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Editor's comment: Why is park still a motor playground?

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 October 2019

There are a lot of unresolved issues in Regent's Park. Picture: Tom Page/Creative Commons

There are a lot of unresolved issues in Regent's Park. Picture: Tom Page/Creative Commons

Archant

I took over as editor 18 months ago, midway through the battle over Cycle Superhighway 11.

That project is seemingly dead in the water thanks to a successful challenge from Westminster Council that, to use TfL's words, was more concerned with legal procedure than the merits of the scheme. (That TfL had not adequately concerned itself with legal procedure proved to be an open goal, but that is something I said at the time of the High Court ruling last year.)

So now Westminster - which seems to be fighting a one-council mission to be London's single biggest obstacle to progressive transport strategies, having also infamously taken down the plan to pedestrianise Oxford Street - has some questions to answer about the state of Regent's Park. So do the Crown Estates Paving Commission and the Royal Parks.

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In recent weeks and months readers of the Ham&High and in particular its sister title the Wood&Vale will have seen reports about "carnage" caused by traffic to an art fair; the "danger corner" that drivers keep cutting by driving in the wrong direction and now the filthy air in the park.

CS11 may or may not have been a flawed scheme, but I wonder what Westminster made of the "Burning Earth" camp down the road last week.

Given that our goal as a country (and a planet) by pretty much anyone's reckoning must be to get traffic off the roads as urgently as possible, I guess I'd like to know how the authorities that control the park plan to help do so.

It isn't just about air quality; it isn't just about people being injured in collisions; it isn't just about reclaiming public space from drivers using a park as a cut-through; it isn't just about improving fitness levels by making public places more inviting and inactive transport less convenient and affordable; it isn't just about dirty energy consumption. But nor is it just about traffic modelling. We need to start acting like there is an emergency. Because there is.

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