Plans to pedestrianise the roads around the Strand/Aldwych gyratory are being brought forward. Westminster council has approved £18 million worth of changes to the area which will create a traffic-free space centred around St Mary le Strand Church.

Improvement plans for Strand/Aldwych have been in development for several years, but Westminster Council and local partners are said to be keen to see works start as soon as possible. The accelerated timescale will see the Strand become traffic-free in front of Somerset House and King’s College London by August 2021.

Through temporary measures, the final scheme design can also now be tested before being made permanent.

Apart from creating a lot more pedestrian space, the council expects that the area will become a site for festivals and art installations.

The pedestrian and cycle zone will be on Strand between Lancaster Place and Surrey Street. The area of the Strand between Surrey Street, Arundel Street and Melbourne Place will remain open to buses, cyclists and for access, not least to provide a loop for the buses that currently terminate on Aldwych.

To offset the loss of space to the south of Aldwych, traffic around The Aldwych road will change from one-way west-to-east into two way traffic. The Cabinet Member decision report says the planned changes will not increase traffic volume in the area overall.

The council is however still working on securing a funding package to deliver the full scheme, which was costed at around £28 million when announced last year.

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30 comments
  1. Love it.

    Now all we need is some kind of tube station located here!

    • Strabismus says:

      Well, there certainly is *some kind of* tube station,

    • Melvyn says:

      The long closed Aldwych Station is still there but it’s future was sealed when plans to extend Aldwych Branch to Waterloo way back in 1965 gained parliamentary authority but no funding so was never built.

      However, the recent announcement of deferring Crossrail 2 might allow another project re extension of the DLR from Bank to serve Euston vis Holborn and Victoria Station to include a station at Aldwych?

    • EBGB says:

      What’s wrong with using Temple?

  2. Stephen baines says:

    Are we not in enough financial debt now you want to waste millions of pounds on a stupid project.

  3. Matt Murray says:

    Total waste of money

  4. ChrisMitch says:

    About time too.
    As a student I used to risk my life 3x a day crossing between LSE and Kings College for lectures – the Aldwych is 4 lanes of traffic, and I’m not sure how much it has improved, but there used to be no convenient pedestrian crossings.

  5. Mohammed Ajee Baksh says:

    More gridlock more pollution waste of public resource !!!!

  6. Georgi Blyadkov says:

    This will generate more traffic, more pollution, more angry drivers. Total waste of public money, especially now when TFL Ang councils are running out of money and funding from the government. Very baf decision. Current layout works perfectly. Very bad decision if it happens.

  7. Ron says:

    Note the line within the text that says the council are keen to start the works ASAP with ‘accelerated time plans’. Means they’ll be using the extra standard 2020 excuse ‘social distancing’ (even though the virus will be as good as bid farewell by the end of next year).

    The amount of road works and changes that have bypassed proper planning, safety (and common sense) measures under this new rush for EMERGENCY covid social distancing road layout is disgraceful.

    And £28 million pound layout! It looks like the new congestion hours and seven day charging will have to stay around quite a bit longer to fund all these ridiculous, needless road changes then!

  8. Richard says:

    Excellent news! I used to cross from Holborn to Waterloo Bridge a lot and it was horrendous, involved multiple crossings which didn’t sync up well, lots of pollution and very badly-behaved cars.

    Hopefully this is will be a good basis for extending pedestrianisation along the road to the Charles I roundabout south of Trafalgar Square.

  9. Abdullah says:

    Lots of cabbies outraged by the looks of it. Hope that Oxford Street will get the same treatment one day.

  10. Jen laws says:

    More gridlock and more pollution, if the crossings don’t work, it’s because the powers that be don’t want them to work! The traffic is still causing gridlock and pollution around Trafalgar Square after the north side closures. People don’t drive in London for fun, it’s mostly commercial vehicles! No consideration for the disabled. London in 21st century!

  11. Melvyn says:

    Given the width of Aldwych switching it to two way should be possible although relocation of terminating point for buses which currently terminate on south side of Aldwych will be needed , while on the north side taxis serve the Waldolf Hotel.

    This scheme will help protect the church on the south side which is buried in traffic most of the time thus reducing its attractiveness to tourists.

    Hopefully, this could form part of a longer term scheme on this axis which could include a reduction in traffic on Ludgate Hill and St Paul’s Churchyard as experimented with by former Mayor Ken Livingstone.

  12. Jamie says:

    This will hopefully encourage more people to use public transport and get out of cars and especially black taxis. Thankfully their unionised and over charging industry is dying. Very good decision when it happens to make more space for pedestrians in a lovely part of town.

  13. D shiettani says:

    Any body thinking this scheme will encourage more people to use public transport is deluded,first we need to cut down the use of mini cabs which are the main cause of traffic in central London,secondly we need to do head counts on many bus routes to see when there needed most

    • ianvisits says:

      No one has said that this scheme will encourage people to use public transport – I have no idea where you got that from.

  14. Marc Maitland says:

    Sheer madness. So glad I moved out of the permanent traffic jam that is London.

  15. A Bright says:

    Small minority ruining everything for the majority

  16. Paul says:

    Not sure I understand the fuss from the motoring crowd – Aldwych and Strand are wide streets currently forming a one way system with oodles of unused road space, even with the high bus stop traffic. Using Aldwych as a normal 2-way street and closing the requisite part of Strand to traffic makes perfect sense, and will simplify the junctions, probably even improving traffic flow.

    As for the cost, well Central London’s going to need to attract back tourists and other visitors in the coming months. Few will be in cars. An attractive new square near a busy college, many theatres, Somerset House and the river will be a pleasant addition. I can see restaurants expanding seating onto this square in Summer. It’s a great investment for an underloved part of the city, and small change for big businesses or government.

  17. Kieran Seale says:

    Excellent proposal – makes good use of space that is currently wasted.

  18. Tamara says:

    I’m concerned that the planners have not visited this area at night, and are pushing things through in the pandemic. Late in the evenings the Aldwych is packed with traffic as the many theatres in the area are visited by groups who arrive from all over the country by coach. The coaches have always parked and/or pick up and set down here, and the area in the late evening is bordering on bedlam. It’s going to be a nightmare if the south side is pedestrianised.

  19. Keith Potter says:

    Apart from the disaster this will cause by doubling the traffic around Aldwych how are Funerals going to access the major Air Force Church?

    • ianvisits says:

      All this is explained in the consultation documents that were issued long before approval was granted. Quite obviously, they have thought of that.

  20. Ian says:

    “pedestrian and cycle zone” – that’ll be a nightmare for pedestrians then. With a road, use a pedestrian crossing and traffic stops. Ever tried crossing the cycle lanes near Elephant and Castle at morning rush hour (where the footpath disappears on one side)? Even at the clearly marked crossing points, cyclists just hardly ever stop and many hurl abuse at pedestrians.

  21. Joe says:

    If idiots like Jamie leaving comments about hopefully killing off the black taxi trade have there way the mini cabs will continue to gridlock London , there’s a reason there slightly more expensive to use as they train for years and there taxis are so expensive to buy , they are a London institution and part of the fabric that makes this city so great wich he obviously has no knowledge of , we don’t want London to lose its identity wich our mayor seems so hell bent on doing ,
    But I think the strand scheme is a positive move as shoukd as shouldn’t effect traffic movement too much and be a new attraction for tourists

  22. Rob says:

    This is the most Stupidest Decision The people behind this are killing the life line of London London need roads and transportation more Congestion more pollution more chaos absolute Disaster. out of touch people behind this ruine London the woke

  23. Thomas says:

    bad idea and waste of money

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