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Baker Street Two-Way

Description of Works
Working for Westminster City Council and Transport for London (TfL), FM Conway delivered a major transformation of the Marylebone road network to balance the needs of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, by converting Baker Street and its neighbour Gloucester Place to two-way traffic.

The route was converted to a one-way street in the 1960s in a bid to ease congestion, but changing vehicle dynamics in the area have seen the growth of heavy single-file traffic which can act as a barrier to pedestrians and other road users at peak times.
The £15 million project, supported by the Baker Street Quarter Partnership and the Portman Estate, restored the area’s heritage as an accessible and walkable London village.

Delivering Innovation

Michael Hurley, Senior Supervisor at FM Conway, explained:
“One-way systems can in the right circumstances ease congestion, but in the long term had had the opposite effect in Marylebone – resulting in higher speeds and bonnet-to-bumper traffic that can hamper access for pedestrians. The new two-way scheme has been designed to redress the problem, slowing down traffic to make it easier for pedestrians to cross these streets, while also creating simpler and more easily navigable routes for motorists.”

The project saw major reconstruction and realignment works at a total of 44 junctions along both Baker Street and Gloucester Place, as well as the series of interconnecting routes that run between them. Such a wholesale transformation of the network has required close coordination between the project partners to ensure the safety of pedestrians, while keeping the area moving. 

Michael continues: “The number one priority for the construction programme has been ensuring safe pedestrian access, creating clearly marked routes around the works and alternative crossing points as the road layout itself has changed. At the same time, we’ve worked closely with TfL and Westminster City Council over a number of months, to coordinate the traffic management programme with other improvements and construction works across the wider area, to ensure that the disruption to motorists is kept to a minimum.”

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Such a wholesale transformation of the network has required close coordination between the project partners to ensure the safety of pedestrians, while keeping the area moving.

Michael Hurley - Senior Supervisor at FM Conway

As well as pedestrians and motorists, improving access for cyclists through Marylebone was a critical part of the project. FM Conway introduced advanced stop lines at all junctions, enabling cyclists to wait safely at the front of queuing traffic, while new cycle lanes connected the area with the wider London Cycle Grid, making it easier for two-wheeled road users to both pass through and visit the area.


Challenges and Solutions

The nature of the project and its scale means that constant dialogue with businesses, residents and the wider community was essential to ensure that the works ran smoothly with minimal disruption.

Michael explained: “Keeping both Baker Street and Gloucester Place accessible to traffic for the majority of the works has been critical to making sure Marylebone remains open for business. We’ve worked closely with local businesses, as well as road users to communicate the changes that took place on a regular basis."

The first phase of the project, including replacement of nearly half of the junctions, is now complete and the area will open to two-way traffic from early 2019.