Oxford Street was doing fabulous business on Friday night. It was a pleasure to see it. It is after all London’s major commercial artery, with end-to-end shops and some beautiful buildings.
What made me take particular notice was not only how beautiful it looked with the holiday lights on, but because, on a busy Friday night, it 'flowed'. There was no traffic-related problem in sight.
What happened? Let me do a quick back-of-the-envelope analysis.
There was clarity. Buses, taxis, bikes and pedestrians (very important shoppers) were all happily paying attention to one another, all engaged in an altruistic street ballet of 'you go first, I’m happy to give way'. Everyone and everything was moving.
There was a distinct absence of private cars (they were all on the north/south streets) until we got to the Marble Arch end. It seemed to make a huge difference.
PS: And if you want to really see how traffic is flowing, sit up front on the upper deck of a bus.