After sampling London past at the British Library’s ‘London: a life in maps’, we went on to Store Street for a peek at the London yet come. ‘London’s moving: how transport is changing’ is the latest free exhibition at New London Architecture, best known for its info on new building projects around the capital and its fun 3D model map of central London.
The transport display features an impressive 55 schemes, with just the right amount of information on each, arranged into sections on air, water, earth and fire (OK, so we made that up – it’s air, water, rail and road). There are clear indications of how far each project has got, plus clever and sometimes eye-opening ‘likelihood of success’ ratings from the London Communications Agency (LCA).
The usual suspects are there – Crossrail has a likelihood rating of 60%, and the removal of street furniture from Exhibition Road is rated at 83%. But there are plenty of other projects we weren’t aware of, like plans to completely rebuild Heathrow Terminal 2, after they’ve stopped playing Doozer on Terminal 5. Some ideas at the proposal stage make plenty of sense, such as a plan to use the old underground mail rail network to transport freight, although others are a bit wackier. ‘Monometro 2012’ would be an overhead railway running east from Liverpool Street, which would apparently be much cheaper than trams, although it does smack of a Simpson’s episode. There are also plans for an airport in the Thames estuary (actually on the watery bit). But unsurprisingly the chances of these last two ‘getting off the ground’ are a lowly 10% each. Rather depressingly, ‘Repair and upgrade of London Underground’ is given only a 30% chance of completion.
Throughout the exhibition are frank comments on what progress has and hasn’t been made, pointing out that some schemes have been stalled for years while central Government decides whether to fund them.
‘London’s moving’ is a good way to spend an hour or so on a winter afternoon, particularly if like us you’re nerdy enough to want to know about transport plans but aren’t quite nerdy enough to keep up with all the projects at source.
‘London’s moving: how transport is changing’ is at New London Architecture, Store Street until 13th Jan (not open Sundays).
Words by Heather Brown, Picture by Matt Brown