After Milan and Paris, London has announced its plans to transform large areas in the city, converting streets to car-free zones, as the coronavirus lockdown loosens up. Repurposing the city for people, London aims to emerge differently from the pandemic, supporting a low-carbon and sustainable recovery. Works have already started and are expected to be completed within six weeks.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared that the city needs to be rethought and people need to take the center stage. “The biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in Transport for London’s history” hopes to encourage walking and cycling, in order to ensure the required social distancing measures, and reduce traffic in public transport systems. Moreover, eliminating car traffic will decrease air pollution, generating an overall healthier city.
It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased. That means we have to keep the number of people using public transport as low as possible. And we can’t see journeys formerly taken on public transport replaced with car usage because our roads would immediately become unusably blocked and toxic air pollution would soar. -- Mayor Sadiq Khan.
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The plan consists of limiting usage of main arteries to buses, pedestrians, and cyclists, closing down streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holborn. In fact, “large areas of London will be closed to cars and vans to allow people to walk and cycle safely”. Cars and Trucks might also be eventually banned from Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge. In a second phase, the biggest car-free initiatives will close down minor roads, in collaboration with the districts.
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. […] 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. -- Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Part of the new car-free vision, the congestion charge has been reintroduced. Moreover, other temporary measures will be taken such as stoping free travel for children, charging over-60s traveling at peak times and increasing fares.
News Via The Guardian.
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