Baker Street Two Way Project
September 2019 saw the completion of this major public realm project, led by Westminster City Council and TfL with support from Baker Street Quarter and The Portman Estate, to change Baker Street and Gloucester Place from one-way to two-way. The scheme’s objectives were to improve air quality, reduce vehicle speeds, provide greater opportunity to walk and cycle, and make the shared public space a more enjoyable place to be.
Wider pavements, additional and better crossings, more trees and new surfacing have all contributed to a much-improved environment for those residents and workers that use the area regularly as well as for visitors and those travelling through. A detailed monitoring strategy, comparing traffic survey data pre-works in July 2017 and after completion in October 2019, alongside repeated and sustained observations at several key junctions and locations, resulted in the following observations:
- There was an increase in pedestrian activity of up to 84%.
- There was an increase in cycle use, particularly during morning peak times where cyclist flows have grown by 15-20%
- Vehicle speeds have decreased by approximately 25-30% in the area, which is beneficial for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
- There has been negligible impact on vehicle journey times southbound and northbound despite the introduction of new pedestrian crossing points.
- There have been significant improvements to air quality, with reductions in annual mean nitrogen dioxide concentrations of between 35-50%, when compared to pre-scheme measurements – the introduction of the ULEZ will account for much of this, however, comparisons to comparable sites and schemes indicate the Two Way has also contributed to this improvement.
Further information on the Baker Street Two Way and the detailed monitoring report can be found here.
Following initial discussions with stakeholders, detailed designs have been developed for a new public space and a greatly improved environment for pedestrians, including better crossing points. The new public space would provide much needed amenity and a respite area for local workers, residents and visitors as well as the potential to support some of the Wallace Collection’s outreach programmes. These improvements will create a welcoming gateway to the area from the south, particularly important with the forthcoming opening of the Elizabeth Line at Bond Street station. Funding for the scheme has been committed by The Portman Estate, BakerStreetQ and raised through a successful bid to Westminster City Council’s CIL fund.
Our research tells us that people want a broader, more coherent retail offer with a stronger evening economy. The future transformation of the area, thanks to the Baker Street Two Way Project, and the commitment of property owners provide the opportunity to improve the appeal of the area. We are working with property owners to define a strategy to be implemented over time to ensure the area’s retail serves those working and living in the area as well as visitors.
We were delighted to open the transformed Wonderpass in 2016. Previously a much neglected, dank and dingy Marylebone Road Subway, the vibrant and welcoming walkway is a safe alternative to those wishing to cross Marylebone Road. The Wonderpass is also a cultural crossing that’s a wonderful celebration of our area’s history and attractions. More than just a lick of paint, the project involved a major structural upgrade, improving and renewing drainage, electrics and lighting, stairwells, floors and handrails. It represents a true collaboration of ourselves, TfL and Westminster City Council ward councillors, with production from Sing London, and the design features work from the Wallace Collection, Madame Tussauds and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
More on The Wonderpass
George’s Park, our quiet courtyard public space, tucked away near the junction with George Street and Baker Street, provides much needed space for local workers to head to during their breaks and plays host to popular pop-up food stalls on a regular basis throughout the year. Working with Derwent London and The Portman Estate, we transformed an unused, unloved space off George Street (near the junction with Baker Street) into a veritable oasis with design and planting geared towards improving air quality and biodiversity as well as creating a beautiful space.
Read more about this project on Wild West End.