Khan’s London: Virtue-Signalling ‘Car Free Day’ to Disrupt City as Roads Shut for Festivals, Yoga Sessions

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: A climate change protester holds an anti-BP banner in front of Shell petroleum's headquarters on September 1, 2009 in London, England. Climate campaigners have also been staging a week long protest camp in Blackheath south London. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Oli Scarff/Getty

Mayor Sadiq Khan will close 16 miles of London roads on Sunday to celebrate “World Car Free Day”, causing traffic jams and delays around the city.

Streets will be shut down across 24 boroughs in London to form “play streets” including festival spaces being set up in Bank and Tower Bridge junctions, a hedge maze in Cheapside, and yoga sessions in the streets of Tower Bridge, reports the BBC.

Parking spaces will also be turned into “parklets” where people can play games or listen to music.

The London mayor says he hopes shutting down some 340 roads to host the events, to the tune of £1 million in City Hall funds, will “inspire Londoners to get out of their cars in their daily lives, and to walk, cycle or use public transport instead”.

While there will be yoga, music, and play in central London, the roads around the “World Car Free Day” zone are set to see increased traffic, with Transport for London warning: “Long queues and delays are expected in the areas around the closures.”

“Roads in the surrounding areas will be extremely busy. There will be significant delays to road journeys,” TfL added.

Khan criticised those who object to his radical green agenda as siding with the “car lobbyists”, with the Labour politician writing in the Evening Standard: “No matter how necessary, or reasonable, the action we take to tackle air pollution and climate change is, sadly there will always be some who blindly side with the car lobbyists and accuse us of a ‘war on motorists’.”

The leftist mayor has said that he wants 80 per cent of journeys in the capital to be taken by foot, cycle, or public transport by 2041.

Travellers already abstain from using private vehicles in the capital for 63 per cent of journeys.

On Wednesday, Mayor Khan gave his support to proposals by Camden council transport chief Adam Harrison to charge Londoners a levy for so-called “needless” car journeys.

Writing an article for the avowedly socialist Fabian Society, Mr Harrison wrote that with the help of rapidly advancing technology, “a nuanced charging system” which is “variable by time of day, the type of journey being made, the vehicle used and the alternatives available” could be used to charge people more who make so-called “needless” car journeys “to the local shops”.

The mayor backed the plans, saying his office would “look into what is available in relation to technology around road-user pricing”.

Drivers in central London already pay an £11.50 a day congestion charge, with drivers whose vehicles do not meet emissions standards paying an additional £12.50 in so-called Ultra-Low Emissions Zones.

While Londoners are being encouraged to cycle more and abandon private vehicles, they have not been very respectful of TfL’s “Boris Bikes” — introduced by former London mayor Boris Johnson — with a report in the London Evening Standard revealing the disregard with which users treat the rented bicycles.

Of 11,500 Boris Bikes, around 200 are “decommissioned” every year due to damage, with more than 12,000 tyres and inner tubes needing replacement annually.

“I see quite regularly people bumping down curbs and when docking, do you really need to do it with such force? That will cause issues with the motor. You also get people who just throw it to the floor. We just want people to treat them as if it was their own bike,” TfL’s head of cycle hire David Eddington complained.

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