Client Better Bankside
Timescale January - March 2018
Project categories Evaluation, Strategies
The means were tasked with surveying and mapping the different businesses occupying the railway arches across a 2-mile stretch of railway infrastructure known as 'The Low Line' and the degree of pedestrian accessibility along this route that spans from Waterloo to Bermondsey. The assignment acted as a baseline study for Better Bankside's broader vision to capitalse on public realm opportunities and to encourage a trickle down effect from the vibrant riverside of the Southbank.

In 2017, The Business Improvement District – Better Bankside in collaboration with Network Rail, Team London Bridge, Blue Bermondsey and Waterloo Quarter BIDs were awarded Good Growth funding to develop ‘The Low Line’, a project which aims to reinstate the common spaces that run along the base of the viaduct connecting Waterloo to London Bridge Stations and up to the Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey. Stretching to over two miles, the route consists of various types of barriers to pedestrians including fencing, walls and other structures. By delivering a number of public realm improvements along the paths of the railway line and opening up new pedestrian routes, it is anticipated that these will help to create a more coherent and attractive walking route that will encourage footfall and in turn that helps to unlock the social, economic and environmental potential of the railway arches and the areas immediately around this. The project also forms one of the key deliverables of Better Bankside’s Urban Forest strategy.

To support Better Bankside and the Low Line board in establishing what the key sites could be as part of the public realm strategy, The means were commissioned to undertake a baseline study that maps the current business occupiers within the arches along the length of the railway viaduct in order to gain an understanding of the existing social / economic activities. Using the Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC), over 400 businesses were each identified by one of 20 categories on a map to provide a picture of the mix of different businesses, as well as marking the location of vacant units. Three maps were developed for the three distinct areas where the Low Line falls, namely the three BID areas – Better Bankside, Team London Bridge and Blue Bermondsey. In parallel to this baseline study of businesses, an accessibility map was also produced for the length of the Low Line, indicating the level of accessibility of different segments of the route through a red, amber and green traffic-light colouration, thereby denoting the areas with the highest and lowest obstruction to pedestrians.

To discuss this project please email James Thomas

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