Southwark joined London’s bid to tackle poor air quality and build stronger communities with the closure of Bermondsey Street on Saturday – one of 49 road closures across the capital, marking World Car Free Day.
Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, traffic management and air quality, and Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner (pictured above), joined local businesses, residents and passers-by for a free event, where people were encouraged to make pedal powered smoothies, play giant air quality snakes and ladders and record a ‘tell us about your journey’ video diary entry.
Additionally, street performers engaged passers by and teams led a cycle ride.
Staff were also on hand to help people access council funding for Cleaner Greener Safer community projects in Southwark and talk through Play Streets initiatives and maps of the borough’s Quietway cycle routes, which are designed especially for people who are new to cycling.
The day aimed to encourage everyone in Southwark to help reduce air pollution and improve fitness, health and road safety, by walking, cycling or scooting around the borough, rather than using a car.
In addition, World Car Free Day gave people the opportunity to see how Bermondsey Street can look as a car free space and experience the benefits.
The initiative follows hot on the heels of the council’s new School Streets campaign launch, which encourages schools to work together with the council to close more roads outside schools at pick up and drop off times, helping to make air cleaner and roads safer for schoolchildren.
Cllr Richard Livingstone said: “In Southwark we encourage Play Streets applications and World Car Free Day presents another opportunity to show people how our streets can be transformed into spaces for communities to come together and children to play in.
“Improving air quality is a London-wide priority and we hope that the activities and information available in Bermondsey Street will help more people to make the move to walking and cycling and leave their cars at home.”