Petition to: make Charing Cross Road a One Way System"

This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to make Charing Cross Road a One Way System". More details

Petition update from the council, 11 April 2012

Further to your submission of an e-petition on the Council’s website entitled “Make Charing Cross Road a One Way System”, I am writing to advise you of the Council’s response to this proposal. Please note that as the petition only attracted three signatures, a report to Full Council has not been required.

Whilst it is recognised that in certain areas there can be some benefits to the creation of one way systems, for instance in quieter residential areas where there is a desire to reduce rat running or insufficient width for two way traffic to safely operate, many other roads are less suited to this type of conversion.

Charing Cross Road is classed as a local distributor road which means its function as a throughfare for traffic is an important factor that needs to be taken into account alongside its function as a busy retail area accessed by a variety of modes.

Although central London has many one way streets, it is becoming increasingly recognised that in transport planning terms, such systems can act as a barrier to movement, resulting in poor connectivity and permeability for both cyclists and general traffic. The creation of one way streets reduces the number of route options available and makes navigation more difficult as vehicles are forced to take less direct routes in order to reach their destination, resulting in more congestion and poor air quality.

For these reasons there is currently a move away from the creation of one way streets and indeed many existing one way streets or gyratory systems are being removed and reverted back to two way working. One such example is the recently completed scheme on Piccadilly, where the gyratory around Piccadilly, St James’s Street and Pall Mall has been removed and these streets now operate as two way. This scheme has not only enabled significant improvements to the pedestrian environment, but the scheme is also predicted to reduce average peak period journey times across the study area by 31%. Other boroughs are also looking to unlock their one way systems, for instance Camden has plans to convert much of Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road back to two way working.

Your desire to see the pedestrian environment of Charing Cross Road improved is acknowledged and welcomed. However, if a busy road like Charing Cross Road were to be made one way, there would need to be a suitable alternative for traffic wishing to travel in the direction that is to be restricted and such a route is not obvious in this case. As explained above, it is unlikely that making the street one way would lessen congestion.

I must therefore advise that the Council has no current plans to see Charing Cross Road converted into a one way street. I can only emphasise that through careful design it is possible for streets to remain two way whilst maintaining a good balance between the needs of pedestrians and those of other roads users. This has been demonstrated in many recent schemes across the capital including Exhibition Road and Piccadilly.

Yours sincerely

Rosemarie MacQueen
Strategic Director Built Environment

More details from petition creator

We request that Westminster City Council make Charing Cross Road a One Way(OW) system similar to much of WC2, giving people space to breathe and allowing limited access for emergency vehicles, buses, taxis, delivery vans and cycles.

WC2 city streets were built for the horse and carriage but carries tons of hasty vehicles causing pollution and noise at levels above EU limits reducing life expectancy and causing mental disease; congestion is a frequent event on Charing Cross Road.

OW traffic would allow everyone to enjoy Trafalgar and Leicester Square, the shops, restaurants, theatres, pubs & venues in the area to improve the experience of London with its many Olympic sized events celebrated in the area, served by Piccadilly, Northern, Central, Circle, Bakerloo, lines, Rail, Ferry, and many good bus services.

I kindly ask you to consider the beneficial effects for visitors, workers, tourists, and residents of adding your name to the petition (Email: for information)

Current signatories

GARY HAYES, the petition creator, joined by:

  • Alesia Belaya
  • Helen Bangs