street looked to have improved, since I last did this. But then it’s a long time since I’ve walked the streets without crowds.

My views are as follows.

Measuring Success Or Failure

The success or failure of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is very easy to gauge.

The rate of change of turnover is a direct measure.

The Buses

I regularly go shopping in Oxford Street and often used a bus to travel there and back.

I used to be able to get a 73 bus from either 200 metres from my house or by changing at the Angel. But since the 73 has been cut back to Oxford Circus, I’ve tended to use the Underground, often by taking a bus to Bank for the Central Line.

Under Sadiq Khan’s plan all buses will be removed from Oxford Street and only the 139 and the 390  will remain, being rerouted along Wigmore Street.

A lot of people who go to Oxford Street regularly by bus, will lose their direct bus route. How will they react?

Will they use the Underground or the Elizabeth Line or will they go shopping elsewhere?

Since the 73 has been cut back, I think I’ve also gone to Oxford Street a lot less.

Why? I’ve no idea.

But it could be, that regularly, I’d buy something in John Lewis,Selfridges or perhaps in Bond Street and get straight on a 73 bus to the Angel, where I just got off the bus and waited until a bus home arrived at the same stop. As the 73 buses are New Routemasters, they’re a real shoppers’ bus and a lot easier than the Underground.

The Underground And Crossrail

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

Between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street, which will be the first section to be pedestrianised, you’ll never be more than two hundred metres from a fully step-free Elizabeth Line station.

Will this be enough to do away with the buses on Oxford Street?

Holborn station is being expanded with a new entrance, so will Oxford Circus and Marble Arch be upgraded?

Cycling

This will be banned. Although the plan envisages alternative cycle routes to the North and South.

Taxis

These will be banned from Oxford Street. Taxi ranks will be provided.

Will this be acceptable to the taxi drivers?

Uber And Mini-Cabs

These will be banned from Oxford Street.

How will these effect the surrounding streets?

Deliveries

How will these be arranged? You can’t get behind all the shops!

The Stalls

There are lots of stalls selling various goods along Oxford Street.

Will the stallholders give up their pitches quietly, if necessary?

Security

I’m no security expert, but after the latest attacks in the UK and Europe, surely keeping out vehicles must remove the weapon of choice from a large group of terrorists.

Local Residents

There are quite a few residents in the area perhaps two hundred metres on either side of Oxford Street.

They could be the biggest losers with traffic cramming  the side streets.

Timing

Crossrail opens in December 2018. Does this mean the 1st, 31st or some day in between?

How do you time the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street to fit in with Crossrail?

Especially, as December 2018 will probably contain Christmas!

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of discussion about this scheme.

As to my view, I like pedestrianised streets and Oxford Street should have gone this way years ago.

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 13 Comments

The Crossrail Era Cometh

This title of this post comes from a comment on the Drapers Online web site.

It discusses the effect Crossrail is going to have on the shops in Oxford Street. This paragraph is typical of the bullish tone of the comment.

The Elizabeth Line is central to ushering in a new chapter for Oxford Street and the wider West End. The line is expected to bring an extra 60 million visits to the area each year, in addition to the current 200 million annual visits. Retailers in the West End will receive a huge boost from two new stations opening at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.

I wonder when a railway got such a large comment in a magazine or web site, devoted to the fashion business.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Chiltern Railways Must Be Chuffed

This article in the Oxford Mail is entitled One Million Passengers Use New Rail Link Between Bicester And Oxford In First Six Months.

Chiltern Railways spokesman, says they are delighted.

The article also discloses that the proportion of visitors to Bicester Village, travelling by train has gone up from three to ten per cent.

I haven’t been to Bicester Village since C died, but it was always a difficult place to park, so if nothing else the economics of Bicester Village, must be improved, if visitors come by train. That must mean the ratio of shops to parking can go up.

There must be a lot of data about rail-connected shopping centres, as the UK has several.

