The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London on Friday announced plans to transform parts of central London into car-free zones to make space for pedestrians and cyclists, as the United Kingdom began slowly easing its coronavirus lockdown.
The move is expected to support increased walking and cycling and improve the city’s air quality.
Traffic in London fell 60% after the measures were imposed, but the city fears a return to crowded commutes and dense traffic as restrictions are eased.
“If we want to make transport in London safe, and keep London globally competitive, then we have no choice but to rapidly repurpose London’s streets for people”, Khan said.
According to the announcement, some streets will be converted for walking and cycling only, while others will be limited to cyclists, pedestrians and buses.
Earlier this month, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo announced that 50 kilometres of lanes normally used by cars will be reserved for bicycles, in a bid to limit crowds as France began easing its coronavirus lockdown.
The French government has also unveiled a €20 million package to encourage the use of bicycles post-lockdown, including a €50 subsidy for bike repairs or tune-ups.