Regent Street will have a greener, more pleasant look once works are completed.
The pedestrianisation of adjoining Oxford Street may not be going ahead, but Regent Street will be undergoing some changes between now and the year’s end. Under a new plan devised by developers The Crown Estate and Westminster City Council, the popular shopping street will become a greener, safer place for tourists and cyclists, with work beginning now and aiming to be completed by Christmas.
It’s an ambitious target, but one which they’re confident of completing – and a necessary step, too, given the increased focus on public health and wellbeing in the wake of the pandemic, along with the environmental concerns that have motivated improvements to walking and cycling routes across London. There are four key objectives to the transformation of Regent Street, all of which are tilted towards improving safety, accessibility, and air quality.
First and foremost, Regent Street will see wider pavements. Though a bigger walking space had been demarcated by temporary barriers in recent weeks (a bid to fit the same number of shoppers in whilst respecting social distancing), wider pavements will become a permanent feature. Approximately 5000 square metres of additional space will be created, and developers will make the pavements more attractive with the addition of planters and trees to boost biodiversity, and seating for people to take a well-earned break.
The remainder of the changes are taking place on the road, with the current four lanes of traffic being reduced to two (for the most part, although dedicated turning lanes will be retained) under the plans. This is partly to make space for the wider pavements, but it will also allow for the creation of a dedicated cycle lane on both sides of Regent Street, improving bike access to one of the West End’s main thoroughfares. Finally, the transformation will deliver enhanced bus stops, better equipped for accessible boarding, and with more space for waiting passengers.
Work on the redesign of Regent Street has already begun, and with construction aiming to finish by Christmas, it looks like the famous Regent Street angels will be shining over a very different space come year’s end.
Also published on Medium.