Mayor Sadiq Khan launches plans for London’s biggest ever Car Free Day celebrations

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched plans for London’s biggest ever Car Free Day celebrations, which will see around 13 miles of roads closed around Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the City of London.

The aim is to get Londoners to "Reimagine" their city car-free, while walking, cycling and exploring the city.

Car Free Day is part of the Mayor’s work to encourage Londoners to cycle, walk and use public transport, in an effort to help improve air pollution and reduce car emissions.

The event, which is due to take place on Sunday 22 September, will see hundreds of activities taking place across more than 13 miles of closed streets in Central London, including Tower Bridge (closed to all traffic), London Bridge (buses only) and much of the City of London. Eighteen boroughs are also organising events, including working with residents to create local "Play Streets". The Mayor’s car-free events are to be called "Reimagine" and will give Londoners and visitors the opportunity to reimagine the city car-free and enable them to get out and about, enjoying free events across the capital’s streets. 

Car Free Day is marked across the world and the Mayor hopes that over 150,000 Londoners will join in London’s Reimagine events, which are designed to encourage a change in behaviour which is needed to meet the Mayor’s target of 80 per cent of all journeys to be taken via sustainable modes of transport by 2041, compared to 63 per cent today. The Mayor’s office have stated that air pollution is one of the biggest health emergencies of our generation, with more than two million Londoners living in areas that exceed legal limits for NO2, including more than 400,000 children under the age of 18.

The Mayor and TfL are working with the City of London, Tower Hamlets and Southwark Council, plus a range of popular festivals including the Totally Thames Festival and Open House London, to deliver a wide-ranging free programme of activities for Reimagine. The events will include:

  • Opportunities to cycle and walk around the Totally Thames festival, the 125th anniversary of Tower Bridge celebrations and visit some of London’s landmark buildings as part of the Open House weekend.

  • BMX rides, skate ramps and pop-up playgrounds, plus live music and street performances, sports and games.

  • Guilded walking routes with trails and treasure hunts around the City of London and Southwark, plus food markets, art installations, and health and wellbeing activities including spinning events will all be available.

At least 18 boroughs have also confirmed they will be participating in Car Free Day. Boroughs including Ealing, Brent, Greenwich, and Tower Hamlets are organising their own events, while others have pledged to support residents who would like to hold a Play Street on the day. 

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is leading the way in innovative measures to improve air pollution and I want this year’s Car Free Day events to be the best of any world city. This will be a great opportunity for us all to leave our cars behind and explore our streets by foot, or by bike. 

"We’ve called our range of events ‘Reimagine’ so that Londoners get an idea of what some of the busiest parts of our city would be like without cars and traffic. There will be tons of performances and activities for people of all ages to try and enjoy. 

“I encourage as many Londoners as possible to join in the fun and see the city from a different perspective. I will continue to work with those boroughs who are forward-looking and want to think differently about how to use road space. Hopefully this will shame into life those boroughs with outdated views who are dragging their feet.”

Public transport will be available to get people to the central London event, with buses continuing to run on a dedicated route through the event footprint and Santander Cycle docking stations conveniently located. Designated taxi drop-off points are also available for those with accessibility needs.

Image Source: Twitter

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