Having only just cancelled plans to pedestrianize Oxford Street, Westminster Council has now announced plans to pedestrianize part of Strand instead.
The £28 million scheme, if approved, could see a section of Strand around Aldwych pedestrianized and road traffic diverted around the former BBC building instead. That’ll see the famous St Mary le Strand church become far more accessible as it’ll cease to be marooned in a traffic island.
Once the vehicular traffic is largely removed a 350m long public space is created. Historically, the Strand has always been an important east/west route connecting Westminster Abbey to St. Paul’s and has been used as a processional route for ceremonies such as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It is no longer used as a formal processional route, however the plans have had to allow for that possibility once more.
The new space is not exclusively for pedestrians either, as the paved space will be shared with cyclists, probably in recognition that it would be anyway, so better to design that usage into the project at the start.
There’s also suggestions in the consultation documents that they want to increase the amount of commercial space in the area, although that’s not fleshed out in any detail.
As for the semi-circle road that will remain, it will also be narrowed so that the pavement space can be roughly doubled in width.
The documents are rather rich on aspiration, but currently fairly weak on the details of the pedestrianization, mainly focusing on the research carried out so far rather than the final product they aim to deliver.
The consultation will run until 13th March.