Photo credit: Jack Fifield
Great news: an overwhelming majority of respondents agree with LCC that parks are for people, not cars. Bad news: despite those results, The Royal Parks are set to meekly roll over the trials of current schemes for another year, rather than make these schemes permanent now, and add to them.
The response from The Royal Parks is so weak that it fails to acknowledge that while several sections of road in central London parks are set in the trials to remain closed to motor traffic during the weekends, another section of road on South Carriage Drive is effectively closed 24/7 at the moment as well.
The Royal Parks has an urgent and serious role to play in London’s response to the climate crisis. Another year without further action is another year of emissions, pollution, road danger, inactivity tolerated in its spaces. And while the Royal Parks claim schemes need to be monitored with post-Covid London traffic levels we would argue the reverse.
If the Royal Parks waits until its remaining through routes clog up with motor traffic from those avoiding public transport, it will choke the potential of these routes for walking and cycling for transport, leisure and fitness. And it will be far harder to reduce through motor traffic with more restrictions later than it will be to stop that motor traffic ever returning to the parks now.
The full results of the consultations give The Royal Parks a clear mandate, again, alongside their own policies, to act now. To build on the good work of these trials and to move them on this year, not delay and dither. And thats what we'll keep pushing them to do.
Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’ Park lower level interventions were supported by over 70% of respondents and calls for further restrictions were the “most common theme in the comments”. Greenwich Park’s removal of through motor traffic got 81% support. And Richmond Park saw the largest overall response with nearly 11,000 responses, and 71% overall support (with majority support among the 43% of responses from local residents too). Unsurprisingly the most common comments on Richmond Park were also calls for the total removal of all through motor traffic, with access retained to car parks, particularly for disabled people.
Despite not being one of the listed five parks with schemes, hundreds of emails were also sent to the Royal Parks on the issue of through motor traffic in Regent’s Park too.