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Business News of Friday, 15 November 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

New shopping mall on Oxford Street likely to aggravate traffic

The Oxford Street in Accra has gone through yet another transformation with the siting of a shopping mall, the Oxford Street Mall, and the near completion of a 102-bed hotel along that street.

The 13-storey mall, built by the Ghana Libyan Arab Holding Limited (GLAHCO), is the latest addition to the ever-growing commerce in what is now referred to as the heart of retail shopping in Accra.

The GLAHCO has leased a portion of the new mall to Shoprite, a supermarket chain, which will compete with other supermarkets such as the Koala Shopping Centre and Lara Mart, also located along the Oxford Street.

Many were those who had thronged the new Shoprite when the Daily Graphic visited the place yesterday.

While some shoppers were pushing their filled carts along, others appeared to be window-shopping, and not picking anything.

Traffic was heavy, as is characteristic of the Oxford Street, at the time of the visit.

The General Manager of Shoprite, Mr Brett Marshall, in a chat, described business on the first day as encouraging in view of the number of people who had visited the shop as of 2 p.m.

Traffic management

The Oxford Street is notorious for its gridlock, and many are those who fear that the opening of the mall will worsen the congestion.

The Centre Manager, Mr Richard Opoku Boateng, was, however, optimistic that the traffic management measures put in place would be able to contain the high vehicular traffic that the mall was expected to create.

He told the Daily Graphic that thorough traffic management assessment was carried out by experts who later factored those concerns into the design and construction of the mall.

The result — a 300-capacity emitted underground car park for customers of the mall.

Schemes to mitigate gridlock

The Director of Urban Roads, Mr Abass Awolu, in a telephone interview, indicated that one-way schemes were being designed around the mall to provide easy movement for motorists.

“The traffic volumes at Osu are not that high but the major problem is the congestion created by motorists who park on the shoulders of roads and reverse onto the road before they take off,” he said.

To address that challenge, he said multi-parking lots would be constructed in the future to reduce the number of people who parked in front of shops.

The New Mall

The $16-million GLAHCO mall was described by Mr Boateng as a neighbourhood mall.

It has 27 shops, with Shoprite as its main anchor.

Other tenants include Unibank and Golden Dragon Casino.

Where is the Oxford Street?

Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London in the UK.

In Ghana, Oxford Street is located about three kilometres east of the central business district (CBD) of Accra and comes under the Osu-Klottey Sub-metro of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

The name is partly an improvisation, as it does not appear on any official map of Accra.