On Sunday 22 September 2019, World Car-Free Day will be marked in the capital with what Mayor Sadiq Khan has described as celebrations taking place on more than 20 kilometres of closed roads around Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the City of London.
“If you are planning to travel into or within central London, use public transport, walk or cycle,” Transport for London (TfL) has advised. “Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Long queues and delays are expected in the areas around the closures.”
There will, it went on, be extensive road closures and restrictions in the City of London, Southwark and Tower Hamlets between 07:00 and 19:00 on the day. London Bridge and Tower Bridge will be closed to general traffic although buses will still run across London Bridge and there will be access for emergency services.
The road closures apply to delivery and servicing vehicles with TfL warning: “If your business is in the closed roads area, you should change your deliveries and servicing to a different day or retime them before roads close or after they reopen.”
The changes will also affect buses with some routes be on diversion or stopping short of their normal destination; some central London bus routes will not serve their usual stops; and some bus stops will be temporarily moved or suspended.
Santander Cycles will be free to hire across the whole of London on the day of the event. See tfl.gov.uk for more details of closures and route changes.
Mr Khan has announced details of hundreds of free activities to help Londoners “reclaim” their streets.
Bank Junction will be transformed into its first ever car-free festival space, with a picnic area and musical entertainment provided from a solar-powered stage. There will be a hedge maze in Cheapside, with car parking spaces becoming “parklets” filled with a variety of activities including games, gardening and a place to sit and enjoy relaxing music.
Meanwhile, there will be a Tower of London historical re-enactment of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 and children will be able to build and race their own go-karts in nearby Poultry.
TfL is encouraging people to walk, cycle and take public transport to get to Car-Free Day events across London as these are likely to be the quickest and easiest ways to travel.
It has pointed out that some boroughs are running larger Car-Free Day celebrations, including Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
Roads in the Leeds area — including Otley, Headingley and Hunslet — will also be closed as part of World Car-Free Day. This will be the first of 11 such days planned by Leeds City Council.
Elsewhere, Bath’s Milsom Street will be closed to all vehicles on both Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.
Reactions to plans to take part in the Day have not been welcomed everywhere, however, with a proposal to turn one of Birmingham's busiest roads — the Aston Expressway — into a paved park featuring games, walks and cycling branded “moronic” by some motorists who forecast traffic chaos.
Almost 87,000 vehicles use the A38(M) Aston Expressway each day as it links the city to the M6.
Last reviewed 12 September 2019