Westminster Cycling Campaign News - November 2014

Westminster Reveals Plans for Baker Street / Gloucester Place

LCC Westminster web site »

Westminster City Council has now revealed its initial plans for dismantling the one-way system around Baker Street and Gloucester Place.

The main features of the council's plans are:

The council considered various options to improve the cycling facilities on Gloucester Place, namely:

  1. Advisory cycle lanes (with broken lines)
  2. A 3m-wide segregated cycle facility
  3. A 4m-wide segregated cycle facility,
  4. Mandatory cycle lanes of 2m width for the majority of Gloucester Place coupled with specific measures at key junctions to improve conditions for cyclists and to maintain route continuity. The hours of operation for these mandatory lanes would be determined during the initial design stage.

A traffic modelling assessment showed that Options B and C ‘were unlikely to provide sufficient traffic capacity for an acceptable level of traffic network resilience to be achieved.’ It was also considered that Option A did not provide an optimal solution for cyclists. However, Option D provided significantly improved cycling facilities while maintaining an acceptable level of traffic network resilience. The council has therefore decided to develop Option D further to initial design stage.

First introduced in 1961, the one-way system around Baker Street and Gloucester Place was designed to handle large volumes of fast-moving traffic. The resulting dominance of traffic in these streets not only discouraged cycle use but also made conditions unpleasant for pedestrians. The dismantling of this system is long overdue.

The current proposals appear to have been inspired by Transport for London's Roads Task Force, which published its recommendations in July 2013. There Baker Street is shown as an example of a 'City Street', intended to 'Provide a world-class, pedestrian-friendly environment while ensuring excellent connections with the wider transport network'. Gloucester Place is probably an example of a 'Connector', intended to provide 'Reliable routes for medium distance and local road journeys, comfortable roads for cyclists and safe and secure routes for pedestrians'.

Link to Cabinet Member Paper and plans

Gloucester Place

Neither Gloucester Place (above) nor Baker Street (below) is cycle-friendly at present.

Baker Street (north)

Baker Street (RTF)

The Roads Task Force's vision for Baker Street (above) contrasts with the same scene today (below).

Baker Street (south)