By Maximilian Clarke
A £14 million overhaul to reduce congestion and boost pedestrian access in London’s iconic Piccadilly Square has been labelled ‘ a stroke of genius’ by local businesses.
On Piccadilly an extra 480 square metres of usable footway have been provided and new central pedestrian strips have been constructed that will make it easier for pedestrians to cross. New street lighting on the central strips has been combined with traffic signals and road signs. By doing so engineers have been able to cut down on street clutter by removing 51 lighting columns, 34 unnecessary signs and 825 metres of pedestrian guard rail.
An array of local business leaders have already praised the improvement works. Anthony Lorenz, a commercial property consultant who has worked in the city for four decades and travels through the area four times per week, is delighted that journey times will be reduced to and from his office at from The Lorenz Consultancy. Congratulating the efforts of Westminster City Council he said: “Three minutes from the Ritz in Piccadilly to The Strand — a stroke of genius.”
And Sarah Porter, chief executive of the heart of London business alliance, praised the scheme’s immediate impact: “We are delighted in the completion of the Piccadilly Two Way scheme which will have a direct and meaningful impact on the West End and in particular the Heart of London area. The improved pedestrian crossings and reduction in street clutter will all benefit the trading environment for our businesses.”
The works were completed on schedule and ahead of the 2012 Games. Restoring two-way traffic has opened up a key gateway to St James’s Park, the Mall and Horse Guards Parade, which will be the venue for beach volleyball.
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