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Westminster prepares to fire up London’s economic engine

Wed, 27/05/2020

Westminster Council has published its extensive and ambitious plans to provide new and additional space for cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of the capital to safely support the easing of the lockdown and get the economy moving again. 

The council has been working to develop these important temporary proposals in conjunction with local groups, residents and businesses. Work will start this weekend on the installation of low cost, temporary measures across all areas of the City.

The move will see new widened pavements, increased pedestrian areas and cycle lanes in some of the most iconic locations in the world. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly will, from this weekend, see measures to widen pavements, change traffic lanes into pedestrian walkways, install signage and guidance on social distancing. The council will also begin establishing pop up cycle lanes across the city. 

In other measures, busy transport hubs such as Paddington and Marylebone stations will see social distancing measures introduced to ensure people can feel safe travelling into the area. 

All areas of Westminster will be covered by activity to encourage people to move safely around the City as the lockdown restrictions are lifted. 

Some of the other key measures and areas include: 

  • ‘School streets’ introduced across the City where cars are banned from roads surrounding playgrounds for short periods of time during the day to reduce traffic and pollution
  • improvements around major railway stations such as Victoria and Charing Cross
  • signage and guidance in markets to encourage social distancing as they can fully reopen from 1 June 2020
  • more cycle racks and better links to the existing cycle networks
  • a new range of street signage will be introduced which highlights the need for social distancing in public areas
  • ​a new Shop Local campaign and interactive web map is encouraging people to think local when purchasing, as visitor numbers are unlikely to recover to pre COVID-19 levels for some time.

​​Additional work to reopen the city is in the pipeline and will be in place by the start of July ahead of the anticipated opening of hospitality sector.

The council is working in conjunction with local residents, businesses and landowners to develop its approach. In just over one week, the city council has received over 500 requests from residents and businesses for temporary measures from right across the city and each one has been carefully considered on their merits.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “These bold plans are designed to ensure we are doing all we can to support the careful and safe reopening of Westminster for residents, visitors and workers as the lock down eases. This is essential in order to kickstart the economy, whilst always putting safety first.

“There is no book to read in advance on how a major world capital recovers from COVID-19. We need to make sure people can get to a workplace, a restaurant, a café or an attraction efficiently and safely as the ravages of this virus recede. We hope most of these temporary schemes will work first time, but if they don’t, we won’t be afraid to say so and try something different. What’s important is that we all work together to breathe new life into our fantastic city.”

Read more details about our reopening projects

Last updated: 29 May 2020