View from the street: Time to get traffic out of the park

Traffic and cyclists coming out of Regent's Park outer circle. Picture: Adam Butler

Traffic and cyclists coming out of Regent's Park outer circle - Credit: Adam Butler

Does anyone think building a massive road through a park is a good idea? Yet that’s we’ve got in parks across London. Regent’s Park’s Outer Circle wasn’t designed for commuters, van drivers and taxis. Yet that’s who uses it. The same issue crops up in The Royal Parks’ Richmond Park and Hyde Park.

The ornate gates and wide open vistas of these parks hark back to a different time. Yet their core function has remained unchanged; and a space for Londoners to walk, chat, sit, cycle, scoot is more important than ever for Londoners.

So how do deal with this issue, without, as those who oppose action say, impacting roads nearby? 

Mass car ownership levels kicked in in the ‘80s, and it wasn’t until the ‘90s we saw smartphones and satnav apps that led to explosive growth in motor traffic to circumvent main road congestion (according to DfT figures). It’s not too late to take action on this – motor traffic isn’t an unstoppable force.

We now have lots of data to prove that it is possible, good even, to restrict motor traffic from areas.

Simon MunkInfrastructure CampaignerLondon Cycling Campaign

Simon Munk is fighting for a lower traffic Regent's Park - Credit: Simon Munk

The roll-out of “low traffic neighbourhood” schemes across London during this crisis and for years before in some boroughs, shows despite fears of 'carmageddon' on main roads, after a few months, main roads settle back to where they were before.

The medium term result is, according to academic studies, more walking and cycling, lower car use, and lower pollution even on main roads. So we can get rid of the traffic in parks and nearby roads won’t end up suffering.

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The Royal Parks are currently running consultations on their iconic parks to start to reverse the rise in car traffic in them. Bushy, Greenwich and Richmond parks already have schemes. So why not Regent’s Park?

A secretive association called the Crown Estates Paving Commission are blocking progress. LCC has a page to help you fill out the consultation to ask the Royal Parks to push harder on Regent’s Park.

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