LONDON’S BAKER STREET SET TO BANISH ITS ‘URBAN MOTORWAY’ IMAGE FOR GOOD
27 May 2015
Britain’s most famous detective will have to look both ways before crossing the road outside his apartment, if a landmark regeneration project gets the green light. Plans to renew Baker Street, famous for the flat of Sherlock Holmes at 221B, and Gloucester Place have been unveiled today, as part of a public consultation into proposals to reinstate two way vehicle flow.
The project seeks to transform the area into a destination in its own right, creating a space more attuned to the 21st century, similar to other areas in the city such as Piccadilly, St James’s Street and Pall Mall.
A range of improvements are being consulted on which will ease congestion and tackle the current dominance of cars over people.
The plans include:
– Improvements to 50 pedestrian crossings in the area, including 20 new crossing locations
– Significant upgrades to public spaces, including wider and less cluttered pavements
– New cycle lanes, cycle boxes at traffic signals, and an increase in cycle parking
– Better pedestrian signage
– New and improved street lighting
A public consultation on the proposed project opened today and will run for 10 weeks until the end of July. The project represents the first meaningful look at the area’s traffic operation since the current one way system was introduced in the 1960s. The return to two way flow on Baker Street and Gloucester Place is expected to reverse the trend of ‘rat running’ through narrow, residential streets nearby and offer more direct routes through Marylebone.
Cllr Robert Davis said: “Baker Street is one of the top locations for visitors to this city, with Regent’s Park, Madame Tussauds, the Wallace Collection and the Sherlock Holmes museum nearby.
“It is only right that we seek to make the area a far more welcoming place for everyone that lives in, works in and visits the area. Baker Street is one of our key commercial districts and we want to give those that work there a more pleasant environment. The planned designs will re-establish and rejuvenate the area and bring back two way flow for the first time in almost 50 years, easing congestion in the area and creating better public spaces.
“I suppose Mr Holmes would have described this project as being elementary, but it is far from it. We think this is an exciting opportunity that will require many different parts of the community to work together to achieve success. So this consultation is important, and the project reflects the innovative way in which the public and private sectors can come together to find solutions to benefit the lives of those living and working in London, and we want everyone to play a part.”
Penny Alexander, Chief Executive of the Baker Street Quarter Partnership said “Marylebone is a unique community of long standing residents, head quarter offices, independent retail, important visitor attractions and high calibre hotels. For too long the one way system has divided up our community. We have seen that removing these outdated systems has transformed other parts of the Capital. Re-introducing two way flow will revitalise this historic area, creating a more pleasant environment for businesses, residents and visitors.”
Simon Loomes, Strategic Projects Director of the Portman Estate said “We are delighted to be supporting the Baker Street Two Way project. The project will return our area of Marylebone to how it was originally intended; as a place for people with wider pavements, improved crossings and better access to public transport. A quieter, more local place. I am confident that everyone with an interest in the Baker Street area will benefit from these proposals.”
Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Strategy and Planning at TfL, said: “The Mayor and TFL are committed to delivering improvements to streets and public spaces across the Capital. As part of this commitment, we will work with Westminster City Council, Portman Estate and the Baker Street Quarter Partnership to transform the iconic area of Baker Street to ensure it provides a safe pleasurable environment for all users”