London streets to go car-free to encourage walking and cycling
Cars will be banished from miles of streets in central London to encourage more walking and cycling and help public transport cope with social distancing restrictions, the city’s mayor said on Friday.
Sadiq Khan said the plan, which covers major cross-town routes, would transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city.
“COVID-19 poses the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in TfL’s (Transport for London) history,” he said.
“It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.”
Passenger numbers on London’s Underground network have fallen by 95% since Britain went into lockdown in March, while the number of bus journeys has fallen by 85%.
London’s congestion charge, payable by vehicles driving in a central zone, and ultra-low emission zone will be reintroduced on Monday, the office said.
Under the proposals, the congestion charge could increase to 15 pounds ($18.24) a day from 11.50 pounds next month and the hours of operation extended as part of a package of temporary changes, it said.