The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) are giving people across the UK capital the opportunity to make the most of traffic free streets on World Car Free Day, and play, meet, walk, cycle and enjoy their local communities without the presence of vehicles.
Around 50 streets across London from Hackney to Ealing will be traffic free on September 22 to encourage people to ditch their cars and reclaim streets from traffic, which will open up spaces to the whole community.
By supporting London Play, a charity that works to give children the freedom to play by shutting roads to traffic, streets across the capital will be traffic free for the day. Play streets, where roads are regularly shut to traffic for a few hours each week or month offer more than just a safe space for children to play outside with their friends, they also encourage a sense of community, as well as making sure streets feel friendlier and safer. London Play has been working to transform streets into safe, fun places for children since 2008.
Poor air quality is estimated to contribute to more than 40,000 premature deaths across the UK each year, with emissions from cars and vans estimated to cost £6bn (US$7.8bn) annually. Supporting streets without cars is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan and TfL’s efforts to make London’s communities greener, healthier and more attractive places to live, work, play and do business.
TfL’s Liveable Neighborhoods program provides a further opportunity for boroughs to bid for funding to deliver long-term projects that encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, in line with the Mayor’s Healthy Streets Approach. The program will provide grants of between £1m and £10m (US$1.3-13m) for a wide range of community-supported projects, which could include the creation of green spaces, new cycling infrastructure, redesigned junctions, and the widening of walking routes to improve access to local shops, businesses and public transport.
“We’re really pleased to be working with London Play and the boroughs to transform residential streets into traffic free zones for World Car Free Day this September,” said Christina Calderato, head of delivery planning at TfL.
“We hope that in doing so, people will start to view streets as valuable public spaces, where you can also meet, play, walk and cycle. By creating Healthy Streets, we aim to improve the quality of life for everyone in London.”
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, commented, “I’m delighted that Londoners will be able to enjoy more than 40 streets without traffic noise and exhaust fumes on World Car Free Day. Our support for London Play will transform neighborhoods for families and offer a valuable opportunity to inspire long-term change, helping build on our work to reduce reliance on cars, and clean up the capital’s dangerously polluted air.”