Bedford Square is a unique Georgian square in the heart of London. The beautiful building facades surrounding the square are carefully maintained in their original Georgian style and elegance, while the private gardens in the centre provide attractive greenery for the area.
In contrast, the urban realm of Bedford Square – the lighting, pavements, carriageway, etc, has suffered from increasing speed and volume of vehicular traffic and parking pressure within London.
In the early 1970’s, Bedford Square became part of a large one-way traffic flow system in central London, with traffic within the square similarly restricted. Large pavement build-outs were also built to stop Bedford Square becoming a ‘car park’.
Though these measures have been effective in reducing traffic volumes, speeds and parking, the design does not complement the original geometry of the square. Furthermore, the pavement materials have not worn well and need to be repaired.
There is now a proposal to redesign the urban realm of Bedford Square and this consultation is asking for your views. This is your opportunity to let us know what you think!
Proposals to regenerate the urban realm of Bedford Square involve many changes to the layout of the square, relaying the footways and carriageways and upgrading street furniture.
Details of the proposals are described below:
• Recreating the geometry of the squareby realigning the carriageway to the original kerb line in parallel to the buildings.
• Providing a ‘traffic neutral’ scheme with existing vehicular access (one-way / two-way) remaining unaltered.
• Providing a wide, bound-gravel area surrounding the gardens, to maintain a narrow carriageway for low traffic speeds. (Bound-gravel has also been used on the paths in Russell Square.)
• Raising the carriageway on the north and south side, to unify the square and provide cover over existing utility services.
• Repaving the footways in York Stone on the north, south and west side of Bedford Square, with existing coalholes and granite kerbs retained.
• Maximising footway widthsby ‘bunching’ or combining necessary street furniture.
• Refurbishing and repainting of historic lamp columns. Complimentary contemporary lighting would also be added to comply with light level
regulations and to enhance personal safety in the square.
White light will be installed in every lamp head for improved facial recognition and colour definition.
• Reducing sign clutter by making best use of existing street furniture
• Placing seating in the bound-gravel area surrounding the gardens. Seating
style will complement the urban realm architecture of the square.
• Adding a new ‘red/green man’ pedestrian crossing to the existing
controlled junction with Gower Street, providing a continuous pedestrian route down the west side of the square, from Gower Street to Bloomsbury Street.
• Increasing residential parking provision from approximately 22 to 25 spaces.
• Decreasing Pay & Display parking slightly, from approximately 33 to 30 spaces.
• Increasing disabled parking provision, from 4 to 6 spaces, and providing accessible dropped kerbs for wheelchairs at each bay.
• Relocating cycle parking to match varying demand across the square, with new stands provided in front of the Architectural Association. The stands
would be erected within the carriageway in order to maximise footway width.
• Increasing motorcycle parking provision from approximately 9 to 15 spaces.
Camden Cycling Campaign very much appreciates this attempt to restore Bedford Square to its former glory. We look forward to seeing the work carried out, particularly the realignment of the roads. We also note the generous provision of cycle stands.
However, the improvements have not taken into account the need for two-way cycling on the north side of the square.
In particular, cyclists arrive at the junction of Gower Street/Montague Street via Malet Street and wish to cross straight over (which they can do with the aid of the signals) and then cycle via the north side of the square to Bayley Street. That is, we require westbound cycling along the north side of Bedford Square.
This need is relevant for LCN+ Link 27 (Tottenham Court Road Station to Highgate Village). Camden Consultants have told us that they will route the section south of Euston Road via Gordon Street and Malet Street. The availability of two-way cycling on the north side of Bedford Square would be beneficial to this link.