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Could Borough High Street be more pleasant?

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Tuesday 5 October 2010 12.54pm
Reading this headline on the site, I wondered if the question might better be phrased with the word "less" rather than "more". I can't attend this evening's meeting, but would really like to hear what conclusions are drawn.

There are many thing to love about SE1, but BHS really isn't one of them. And it doesn't seem to be getting better. If anything, the reverse.

I like the revamped library, but the western side of the street remains very scruffy, and the east side is often impossible to walk up of a morning because it's blocked by vast numbers of backpackers.

The stretch between St Thomas's St and Duke St Hill on the east side is another especially unlovely section.

The other evening, returning from an evening out, I marvelled at the sight of students (dressed in togas) lying paralytically drunk on the pavement in the vicinity of Belushi's and The Blue-eyed Maid.

Returning at the weekend from a night out, I remonstrated with a couple of teenagers on BHS who were drunkenly shouting and attempting somewhat half-heartedly to vandalize a chained-up bicycle. They stopped what they were doing and pursued me down the street bellowing "We own this f**king place". I didn't feel particularly threatened - they were on the small side and easy to outmanoeuvre - but I did find myself thinking that it's ridiculous how many people treat BHS as a kind of playground/sewer.
Tuesday 5 October 2010 1.10pm
It really couldn't get much worse could it. Thanks for reminding me, I'll be popping along this evening, partially out of interest to see what in earth the 'interactive workshops' are about.
Wednesday 6 October 2010 6.17pm
Well that was fun - I'd say it likely the voice of the people was heard on this one. The meeting was packed and the roundtable 'interactions' ensured each element of the street was discussed though a breakdown of specifics per table; retail, entertainment, pedestrians, pavements, transport use, etc. The impression I got from our table; retail and entertainments was the area is likely to come under heavy use in the years ahead with the various hotel and student schemes in the offing even before The Shard makes its debut. The historically narrow format of the road and the age of many of the buildings doesn't allow for great improvement in respect of widening, so I can only see this street becoming more congested as the years go by, and of course, as the rates increase so the usual chains will move in.
Wednesday 6 October 2010 9.26pm
Cobble the street and move the traffic else where. Move the students too (as far as possible Te He)
Thursday 7 October 2010 6.29am
It had been considered making it one-way, but the insight gained from the recent road works and the impact that had on other routes scuppered that plan. I'd like to see a development model on the lines of Lower Marsh, but know this is an unlikely option.
Thursday 7 October 2010 7.36am
On my table we were keen for a similar design as The Cut, with wider pavements, trees to soften the environment, seating, speed tables etc. We know Southwark can achieve this type of design as they've done it elsewhere, and attractive pavements would really add some colour to BHS, changing the whole look of it.

Traffic needs to stop dominating the road or it'll continue to be unpleasant for pedestrians.

Something also needs to be done about the area outside Borough Tube, which I've always thought was disgraceful, and seems a particularly dangerous junction. Removing the barriers, narrowing the road, and a diaganol crossing, that type of thing.
Thursday 7 October 2010 9.37am
At the very least Southwark Council should force the freeholders of the dilapidated buildings to put them into a usable state so they aren't left in their vacant, grubby and crumbling state. This was done on Whitecross Street in Islington - so the legislation to enforce this obviously exists.
Thursday 7 October 2010 10.33am
I agree about the pavement widening and we discussed it and in particular the bottlenecks that occur around the exits of London Bridge and Borough tube stations. The slip road at the war memorial could easily be paved which would certainly be useful and yes, if a solution can be found to reduce the traffic much more could be achieved. The problem is, that traffic has to go somewhere else.
Thursday 7 October 2010 11.17am
The problem is, that traffic has to go somewhere else.

This is a council of despair and I'm not sure it's true. It's well documented that when you add to a transport network, people start making journeys that were previously impossible.

The opening of the M25 is the text book example of this, making previously unthinkable orbital commutes possible and shortening journey times on local trips (eg Staines to Egham) such that they became more attractive.

I'm less aware of research into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if simply closing off road capacity has the effects of:
a) making some journeys less attractive so that people just stop doing them
b) where there are alternative mechanisms (as is definitely the case at Borough) encouraging modal shift.

Of course some people will just reroute elsewhere.
Thursday 7 October 2010 1.31pm
Personally I would like to see more traffic routed up the very quiet Southwark Bridge Road with an option to go across Southwark Street for London Bridge, while leaving Borough High Street south of the junction to pedestrians, bikes and public transport. You could have much wider pavements and much better access to the shops and facilities there. Most people who drive down Borough High Street aren't going to Borough High Street, they're only passing through and so the vast majority wouldn't mind being redirected.
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