The Paddington Partnership is developing ideas to improve Bishop’s Bridge Road.
Our initial thinking is to introduce a safer and more welcoming street layout, improved access for pedestrians and cyclists, new planting and urban greening, enhanced pedestrian crossings, and better wayfinding to help residents, businesses and visitors to the Paddington area.
The purpose of this website is to seek your thoughts and ideas on our emerging projects for the future of Bishop’s Bridge Road.
The A4206 Bishop’s Bridge Road is a two-way road with two lanes in both eastbound and westbound directions. It is a strategic traffic route linking Westway and Harrow Road to the east and Westbourne Grove to the east, and carries over 10,000 vehicles, including over 500 HGVs, per day. As a strategic route, the road is dominated by high volumes of vehicular through-traffic including taxis gaining access to the Paddington Station taxi facility.
The road also carries buses and commuter/airport coaches, as well as providing a key cycling corridor for over 500 cyclists per day. The road lies to the north of Paddington Station, a major transport hub for both London and national journeys, and is now an operating Elizabeth line station, generating considerable growth in the number of visitors and commuters in the area.
The site is located within the Paddington Opportunity Area and neighbours a number of notable local landmarks, including Grade I listed Paddington Station, the Brunel Building, Sheldon Square, and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the canalside every year.
Bishop’s Bridge Road dissects Paddington. Over 1,200 homes are within one minute’s walk of Bishop’s Bridge Road, alongside just under 2.5 million sq. ft of office space. Pupils and students attend a number of schools and colleges, including Marylebone Boys’ School, Westminster Academy, City of Westminster College, Hallfield Primary School, Phileas Fox Nursery and L’Ecole Bilingue Elementary.
Over 25,000 people work in Paddington, spread across a broad range of sectors including financial, engineering, pharmaceutical, retail, technology, telecommunications, health science, transport, sport, music and media. The area is undergoing significant transformation and in the Opportunity Area development pipeline alone, a further 1.4 million sq. ft of office space is planned, plus a further 1,200 hotel rooms. Footfall is forecast to increase further once more developments are completed and the Elizabeth line is fully operational as a through service.
Bishop’s Bridge Road today
Canalside amenities are hidden from view
Street furniture and redundant highway infrastructure presents obstacles to pedestrians
A lack of soft landscaping
A lack of clear wayfinding in the area
No segregated infrastructure for cyclists
The site currently lacks appropriate signage to aid wayfinding toward the canalside and Paddington Station, both the mainline and Elizabeth line station
The coach stop and taxi queuing area located on bridge causes congestion and contributes to the poor air quality.
Lack of Biodiversity
The space is currently dominated by hard landscaping and lacks urban greening
The bridge is currently dominated by space for motorised vehicles and fails to provide suitable space for pedestrians and cyclists
The current location of the crossing into Paddington Central is located away from pedestrian desire lines
The existing footpaths are cluttered and cause pinch points for those walking across the bridge
The coach stop can cause congestion on the pavement
An unfriendly environment for passengers to wait for coaches
School children crossing Bishop's Bridge
Coaches blocking the pedestrians crossing on the Bridge
Crossings can be daunting for users
Long wait times at the pedestrian crossings
Pedestrians find themselves caught mid crossing
The height of parapets block views to the canal for many
An isolated bus stop for passengers on the eastern end of the Bridge
Obstructions in the centre of the pavement
No signalisation and a confusing pavement treatment across the entrance of Sheldon Square
No segregated infrastructure for cyclists
In Spring 2022, The Paddington Partnership commissioned NRP to undertake a pedestrian movement survey to gain a greater understanding of pedestrian and cycle movements on and around Bishop’s Bridge Road.
The study also explored the extent of footway crowding adjacent to the coach and bus stops on the southern side of the street where there are often a number of obstructions.
The study indicated extensive crossing at informal crossing points, and higher than average levels of crossing on the ‘red man’ at controlled crossings.
You can view pedestrian crossing behaviour at the morning and afternoon peaks below:
The study identified that crossing demand at these uncontrolled locations makes up, in total, around 20-25% of the total volume of people crossing Bishop’s Bridge Road in the vicinity of the access junction. Therefore, given the proximity to various schools, public transport facilities and new developments, there is a strong case for providing improved crossing facilities.
The traffic surveys showed that peak hour cycle flows are around 20-30 cyclists per hour in each direction, with cyclists mixing with general traffic, including HGVs, buses and coaches. The total two-way traffic flow in the peak hours is up to 1,500 vehicles per hour, and the proportion of HGVs/buses/coaches can exceed 5%. When considering guidance set out in DfT LTN 1/20 Cycle infrastructure design, TfL London Cycle Design Standards and the TfL New cycle route quality criteria, these high traffic values warrant consideration of some form of segregated cycle facility.
A noticeable lack of segregated cycle lanes
The study also considered footway width and pavement clutter. The effective footway width is below standard at several locations, with multiple examples of poorly located street furniture, which make it sensitive to congestion and low levels of pedestrian comfort particularly around the coach stops.
Obstructions in the centre of the pavement
The Paddington Partnership is a voluntary grouping of the main landowners and companies in Paddington, working to regenerate, promote and connect across the area.
Public realm projects such as this one on Bishop’s Bridge Road aim to make Paddington more welcoming and accessible for people who live, work and go to school here.
Estates and campuses within the Partnership area, such as Paddington Central and Merchant Square have lively and engaging events programmes all year round. The Partnership’s popular Explore Paddington magazine and Eating Out Guide is accompanied by regularly updated maps and trails for all to use.
The Partnership’s Community Programme connects companies with charities, social enterprises and schools to ensure that local communities benefit from continued growth and investment, through volunteering, team challenges and long term partnerships.
Bishop’s Bridge Road in its current form was opened in 2006. A project by Westminster Council had seen the replacement of previous structures over the canal and the railway. As the project was about to start, a 19th-century iron bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was discovered buried within the brickwork spanning the canal. Built in 1838, Brunel’s bridge was designed without bolts, locking like a jigsaw, with bulb-headed cast iron girders, hidden for almost a century. The dismantled bridge remains in the care of English Heritage, in storage near Portsmouth. In a nod to this remarkable discovery, and Paddington’s heritage, proposals for improving today’s Bishop’s Bridge Road could potentially incorporate engineering or artistic references to Brunel’s original bridge over the canal.
The Paddington Partnership wishes to reimagine Bishop’s Bridge Road by providing more convenient crossings, improved paving with widened footpaths, more space for cyclists, new urban greening and better signposting and lighting.
We believe this will bring this key connecting route to life and allow it to create a safer, more welcoming environment as more people move in and around the local area.
Bridges can be designed to allow views of activity below, and increase feelings of personal safety [clockwise beginning top left: Ebury Bridge, PedX Bridge, Chisholm Trail Bridge, Stratford Towne Centre Link]
We have developed a series of ideas for the future of the Bishop’s Bridge Road. This initial work was funded from Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) through the Hyde Park Paddington Neighbourhood Forum. We are keen to understand the views of residents, workers and visitors to the area to help shape and prioritise our package of projects.
Low level planting could soften the bridge
Adding graphics and colour to parapets alongside a segregated cycle lane
Opening up views to the canal below
Night time view
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website on our proposals for the future of Bishop’s Bridge Road. Should you have any questions or would like to get in touch with the project team, please use the details below:
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