This coming Sunday, twenty kilometres of road will be closed to traffic in London; that’s the equivalent of 200 football pitches in length. Here’s what you need to know about the city’s largest car-free day yet…
Making London Car Free…For A Day
Car Free Day will see large swatches of roads closed to vehicular traffic in London. The equivalent length of 200 football pitches, closures will mainly be in the city centre; around London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the City of London. In place of cars, cycling and walking will be encouraged, but some bus services will still be in operation. Thus far, 18 boroughs in the city have pledged to close roads. They’ll be turning streets into “Play Streets” where community events will be held. Ealing, Brent, Greenwich, and Tower Hamlets have already revealed plans for their own events, whilst others have pledged to support local initiatives.
Free events, called ‘Reimagine’ by Mayor Sadiq Khan, will take place on the streets rendered car free. These will include exercise and fitness activities, walks and treasure hunts, live entertainment and children’s activities. The Mayor’s office said the purpose of these was to “allow children to play and communities to get together”. It hopes that around 150,000 Londoners and visitors will participate in the plans.
Why It’s Being Done
Closing enormous stretches of road in one of the world’s largest cities is no small feat. Which is why it isn’t simply being done to give children more space to play. Instead, it’s aimed at changing travel behaviour. As the Mayor’s office explained it’s to “support the Mayor’s work to enable more Londoners to cycle, walk and use public transport to help improve health and reduce car emissions”. It added that a high-turn out “will help encourage the change in behaviour needed to meet the Mayor’s ambitious target of 80 per cent of all journeys to be taken via sustainable modes of transport by 2041, compared to 63 per cent today”.
The emissions situation in the capital has steadily grown in its seriousness. For instance, the risk of dying from long-term exposure to the city’s air has increased for a second year running. Government statistics also suggest that 2 million Londoners are exposed to illegally high levels of emissions; including more than 400,000 children. Research has also shown that around 50% of the toxic air is caused by vehicular traffic; despite this, surveys show that most Londoners are ignorant of this fact. London’s first car free day took place in September 2018. But similar days have been held for years in the likes of Vancouver and Jakarta. Whilst most campaigning groups have welcomed the concept, some have demanded more action geared towards permanent pedestrianisation.
Think Tank: Make All Of London Car-Free By 2030 – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/think-tank-make-london-car-free-2030/
These Are The Absolute Worst Places To Drive In The UK: https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/worst-places-drive/