Events in the last few months have made us rethink a great many things, including the way we move through our cities. With lots of us are picking up bikes and ditching packed commuter trains, some of London’s Royal Parks have announced they’ll be placing a ban on cars.
Six major green spaces – Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, St James’s Park, Green Park and Bushy Park – are taking part in a trial ban on vehicles from Saturday August 15.
Many of the traffic restrictions have been in place since lockdown began in March and will be trialled for six months as part of the Royal Parks’ Movement Strategy to reduce the amount of cut-through traffic in the parks.
The changes include closing The Mall and Constitution Hill in St James’s and Green Parks to traffic on weekends, a full-time closure of the Avenue in Greenwich Park and closing the North Carriage Drive permanently in Hyde Park. You can read a full summary of which roads will be part of the trial here.
The most controversial changes are taking place in Richmond Park, where a ‘quiet zone’ on the north side of the park will restrict cut-through traffic between Roehampton, Sheen and Richmond Gates. However, cyclists have raised concerns over plans to reopen the traffic route between Richmond and Kingston gates, describing the road as a busy ‘rat run’ before it was closed in March.
Mat Bonomi, Head of Transport for The Royal Parks, said: ‘Our parks have been a lifeline for Londoners during the pandemic and, with more people than ever walking and cycling in London, these trials will be a chance for Londoners to continue to enjoy new car-free areas of the parks.’
The changes will be reviewed in a formal consultation in November and December, which will take visitor satisfaction into account. If you want to be involved in the process, you can sign up here.
In other travel news, Uber has teamed up with Thames Clippers for a London commuter riverboat service.