Let’s be honest, shopping in Central London feels a little strange at the moment, well, everything feels a little strange at the moment, but there are plans that have just been announced that are sure to put the magic back into one of its most famous shopping destinations.
The Crown Estate and Westminster City Council have unveiled plans to sustainably transform iconic Regent Street and its all happening in time for Christmas. Work has already started in the area and is set to redesign and dramatically change the shopping street, making it more pedestrian friendly, safer, greener, more accessible and up the district’s air quality. And if the mocked-up, plan images are anything to go by, it’s going to look a lot prettier.
So, what can we expect?
In a bid to make Regent Street more COVID secure and social distancing easier, the pavements of the famous London landmark will be getting bigger. No need to fear the swarms of crowds this festive season (although sadly they probably will be smaller given the situation) and browse, shop or simply window shop with ample space.
The plans really do put foot travellers first, and by Christmas, the street should have reduced traffic to a single vehicle lane in each direction. Hailing a cab might be trickier but crossing the road a breeze.
Good news for cyclists
Currently, most of the people on two wheels you see on Regent Street and the surrounding areas are ballsy couriers, but the new plans might change that and encourage more people to take a healthier mode of transport into Central. New cycle lanes and cycle parking hubs will make biking into town safer, easier and more enjoyable. Might be time to swap the Oyster card (do they even still exist?) for a day, week or monthly pass to the new cycle concierge parking service, BIKE-DROP, that will be available on the famous street.
Finally, Regent Street is about to get a bit of a cosmetic makeover as the plans include a tonne of gorgeous greenery to be planted on the new partly pedestrianised shopping destination. Sure, it’s going to help the area look pretty but it also comes with an important sustainability and eco message: to boost the biodiversity of the area and improve the air quality – a change well overdue in London.