Plans to rethink West End ahead of Crossrail rush

 
Kasmira Jefford
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WEST End leaders have hired consultants to come up with a plan for improving the busy shopping district to cope with a surge in visitors when Crossrail opens in 2018.

Westminster City council, Transport for London and the New West End Company – the group that represents businesses in the area – have commissioned Arup and Publica to look into both the long and short term improvements to manage the flow of visitors to the West End.

It will look at solutions ranging from widening pavements and revamping public spaces to introducing “relaxation” areas where people can rest, and promoting alternative pedestrian routes around the Oxford Street.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “This study sees all key partners working together to agree on what the West End of the future will look like, and the practical solutions needed to achieve this, particularly for how people move around the area.”

The report, which is due to be published this spring, follows new figures published by Arup yesterday predicting that as many as 250m annual visitors will pass through Bond

Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon stations by 2026 as a result of Crossrail.

That is around 165m more passengers than currently use the three stations and 65m higher than Crossrail’s forecasts carried out in 2004 had projected.

“With London’s population growing by 2,000 every eight days, our analysis suggests Crossrail’s stations will be somewhat busier sooner than was originally anticipated,” Arup director Alexander Jan said.

Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations alone are expected to see more than a 200 per cent increase in passenger numbers compared to current levels or 743,000 people a day by 2026.