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Road Exhibition Road project

Exhibition Road will be redesigned as part of a 25m project to improve the ambience around the South Kensington institutions.

Impression of the Exhibition Road redesign

Dixon Jones' impression of the new Exhibition Road

Ove Arup and Dixon Jones architects have been appointed by the GLA and RB Kensington & Chelsea (RB K&C) for the 35m redesign of Exhibition Road and its ageing Victorian subway. This is one of ten pilot projects in the Mayor's 100 Public Spaces programme, which aims to improve the quality of public spaces in London.

The concept

The redesign would involve a "naked road" - one stripped of its kerb and street signs to make drivers be more aware of their surroundings and therefore slow down. No-one has right of way, so pedestrians intermingle with cars and bicycles. There will be painted guide lines on the road surface for motor vehicles, but no "hard" engineering to separate them from other road users. The road would have a uniform surface suitable for both pedestrians and vehicles alike.

A 20mph speed limit would apply to the road, and cars will have to slow down for pedestrians, but there will be no need to stop at traffic lights - helping balance the increase in journey time. A detailed article about the proposal is available from The Times.

The local project

The new design will apply to the whole of the road from Kensington Gore to Thurloe St, and Thurloe St (outside the northern exit from South Kensington station arcade) will also be pedestrianised.

Residents' parking would be retained in the area, as would disabled parking, but pay-and-display parking would be removed from Exhibition Road itself.

Cromwell Road

A new pair of inclined travelators will link the southern section of the road into the renovated subway, allowing visitors to pass underneath the busy and polluted Cromwell Road whilst still enjoying the new above-ground environment on Exhibition Road.

Turning movements at the Cromwell Road junction (which would have to remain signalised, unlike the Prince Consort Road / Princes Gardens junction) would probably be banned, except for the left turn from Exhibition Road southbound into Cromwell Road eastbound. This would allow pedestrians to cross (on the western side) with the vehicular traffic. It will also have the side effect of reducing vehicle movements on Exhibition Road by 15% or about 200 vehicles per hour during the peaks.

South Kensington

The one-way system at South Kensington will reworked, probably with Thurloe Place becoming two-way so that traffic would no longer run down the southernmost portion of Exhibition Road and along Thurloe Street outside the station, making it much easier and safer to exit from the station. The bus stands here would be relocated to Cromwell Place and Thurloe Place.


Bus routes 70 and 360 will soon be diverted to run down Exhibition Road outside the museums, using Prince Consort Road from Queen's Gate to reach Exhibition Road and then heading for South Kensington. The new design of Exhibition Road will take this into account.

The bus stops currently immediately outside the station on Thurloe St (which are often unpleasantly overcrowded) will be moved to the newly bidirectional Thurloe Place, at its junction with Thurloe Street.

Bus route 345 may be extended up Exhibition Road to stand in Prince Consort Road as part of the new terminating arrangements; other buses might be permitted to turn right from Cromwell Place into Cromwell Road and then right again into Exhibition Road or later into Thurloe Place.


RB K&C have an information page on the proposals. Public consultation will be held in October 2005.

Impression of the renovated subway with travelators leading up to the surface
Impression of the renovated subway with inclined travelators leading up to the surface (from RB K&C)


No current news for this project.

Links & Sources

  1. RB Kensington & Chelsea: Exhibition Road
  2. BBC article on Exhibition Road as a "naked road"
  3. RB Kensington & Chelsea: Winners announced for Exhibition Road design (12 Aug 2004)
  4. RB Kensington & Chelsea: Exhibition Road - transforming London's cultural centre
  5. GLA: Making Space for Londoners [RTF]
  6. Mayor's 100 Public Spaces programme

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