Will trams return to Regent Street?

THE CHAOTIC clash of pedestrians and vehicles in London's West End could soon be history if plans to remove all traffic from Regent Street and the surrounding area are approved. The reintroduction of trams, which disappeared from the capital's landscape 40 years ago, is central to the plans.

The Crown Estate, the state body which owns both sides of Regent Street along with large tracts of the most exclusive parts of central London, has unveiled plans to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. Work on the scheme could start in 2000.

The environmentally-friendly vision includes pedestrianising the shopping area of Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, as well as the entertainment destinations of Soho and Covent Garden, and the ceremonial spaces of Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square.

At present more than 150 buses an hour travel along Regent Street between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus during rush hours and outside rush hour there are lines of empty buses waiting in the street. One solution is to introduce advanced bus control measures such as an automatic vehicle location system.

Christopher Howes, chief executive of the Crown Estate, said: "As freeholders of virtually all the property in Regent Street the Crown Estate has taken the initiative to seek a solution to the traffic problems in the street, in a step which recognises the importance we place on this unique part of the nation's heritage.

"The Crown Estate has already shown its commitment to Regent Street with investment amounting to at least pounds 100m during the past ten years, and we are determined to reinforce this and push through our vision for a pedestrian-friendly shopping environment - a move which will contribute towards making Regent Street the top shopping destination in Europe.

"In our view, the ideal solution would be to remove all traffic from Regent Street and have a dedicated form of environmentally-friendly transport, a rapid transit system. This is the beginning of what will obviously be a lengthy and complicated process. However, we are aiming to carry out consultations and select the preferred option so that implementation can begin in the year 2000."

Last year the Crown Estate commissioned transport planning and urban design consultants, WS Atkins, to develop traffic management and environmental enhancement solutions for Regent Street. WS Atkins has come back with three options which are being put to statutory consultees as well as stakeholders and interest groups.

The first combines side road closures and improved pedestrian facilities with bus lanes running the length of Regent Street; the second would double the width of pavements and close the road to all vehicles except buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and other essential vehicles; and the third option involves closing Oxford Street to traffic and installing a dedicated rapid transit system.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Glazier

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot