Experience a Day in London without Motor Vehicles
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Enrique Peñalosa, the Mayor of Bogotá, in 2000 organised a día sin carro (a day without car). He announced that
"A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars but it can't be both"
It was the first day in four years that nobody was killed in traffic.
The residents decided to make this experiment an annual event.
London is no Bogota - one might argue. Perhaps. But despite the falling road casualty rates in Britain reported by the government, the independent researchers "suggest that roads may actually be felt to be sufficiently dangerous as to deter pedestrians from using them. They compared rates for those whose transport options are most limited, the elderly and children and found that:
- Britain's child pedestrian safety record is worse than the average for Europe, in contrast to the better than average all-ages figure.
- Children's independent mobility is increasingly curtailed, with fear of traffic being cited as a dominant cause
- Distances walked have declined more than in other European countries
Similar (though less well-defined) observations can be made regarding the elderly" (1)
The street owned by cars is a relatively young concept, popularised by car dealers and manufacturers in the early 20th century (2). Whether you live or work in London, you drive, walk or cycle - you're negatively affected by it daily.
Let's, just for a day, swap private cars, taxis and motorcycles for public transport, bikes and the power of our legs. As a Londoner, I believe we can do it. Time to give our town a name better than The Big Smoke.
(1) Mayer Hillman, John Adams and John Whitelegg One False Move...
A Study of Children's Independent Mobility
(2) If you're courious to read more about this, I highly recommend Charles Montgomery's Happy City Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
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