Almost eight in ten respondents to a consultation on how people reach and move around London’s Royal Parks believe that rat-running motorists should be banned from them.
The consultation was held by the Royal Parks charity, which manages eight parks in London, and certain other green spaces in the capital, on behalf of the government, and sought to address how people access the parks and move around them.
Those parks are Bushy Park, Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. Windsor Great Park is also designated a Royal Park, but is managed by the Crown Estate.
One of the statements on which views were sought as part of the consultation into the Royal Parks Movement Strategy was:
Park roads are primarily for people visiting our parks. We should seek to discourage the through-movement of commuting motor vehicles in our parks. This question correlates with the fourth draft movement principle; Our park roads are not intended to be commuter through-routes for motor vehicles.
78 per cent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, while 17 per cent strongly disagreed or disagreed with it.
In addition, 2,600 comments were received in relation to the statement, with Royal Parks saying that feedback included:
Most cars within the park are rat running through the park and not visiting the park
The need for further enforcement of speeding vehicles and commercial vehicles
The need to acknowledge the knock-on traffic effects on local streets if the park reduces existing through-movements.
87 per cent of respondents identifying as cyclists agreed with the statement, with 11 per cent expressing disagreement.
Those identifying as drivers were perhaps surprisingly almost equally split on the issue, with 44 per cent in support, 46 per cent opposed and 10 per cent expressing no preference.
Other issues that the questionnaire sought to explore were whether “changes or developments within our parks should seek to protect, conserve and enhance our parks as a top priority,” that walking should be prioritised within the parks, and that with80 per cent of visitors walking, cycling or using public transport to visit the parks, those modes of travel should be prioritised.
A number of London’s Royal Parks are heavily used by cyclists. Both Hyde Park and Green Park lie on the route of the east-west cycleway, while Richmond Park is particularly popular with road cyclists at weekends.
Plans to route a cycleway through Regent’s Park – also popular with cyclists, many of whom use the Outer Circle for training laps – and close its gates to rush-hour motorists were scrapped however after the Court of Appeal upheld a legal challenge from Westminster Council.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.