'Let’s be mindful of car use, and instead, walk, cycle and share rides'

Embargoed to 0001 Saturday January 16 Cars parked on a residential street in London as the battle fo

Evidence suggests that 94% of all Camden's cars are parked all of the time - Credit: PA

It’s eco-worrier travel quiz time, dear reader! 

Here are four questions for you:

i) How many car owners do you think there are in Camden?

ii) What percentage of car driven trips in London are for one passenger only?

iii) What percentage of London car trips are shorter than 2km?

iv) How many daily journeys to TfL estimate which are currently made by cars could be walked or cycled?

And…er…four staggering answers:

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i) There are 35,000 cars in Camden. Evidence suggests that these cars are parked 94% of the time.

ii) 60% are solo journeys.

iii) 33% of journeys are less than 2km. And a further 32% 2-5km.

iv) TfL estimates that 6 million daily journeys in London could be walked or cycled.

In Camden this translates to over 260,000 trips a day that could be switched (2019).

So, how did you do in the quiz? But more importantly, what can we all do about it?

94%… Are you, like me saying: “I don’t believe it?” Well… it’s true. Are our cars really parked over 90% of the time? Could some of us give up our cars and share with our friends/neighbours, not withstanding insurance considerations? Can you imagine if these ex-parking spaces were turned into gorgeous little parklets? Whilst Camden Council are allowing a few parklets across the borough, we need a mechanism put in place to allow us all to create parklets if we choose to give up our car. C’mon Cllr Adam Harrison…let’s put the park back into parking.

We could share more car journeys: double up with neighbours to do a bulk shopping trip, or go to an event. Sharing is caring.

Now, I’m the first one to admit I’m guilty of taking short journeys…and whilst maths has never been my strong point…it appears that 65% of the journeys we take are less than 3 miles. Yikes! I’m going to be much more mindful every time I reach for the car keys and plan to pop on the bus.

Talking the talk and walking the…There are soo many lovely apps and websites to inspire us to get walking: footways.london. On yer bike…We are so lucky in our borough to have the amazing Camdencyclists.org.uk who offer bike fixing, and all kinds of cool cycling stuff.

And what about deliveries? Well, here’s a brill and fun alternative to you-know-who.

Check out the amazing Pedalme.co.uk. Pedalme offer a fast, cheaper, green fleet of electric cargo bikes for same day deliveries and passenger transport. They cover a nine mile radius around Central London. It’s safe and really good fun. Send your kids to school in one.

Now I know, dear reader, that some of you will be saying that you have an electric car. Me too. But electric cars still emit horrid emissions from N02 particulates that their tyres give off…

So, let’s be mindful of car use, and instead, walk, cycle and share rides, filling our minds with fun, friendship, clear air and blue-sky thinking.

Thanks to Camden Clean Air for the stats. Camden Clean Air is a local non-profit working to reduce air pollution across the borough of Camden. They provide resources and support to schools, households, and businesses within the community, and aim to introduce policy and infrastructural change through their clean air projects (camdencleanair.org).

Debbie Bourne is from Think and Do Camden and also designs wild gardens: ofbutterfliesandbees.co.uk