Window on my world — 01 December 2009

Five million quid doesn’t go very for these days it would seem. When they saw Westminster Council approaching them and asking the question, “Can you change our crossing to . . . a crossing?” the contractors must have rubbed their hands with glee.

Now after 8 weeks of work, enough concrete to build the Hoover Dam and gridlock on all the approaching roads, the Shibuya crossing at Oxford Circus is complete.

I am considering turning CabbieBlog into a conspiracy theory site, if I didn’t know better you could be forgiven for suspecting some of the road ‘improvements’ taking place in London are designed to hold up traffic. You don’t have to possess a degree in traffic management to realise that if you cut a road’s capacity in half it’s going to take twice as long to pass a given point.

The newly completed Shilba crossing at Oxford Circus that CabbieBlog has commented on in the past is a £5 million mad scheme on a gargantuan scale and rivals Trafalgar Square as the worst traffic scheme ever imposed on London?

After removing the protective railings, the kerbs and filling the underground toilet with concrete, the pavements have been widened, not with smart paving slabs in keeping with this allegedly prestigious shopping area, no they have just been filled that space with concrete.

This now benefits the drug dealers, leaflet distributors and disorientated tourists who were always the biggest annoyances at what was and is still the worst intersection in London.

Now that other band who inhabit this quarter of London, the hordes of pubescent girls scrambling to get into Top Shop. Inevitably gaggles of them would meet ‘by the railings’, where they would stand for 20 minutes, texting each other while flicking their hair and adjusting their micro skirts, these little darlings are now spilling into a road which is devoid of either railings or kerb.

But apart from these vacuous creatures, who is going to shop in Oxford Street this Christmas next to a stationery line of traffic stretching for one mile, all pumping out CO2 because they can’t go anywhere?

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