Cars could be banned from London’s Royal Parks as part of a new movement strategy. The Royal Parks charity says that growing congestion, deteriorating air quality and lack of access to high quality open space has encouraged it to set out proposals to try and reduce the impact of motor traffic.
“Our park roads are not intended to be commuter through-routes for motor vehicles,” states one of the ‘movement principles’ within the document. “Park roads are primarily for the use of park visitors coming to the parks, not for commuters travelling through the parks. Over time, we will discourage the through-movement of motor vehicles within our parks.”
The London Evening Standard reports that options up for consideration range from speed humps and speed restrictions to full closure of roads. Proposals are due to be finalised by December.
Mat Bonomi, head of transport for the Royal Parks, said: “London’s population is projected to grow to 10 million residents by 2035 so more and more people are going to be using our parks to seek refuge from the busy city. We need to be prepared for this.”
The eight Royal Parks are Hyde Park, Regent's Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, St James' Park and Bushy Park.
Last month, an unelected Georgian quango that manages certain roads in and around the Regent’s Park was accused of failing in its duty to ensure public safety by prioritising rat-running motor traffic over park users by keeping park gates open at rush hour.
Regent’s Park’s Outer Circle currently sees three times more collisions than the central London average, but the Crown Estate Paving Commission (CEPC) keeps gates open from 7am to midnight.
London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Closing the gates would save lives. It would mean less collisions, less pollution in the park. It would give Londoners a safe route to get to work or to see their family. It would mean Regent’s Park becomes a park again, as it was originally intended by John Nash when he designed it.
“He would be horrified if he knew what the park had become – a dangerous cut through for impatient drivers to get into central London a few minutes faster in their cars.”