Going underground


Kit Malthouse had a fascinating article in The Times on Tuesday, urging us make greater use of the tunnels under London. A couple of the most appealing ideas in the piece were as follows:

We could, for instance, drop the dual carriageway that currently blights the north side of the Thames into a tunnel below, replacing it with a four-mile long riverside park from Blackfriars to Battersea Bridge. Bypassing Parliament Square at the same time would allow it to be pedestrianised on two sides.

Similarly a tunnel could take traffic from the Edgware Road under Hyde Park and the gardens of Buckingham Palace and allow it to emerge south of Victoria station, where most of it is heading in any event.

The entire Hyde Park Corner interchange could be dropped below ground, and the three great parks of Central London could be united. You could walk from Parliament Square to Queensway, about three miles, without crossing a road. Park Lane would be freed up for redevelopment, and a grand new public square could be created at Marble Arch.

Malthouse's ideas sound good to me. As usual though, the ASI was there first. As we said in our 1994 publication 20-20 Vision:

There are many tunnels under London, and even Underground stations, obsolete for existing use. It should be one of our priorities to investigate how many of these tunnels could be restored and extended for use as urban tollways. They would offer motorists the opportunity to cross under London at various points, paying a toll to miss some of the surface congestion.