Construction begins on new two-way Baker Street
Fears over pollution and traffic misery
28 July, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
How the new Baker Street junction could look
WORKS to transform Baker Street into a two-way system began this week with residents bracing themselves for years of disruption.
The scheme, which sup- porters claim will transform the street into a safer and more attractive place, was launched with a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday.
Critics say the scheme, which also affects Gloucester Place, will push drivers into residen- tial side streets and increase pollution. They say they feel “let down” by those who championed the scheme.
Liz Saint, speaking on behalf of the Marylebone Community First group, said: “The residents are all worried about all the extra pollution in the main roads and the residential side streets when drivers start using these residential streets as short cuts.
“We are also concerned about the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, which will have an impact on the side streets when the BSTW [Baker Street Two-Way Scheme] is fully operational.
“These two main road schemes are affecting all the Marylebone residents to their detriment. We feel badly let down by the council, Portman Estate and the Baker Street Quarter as none of them seems concerned that we will all suffer from the extra pollution and the extra cars driving through the side streets to avoid all the traffic queues.”
The changes, expected to be completed in January 2019, aim to remove the one-way system and replace it with a two-way system, reduce the dominance of traffic and add greenery.
As the first phase of the project began on Monday, residents are preparing for lane closures, turning and parking restrictions and bus stop suspensions. The first phase, expected to last until December, includes works to Gloucester Place, Blandford Street and two other junctions.
Paul Neville from the Marylebone Association said: “We look forward to improved safety and public realm especially the long-overdue introduction of proper pedestrian crossings at junctions on Gloucester Place and Baker Street.”
Commenting on works by Thames Water that will coincide with the BSTW, he added: “Clearly it makes sense to do this now, rather than digging up the road again after the two-way scheme is completed but this is likely to have a bigger impact than most of the scheme itself.”
The scheme is being led by Westminster Council and Transport for London and supported by The Portman Estate and Baker Street Quarter Partnership.
Cllr Robert Davis, who was among those to break ground with a special Baker Street-branded shovel, said: “Today we reach a major milestone in the realisation of the Baker Street two-way project, which, when complete, will transform the area and provide residents, businesses and visitors with a vastly improved environment in which to work, rest and play.”
For more information visit bakerstreettwoway. co.uk/ and road users are advised to visit tfl.gov. uk/baker-street-roadworks