Today (Sunday 22nd Sept 2019) – London held its first ever “World Car Free Day” – an event commissioned by the Mayor of London –Sadiq Khan, to promote the tackling climate change, and to encourage Londoners to cycle, walk and use public transport to improve air pollution and cut down on car emissions.
Statistically, more than 50 % of London’s toxic air is caused by vehicles, and is a major contributory factor to causing potentially serious health conditions.
Usually on a Sunday, as with any other day of the week, London’s roads are totally congested with cars, but throughout today’s ‘World Car Free Day’ selected central London streets, and the main streets of many other London boroughs, were totally closed to vehicles.
These ‘car free’ streets hosted hundreds of activities for people of all ages to come together and enjoy – creating a unique community spirit, and a safe place for children to play without fearing the dangers of traffic and fuel emissions.
The total of road closures equated to nearly 200 football pitches in length – providing Londoner’s and visitors the capital, the opportunity to explore London streets without fear of having to dodge the traffic.
The event was titled ‘Reimagine’ – where Londoners got an idea of what some of the busiest parts of the City would be like without cars and traffic.
So – before heading to the London Stadium at Stratford today, to watch my happy little Hammers play Man Utd – ‘London Shoes’ decided to venture into the ‘Smoke’ to catch the vibe and get a feel for what it would be like to stroll down the middle of a few of the City’s busiest streets, without a car or lorry up the backside.
Although pushed for time, and unable to get to all of the streets that were closed, ‘London Shoes’ did enjoy the unique experience of wandering down the middle of the road across Tower Bridge, and back again – and then headed off to the normally chaotic junction at Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street, where it felt like being on the set of some ‘end-of-the-world’ film, as the vibe was just so quiet and weird – especially when looking back at the usually traffic rammed Aldgate district.
Whether the moral or intention of the day will be fully taken on board and help influence how we travel around London in future – I don’t know – but events like this “World Car Free Day” can’t do anyone any harm, and at least it gives people the opportunity to explore the City comfortably, peacefully and safely, and from a completely different perspective – so I personally give the initiative the thumbs-up and hope they continue.
Below are more photos of the entire ‘World Car Free Day’ blog experience