Baker Street 2 way
We raised this issue again with the Highways team:
“I am very unhappy with the crossing situation at George Street and Gloucester Place since the two-way scheme went into operation. The northernmost crossing is marked for pedestrians, but there are no lights for pedestrians, hence no ‘green man’. I was repeatedly assured by the wardens during the transition period that the pedestrian lights would be added, but this has not happened, and there is only a ‘look both ways’ sign propped on the pavement. Crossing from east to west on the southernmost crossing is also not always safe, as there is only a small ‘no left turn’ sign and motorists, seeing the lights turn green, sometimes try to turn left anyway, just as one steps into the crossing. Not enough time is given for pedestrians at any of the new crossings: many of us are elderly or have small children with us–we need more time! Priority has been given to automobile and cycle traffic, and pedestrians have to wait and wait and wait–and then hurry to get across.”
“The problem is the synchronising of the traffic lights. Everyone is left standing around for what seems like ages looking embarrassed waiting for the green signal to cross before finally making a dash for it which is really dangerous. It is all much too slow. Crossing Gloucester Place at George Street and continuing up the road really dangerous. So, you have to cross over George Street going south where there are proper signals and cross there. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourselves and then do something about it. The hold ups at every cross road is causing a great deal of unnecessary delay and spoiling an otherwise good scheme.”
The Highways team say:
“During the design stage for Baker Street Two Way project, we had endeavoured to provide green man crossings on all four arms at as many junctions on Baker Street and Gloucester Place as possible. However, on Gloucester Place at the George Street junction, the proposed scheme showed that the green man crossing on the southern arm of Gloucester Place would be retained but no further facilities could be provided due to traffic capacity issues. It was not possible to provide green man crossings on all four arms as it would have resulted in queues which would then encourage traffic to use quiet side streets.
Having received various comments about lack of pedestrian crossing facilities at this junction, we revisited the modelling to see if any additional pedestrian crossings could be provided. However, we concluded that providing this facility would result in queues along Gloucester Place and increased journey times which could then tempt traffic to use side streets causing disruption and inconvenience to residents.
Since the switch to two-way traffic, we are monitoring the situation and will be undertaking traffic surveys at this junction soon. Provision of green man facilities will potentially have an impact on queue lengths at this junction (which is why it was not provided in the original design) so we need to assess that impact before agreeing any possible changes. Having said that, we are trying our best to work with TfL to improve the situation here and the traffic counts will help in that process.”
Campaign to clean up BT phone boxes
Following pressure from Westminster Labour urging BT to take extra steps to maintain and clean red phone boxes in the West End, BT have agreed to do more to ensure phone boxes are maintained to a better standard.
Help for young people and the homeless
The City of Westminster Charitable Trust is opening the Community Contribution Fund to applications from schools, voluntary and community organisations to support one of the following areas:
- Helping young people reach their full potential, including staying safe, contributing positively to their community and developing longer term skills
- Providing extra support for people who find themselves sleeping on Westminster’s streets
Organisations seeking funding for youth support projects can apply for up to £30,000. Organisations seeking funding to help people sleeping rough can apply for up to £10,000. Projects must help people in Westminster only and must be completed within 15 months.
More details can be found on the link below. The deadline to note is Friday 24th May.
Helping the homeless
Veolia’s ‘Road to Work’ programme will has helped 100 homeless and vulnerable people to get back into work. The scheme employs people in admin or street cleaner roles in Westminster, and provides specialised support services such as counselling and housing advice, as well as flexible working hours. The scheme has now become a permanent part of the company’s employment targets within Westminster and could be expanded into other contracts.
Airbnb – what you say
“Regarding short lets, I agree with you that only leaseholders or similar should be able to let their flats. In my view the spread of holiday lets through agencies is disrupting the local community and potentially harming the commercial activities of established and reputable hotels in the area. It is also reducing the availability of longer term tenancies for people who want to live and work in central London.”