  • Eastfield at Stratford.
  • Grand Central in Birmingham
  • Meadowhall
  • Metro Centre at Gateshead
  • Oxford Street
  • Westfield at Shepherds Bush

It will be interesting to see what happens after the following.

  • Oxford Street gets two double-ended Crossrail stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
  • The Trafford Centre is connected to the Manchester Metrolink.
  • Merry Hill is connected to the Midland Metro.

I don’t think that the rail and tram companies would be making these investments, if they felt they would be losing money.

There must be a very strong link to the bottom line of Shopping Centres.

Consider.

  • Provision of car parking spaces must be expensive.
  • Provision of car parking uses up space that could be used for retail outlets or leisure facilities.
  • Lots of car parking produces traffic jams.
  • Car parking regularly gets full.
  • Cars get broken into and damaged.
  • Increasing capacity on a rail or tram link is not the Shopping Centre’s capital investment.

But most importantly, does a rail/tram link attract people like me, who can’t or don’t drive.

I also think, that Shopping Centres benefit from passing trade from the rail or tram link.

If I’m passing Eastfield or Westfield in London or Meadowhall in Sheffield and need lunch or a gluten-free sandwich from Marks and Spencer, I will often break my journey and have a quick shop.

In many cases, this is easier on a train or tram, than in a car, as the driver parks the former for you and you’re often immediately in the Shopping Centre.

I’m particularly looking forward to the opening of the Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station when Crossrail opens next year. This entrance will be next door to the flagship Marks and Spencer store at the Pantheon.

 

 

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Isn’t The Mall Traffic Free?

This article on the BBC is entitledPlans to block vehicles from the Mall brought forward after Berlin lorry attack.

I can’t understand, why the Mall isn’t traffic free from say nine in the morning until perhaps four or five in the afternoon.

This would create a large walking area from Trafalgar Square to Victoria, with the shops of Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets and Crossrail  to the North-West and the Thames not far away in the East.

This Google Map shows the area around Buckingham Palace.

bh

It would improve London for everyone, except prossibly taxi and Uber drivers.

But just as with the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, there would be protests.

December 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Walk Between The Two New Crossrail Entrances At Bond Street Station

After a wrote A Look At Bond Street Station, I decided to go and have a look on the surface.

This Google Map shows the area.

Bond Street Crossrail Station

Bond Street Crossrail Station

Note.

  1. The new Western entrance is in Davies Street just to the South of the current Bond Street station.
  2. The new Eastern entrance just to the West of the green oasis of Hanover Square.
  3. South Moulton Street is the road running diagonally from the tube station.

Shopping in Oxford and Bond Streets will be much easier.

Road Layout At Bond Street East Station

I found this map on the this page of the Crossrail web site.

hanoversquare

This is Crossrail’s description of the area at the present time.

The urban realm design provides a new setting for the Crossrail station and a framework for restoration of the historic layout of the square by creating generous pedestrian areas around the gardens and on all sides of the square.

The new Crossrail station entrance on Hanover Square is located in the Mayfair conservation area, between Oxford Street and Regent Street. In the past the environment in Hanover Square has been dominated by traffic, with very wide carriageways, low quality pedestrian space and the general lack of a coherent public realm.

Crossrail’s proposals and those of Great bPortland Estates sound a lot better, with shared space and all the features pedestrians and cyclists need.

November 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?

I have decided to use Elizabeth Line for Crossrail from now on, as most articles seem to be dropping Crossrail in favour of the operational name.

I had an e-mail from Crossrail today and they’re still using Crossrail.

I have written before about Crossrail being a line for shopping in Is Crossrail Going To Be The Shopping Line?, but today I found this article in Retail Week, which is entitled London’s Oxford Street anticipates £1bn boost from Crossrail. This is said.

The iconic London high street already generates £5 billion per year in sales and New West End Company hopes to hit an annual target of £6 billion by 2020 – two years after Crossrail’s Queen Elizabeth line is expected to completed.

