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London to cut parking space to reduce car use

London has unveiled plans to reduce the use of cars and to promote walking, cycling and use of public transport at a time when the city is grappling with increasing population and pollution.

world Updated: Jun 21, 2017 19:02 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
File photo of the Bank of England in the City of London on April 19, 2017.
File photo of the Bank of England in the City of London on April 19, 2017. (Reuters)

With population and pollution set to increase, London mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday announced plans to restrict parking space to reduce the use of cars and to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport for 80% of journeys per day.

Khan’s Transport Strategy includes restricting car parking, which is expected to cut 3 million car journeys in London each day. Plans also include levying a “per mile” charge, which means the more one travels by car in London, the more one pays.

Car users already face a “Congestion Charge” to drive into the central London zone marked with the letter “C”. The strategy’s target is to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80% of journeys by 2041, compared to 64% now.

London’s population is set to expand from 8.7 million to 10.5 million over the next 25 years, generating more than five million additional trips each day across the transport network. The metropolis is already struggling to deal with growing pollution.   

“The mayor will look to restrict car parking provision within new developments, with those most accessible to public transport expected to be car free. Secure cycle parking and storage will be expected to be built into all new developments, and where car parking is considered appropriate in new development, provision should be made for electric vehicle charging points,” the strategy said.

Also on the agenda is a London-wide network of cycle routes, with new routes and improved infrastructure to tackle barriers to cycling. The aim is for 70% of Londoners to live within 400 metres of a high quality, safe cycle route by 2041.

Khan said: “As London’s population is set to increase beyond 10 million, our future health and prosperity is more and more dependent on us reducing our reliance on cars. We have to be ambitious in changing how our city works. 

“We have to make not using your car the affordable, safest and most convenient option for Londoners going about their daily lives. This is not only essential for dealing with congestion as London grows, but crucial for reducing our toxic air pollution, and improving the health of all Londoners.”

The plans include reviewing existing and planned road user charging schemes, including the Congestion Charge, and exploring the next generation of road user charges that could harness new technology to better reflect distance, time, emissions, road danger and other factors in an integrated way. 

“This could include a single ‘per mile’ charge which takes into account both congestion and emissions objectives,” the document said.

 The target it to ensure that London’s entire transport system is zero-emission by 2050, to be reached through a phased approach, and building on the forthcoming introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.