August 2020 and Oxford City Council, working with Oxfordshire County Council, has partly pedestrianised George Street to enable businesses to introduce outdoor dining.
The road closure, between New Inn Hall Street and Cornmarket Street, has provided space for outdoor tables and chairs for around 11 hospitality businesses between 10.00am and 9.00pm, as well as a two-way cycle lane.
The new outdoor seating areas aim to support hospitality businesses that need additional space outdoors to be able to operate on a commercial basis whilst maintaining social distancing. The pavements in George Street are narrow in places and, without the pedestrianisation, restaurants and cafes would not be able to offer outside dining.
The pedestrianisation provided extra space for tables and chairs for Ask Italian, Bella Italia, Black Sheep Coffee, Chozen Noodle, Franco Manca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, O’Neill’s, Oxford Brunch Bar, The Grapes, and Wig and Pen.
The City Council installed large planters – created by Oxford-based social enterprise RAW – to stop vehicles from entering the pedestrianised area. The City Council also worked with RAW to install planters at newly-pedestrianised areas elsewhere in the city centre, including St Michael’s Street.
The pedestrianisation trial which began on 22 August 2020 and will come to an end on Sunday 20 September 2020.
Oxford City Council is now seeking feedback on the part-pedestrianisation of George Street, including whether or not residents would like to see the street pedestrianised again in the future, and whether or not they think other city-centre streets should be pedestrianised.
Earlier in the summer, the Councils shared updates on proposals to install temporary bus gates in the city centre.