With the Crossrail providing direct commutes for counties such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, New West End Company hopes the three-mile shopping precinct experience a 30 per cent increase in visits.

In addition, 2000 new retail jobs are expected to be created, and the nearby Bird Street will transform into a new shopping precinct thanks to private donations and £200,000 from Transport for London’s Future Street’s Incubator Scheme.

Is Brexit figured in to these calculations?

I think that we may say more changes on Oxford Street, as surely Crossrail will enable other changes.

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

So could we see much of Oxford Street being pedestrianised?

The Mayor has said he would be in favour. According to this article on the BBC, it will happen by 2020.

I think that because of the number of the number of stations just North and South of Oxford Street, I do wonder if the pedestrian area could include Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Soho.

The main pedestrian routes would link up.

  • Green Park, Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue in the South.
  • The British Museum, Bloomsbury and Holborn in the East.
  • Euston Road and Regents Park in the North.
  • Hyde Park in the West

Where would all the buses, taxis and cars go?

I think that there will have to be a serious rethink, which could see drastic reductions in numbers of all three!

But there will be other knock-ons as Crossrail will for a few years give spare capacity, that could be used to advantage.

The Central Line Should Be Less Busy

The Central Line will have excellent connections to Crossrail at Stratford, Liverpool Street and Ealing Broadway.

It is expected that as some cross-London passengers, who now use this line, will switch to Crossrail, thus releasing capacity on the Central Line.

It would certainly create a high-speed shuttle between three of London’s main shopping centres; Westfield at Shephered’s Bush, Oxford Street and Eastfield at Stratford.

Updating The Central Stretch Of The Central Line

The central stretch of the Central Line will have two rebuilt stations with full step-free access after Crossrail opens; Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

Closure of the Central Line in Central London would be possible if needed fr engineering works, as the line has several turn-backs, so it could be run as an Eastern and Western section, whilst say major works were done in the centre.

This partial closure would enable the following.

  • A step-free station to be created on the Central Line at Marble Arch.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Oxford Circus.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Holborn.

It is interesting to note, that during the building of Crossrail, access to the Central and Northern Lines has sometimes been restricted at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road and Londoners didn’t moan too much.

So selective closure to get higher-capacity and step-free stations in the centre will not be the disaster it could have been, especially, if the improvements were done in a phased manner.

But all three are prime sites and there must be significant potential for over-site development.

Additionally, if you look at the railway lines on carto.metro.free.fr, this is a map of the lines between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road stations.

British Museum Station

British Museum Station

Note the old British Museum station on the Central Line.

I wouldn’t know whether it is practical to reopen the station, but I suspect Transport for London’s route planners have looked at the possibility to give better access to one of the busiest museums in the world.

As the Central Line through Central London is effectively a loop of Crossrail, it gives the great advantage of creating a double line across Central London, that offers redundancy, if either line needs to be closed for serious engineering work.

The Central Line never had that luxury before, so expect serious improvements on any Central Line station between Stratford and Ealing Broadway.

The Outer Reaches Of The Central Line

I suspect that Crossrail will generate more traffic on the outer reches of the Central Line to Epping, Hainault and West Ruislip.

These sometimes forgotten parts of the line will undoubtedly improve and change.

Wikipedia lists some of the line’s Cancelled and Future Plans.

I think what happens could surprise everybody.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 has just one interchange in the Oxford Street area at Tottenham Court Road station.

I would be very surprised in that in the massive rebuilding of the current station for Crossrail, that provision hasn’t been made to connect to Crossrail 2.

There have been surface issues around the station concerned with Crossrail 2, but given good planning of the project, I feel that the building of Crossrail 2 would only effect the area in a similar way to the replacement of a major block on Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

  • It will bring large numbers of visitors to the Oxford Street area.
  • Just as Crossrail and the Central Line will work as a high-capacity pair, it will work closely with the Victoria Line to relieve that line.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the wider Oxford Street area needs to be and will be pedestrianised.

 

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments