Ground-breaking ceremony: Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage at Westminster City Council, and Lord Mayor Cllr Ian Adams
Work to transform Baker Street and Gloucester Place begins today and will soon see residents and businesses benefiting from healthier, safer and more welcoming streets.
The Baker Street Two Way project will deliver an improved experience for pedestrians and cyclists, reducing the dominance of traffic, adding greenery and ensuring the streets are safer and easier to access.
The project is focused on turning the roads of Baker Street and Gloucester Place, currently a one-way gyratory, into two-way flow. Work will be completed in phases in order to mitigate any potential disruption. Work to Gloucester Place, Blandford Street and two other junctions started this morning (24 July 2017).
Baker Street and Gloucester Place are set to return to two-way flow by early 2019. Shops and businesses throughout the area will remain open during the construction period.
A ground-breaking ceremony, led by Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage at Westminster City Council, marked the start of the works.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Ian Adams and other stakeholders central to the success of the project joined Cllr Davis to mark the occasion.
The project is led by Westminster City Council and Transport for London (TfL) and supported by The Portman Estate and Baker Street Quarter Partnership.
Cllr Davis 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.
“This is, quite rightly, a place to be proud of. From the famous wax models of Madame Tussauds, to the birthplace of cricket and of course the world’s first consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr Watson, the area is awash with history and should be celebrated and promoted.
“The City Council has been incredibly fortunate to have had the full support of Transport for London, The Portman Estate and the Baker Street Quarter Partnership who have contributed to this public private partnership. And share in our commitment to maintain a world-class Westminster.”
Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Strategy and Planning, said: “The return of two-way traffic to Baker Street and Gloucester Place will make the area safer and more attractive for Londoners and visitors and we’re pleased that this important work has now begun.
“We’re working with Westminster City Council to ensure that people travelling through the area can continue to get around during the work and that it is carried out in the least disruptive way.”
Simon Loomes, Strategic Projects Director, The Portman Estate, presented those attending the ground-breaking ceremony with specially engraved “Baker Street” shovels to commemorate the occasion.
He said: “We are delighted that the Baker Street Two Way works begin today. The removal of the gyratory will provide immediate benefits to Marylebone and surrounding area, and lay the foundations for further improvements.”
Penny Alexander, Chief Executive, Baker Street Quarter Partnership, said: “We are thrilled that works are now underway for this once in a generation project that will transform the area for all working, living and visiting here.
“This is a true partnership of those who care for the area and the changes ahead will ensure this special part of central London continues to prosper.”
The project is part of Westminster City Council’s commitment to maintain a world-class Westminster.
As part of the works we are releasing historic images of Baker Street throughout the ages.
The street, most famous as the home of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, is jam-packed with history. The first ever Madame Tussauds was opened in the street in 1835 and The Beatles’ iconic Apple Boutique opened there in the sixties.
During World War Two, the Special Operations Executive known as “Churchill’s Secret Army” worked out of Baker Street which has also been home to a number of famous residents including H. G. Wells, Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger and singer Dusty Springfield.
The Baker Street Two Way project is the latest change in the street’s rich history. We will be keeping residents and visitors up-to-date with how they will be affected.
During the first phase of works, from 24 July to December 2017, temporary travel changes will apply. These will include lane closures, access arrangements, turning restrictions and some parking, loading and bus stop suspensions. As a result the area will be busier than usual and you should plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey.
In addition to the work to return two-way traffic to the area, Thames Water plan to replace a water main along Baker Street and Park Road from 24 July for around four months. Lane closures and other temporary changes will apply. Visit Thameswater for more information about these works.
CGI imagery of how the street will look (TfL)