London’s Exhibition Road gets naked


From the blog

London's Exhibition Road gets naked

Posted 10 March 2011 15:34 by martin

Exhibition road

The much debated, planned and consulted upon scheme to turn London's Exhibition Road into a 'shared space' or 'naked street', has at last got underway.

The project's got its very own website, and work should be completed in early 2012.

This is the vision:

“The crowded, narrow pavements and heavy traffic will go. In their place we will make an elegant kerb-free surface across the length and width of the road. Pedestrians will have more space and vehicles will be limited to 20mph.

We’re changing Exhibition Road from an area dominated by cars to one that puts people first.”

Nice stuff.

All the museums and colleges around there attract 11 million visitors per year, and if London wants to compete with the best of the 'world cities' to increase that number (or just keep them), it's got to offer up an increasingly attractive urban environment.

So what's the cost of the scheme?

£30 million. Ouch.  Rather a lot for half a mile.

But as you'll see from the pictures below, they're using very high quality materials – it looks as though it should stay in good shape for at least a decade or two.

But then again, perhaps £0.5 million spent on 60 'naked' residential streets would have been a better use of resources.

Mind you, we could have nearly 150 of these gold-plated Exhibition Road-type schemes up and down the country for the same cost as the money wasted on the aborted Nimrod spy planes.

Crazy paving:

Crazy paving

A curb on kerbs:

No kerb

Skilled work:

Men at work

New traffic-free space south of South Kensington tube:

S Ken south side

Ditto, to the north:

S Ken north side

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