The remodelled Oxford Circus, based on the diagonal Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan, opened this week
Designed by Atkins (AJ 16.04.09), the £5 million scheme features ‘desire lines’ for pedestrians to follow across the congested crossing in the heart of London’s main shopping district.
Used by the 43,000 people and 2,000 vehicles every hour, the junction has new traffic lights, which stop vehicles in all directions during an ‘all-red phase’. Barriers have been removed and pavements widened to create up to 69 per cent more space for pedestrians - up from 312m² to 453m².
In homage to its Far Eastern inspiration, the road was officially opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson who struck a two metre high cymbal as Japanese musicians played taiko drums - and a giant ‘X in the form of 60 metres of red ribbon was unfurled by devotees of cult Japanese Manga characters dressed in colourful costumes’.
Johnson, said: ‘This project is a triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and good old fashioned common sense. The head scratching frustration caused by the previous design is over and we’ve brought one of the world’s greatest crossroads into the twenty first century.’
He added: ‘Being able to cross in an oblique rather than a perpendicular fashion will make Oxford Circus incredibly more efficient for the millions of pedestrians and road users that use the crossing every year.’