Large areas of London to go ‘car-free’ as Mayor plots green Covid-19 recovery

Cars are to be banned from large areas of Central London this summer

Transport for London says it is ‘determined’ to keep gains seen for air pollution and safer streets over past two months after lockdown measures ease

Sadiq Khan has today announced plans to transform parts of central London into “one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world”, as part of a sweeping set of measures to support safer walking and cycling for workers as the battle against coronavirus continues.

The Mayor of London said the plans would create more space for social distancing to assist people returning to work in the centre of the city, with some streets restricted to walking and cycling only, and others limited to buses as well as pedestrians in order to boost “safe and sustainable travel”.

Work on the road closures is set to begin immediately and is expected to be completed within six weeks, City Hall said.

“If we want to make transport in London safe, and keep London globally competitive, then we have no choice but to rapidly repurpose London’s streets for people,” said Khan. “By ensuring our city’s recovery is green, we will also tackle our toxic air which is vital to make sure we don’t replace one public health crisis with another. I urge all boroughs to work with us to make this possible.”

Transport for London (TfL) has already added around 5,000 square metre of extra space on footpaths across London, but now cars may be banned altogether from Waterloo Bridge, London Bridge, and streets in Shoreditch, Euston, Old Street and Holborn, it said.

TfL added that it was looking into providing zero emission capable taxis with access to both London Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, as well as other areas where traffic is restricted, with the Mayor keen to capitalise on the significant improvement in the city’s air quality since the lockdown began.

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