Areas around the Strand and London Bridge to be made car-free within weeks
It will be one of the biggest car-free initiatives in the world
Sadiq Khan has announced several areas of London will be made car-free within weeks, including parts of The Strand, Kingsway, and London Bridge.
The areas will be closed to cars and vans to allow people to walk and cycle safely around the city once lockdown restrictions are eased.
On Friday the Mayor of London announced that main streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holdburn, will be limited to buses, pedestrians, and cyclists.
The plan is set to be one of the biggest car-free initiatives of any city worldwide will begin immediately and officials say the initiative should be completed within six weeks.
Officials have also said they will work with different boroughs to implement similar restrictions on minor roads within the areas.
Cars and lorries may also be banned from Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge.
Experts have said this measure is crucial to encourage people to walk and cycle to work once lockdown is over, because physical distancing on public transport is impossible and a sudden surge in car use will create great amounts of pollution.
Khan has said that COVID-19 has posed “the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in Transport for London’s history”.
He continued: “It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.
“This means we have to keep the number of people using public transport as low as possible and we can’t see journeys formerly taken on public transport replaced with car usage because our roads would immediately become unusable blocked and toxic air pollution would soar”.
In order to limit car use further, Khan has also reintroduced to the congestion charge raising it from £11.50 to £15 in Ultra Low Emission Zones and Low Emission Zones.
To create support for NHS staff, the congestion charge reimbursement scheme is being extended and will also be open to care workers.