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Historic Congested Four-Lane Road In Central London Closes To Motorists, Opens To People

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No more trucks, cars and buses on this stretch of the Strand at Australia House, London.Google Street View
“It’s been amazing to create a place for people rather than cars,” says urban designer Cannon Ivers in a video promoting the transformation of a traffic-choked four-lane gyratory into a pedestrian-friendly space in the heart of London.

Ivers is the design lead of a $26.5m project which, earlier in December, reclaimed a short stretch of the Strand in Westminster from motorists.

In a Westminister City Council press release, Ivers said the 850-foot makeover, two years in the making, had also been a “rescue mission,” saving the Grade-1-listed St Mary Le Strand church from its recent role as a “glorified traffic island.”

The Strand is a historic main thoroughfare through London, part of the former Roman Road from the City of London to Bath in the West of England, via Trafalgar Square, and denoted as the A4 since the early 1920s.

“Strand has long been a place to hurry through rather than linger, with pedestrians pinned to narrow pavements,” said Ivers.
“The volume of traffic and parked buses made cycling extremely challenging, too. Now, with a significant stretch of Strand pedestrianized, visitors will get a far stronger sense of the leading cultural and educational institutions based here.”

The easternmost stretch of the Strand is home to King’s College, one of the two founding colleges of the University of London, the Royal Courts of Justice, and Australia House, the diplomatic mission of Australia in the U.K.

The semi-circular Aldwych road remains as the busy A4 through London while an 850-ft stretch of the … [+] Strand has been pedestrianized. The green blob in the center of this 15-year-old aerial is the St Mary Le Strand church now no longer a “glorified traffic island.”Google Earth
North of the Strand is Aldwych, a semi-circular road and area that is part of the Northbank business improvement district, or BID.
Westminister City Council said the Strand was one of London’s “most congested and polluted streets” but, since removing the motor traffic, now becomes a “world-class destination.”
“Anyone familiar with that part of Westminster will know just how awful it was for pedestrians, who would take their life in their hands every time they tried to get from one side of Aldwych, across to Strand,” stated Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for urban planning.
Barraclough further said that removing motor vehicles demonstrated that “placemaking” was “for all, not the few.”
Businesses have welcomed the transformation, with Ruth Duston, CEO of the Northbank BID, saying the scheme will provide a “blueprint for the delivery of [additional] major projects in the future.”
The Strand has been part of a four-lane one-way gyratory system circulating around Aldwych since the 1950s, an era when many cities encouraged through design the incursion of cars.
Work to transform the Strand into a pedestrian space started in 2021.
Westminster City Council said closing the Strand to motorists would “provide better movement of [motor] traffic” and, at the same time, “improve the public realm.”
Reducing motor traffic also improves air quality. The change will also “support the area’s economy” by “enhancing its vibrancy, productivity, and creativity” said the council.
London is one of many global cities investing in reducing motor vehicle use. This investment helps curb air pollution and fight climate change, and many urbanists argue it also makes cities better places to live, work and visit.
And safer, too: with fewer cars, vans, and—especially—trucks, pedestrians and cyclists are much less likely to be killed or injured.
Pedestrianization schemes are often fought tooth-and-nail by opponents because, once introduced, they almost always become extremely popular.

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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The dwindling case for living in London

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The recent debate around ‘levelling up’ may be missing something. I would argue that there is another way to consider geographical inequality – and, by this alternative measure, a levelling has been under way for more than 20 years.

I’ve spent three decades working in advertising, so it’s unsurprising that I tend to view economic life through the lens of consumption. By contrast, mainstream economists tend to view disparities through the medium of earnings or wealth. To me, measures of wealth should include not only the quantity of money you have but the breadth of worthwhile options available in choosing how to spend it.

Let’s put it another way. If you live in a boring village, and suddenly a great pub or café opens on the high street, then by my measure you have become richer; by the economist’s measure you have not.

Things that would once have been available in London decades before the provinces now appear everywhereat once 

There was undoubtedly a time when you were richer in London in two ways. You had more money, but you also had a far more exciting range of ways to spend it. Now not so much.

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London is a great city but, in terms of consumption quality, it has not improved markedly in the past 20 years. Over the same period, many smaller cities and even towns have advanced rapidly, significantly narrowing the gap. The kind of things that would once have been available in the capital decades before making it to the provinces – like sushi – now appear everywhere at once. Consider Turkish barbers, who seem to have taken over the country in only five years. (I can remember a time when it was enough just to get a haircut without having burning methylated spirits flicked in my ears. Back then I just didn’t know any better.)

This levelling is especially true of anything in the digital world: Amazon gadgets, Netflix films, Asos fashions and PlayStation games hit Aberystwyth the same day they hit Islington. But it also applies to the physical environment, as anyone over 50 can attest. I went to Manchester and Sheffield for the first time in 1989. Compared with London, they were then, let’s be honest, utterly rubbish. Now, when I visit those same cities, I experience mild ‘northern envy’. There are interesting places open everywhere. Northerners have better cars, because they have more money left over after paying for housing. And they are much better-looking, because they can nip home to get changed before going out.

Relatively speaking, London has improved far less dramatically than these provincial cities have. (New York, many aficionados argue, has got worse.) OK, the Tube is better than it used to be. Uber is a handy addition. But some things are awful – the last pleasure of driving in London ended when they put speed cameras on the Westway. Accommodation costs for the young wipe out any salary gains.

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By my measure, high property prices won’t just hit Londoners once – they’ll hit them twice. Not only do high rents wipe out what you earn, they also put at risk London’s once unassailable advantage as a great place to spend what money you have left. Creative businesses of any kind require space at a price which allows them to take risks. For a time, London found this space by moving its heartland from west to east. But suppose the people supporting what Douglas McWilliams calls ‘the flat white economy’ flee altogether? In my own experience, Kent suddenly seems weirdly full of fascinating restaurants founded by London exiles. If more of these people leave, the case for staying weakens further.

Londoners always say things like ‘Yes but there’s the theatre’. Let’s face it though – even Shakespeare left London for Stratford in his mid-forties. As he no doubt found, the theatre is all very well, but it’s nothing like being able to park outside your house.

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Gentrification is not a sin

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Gentrification is not a sin – UnHerd

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