London mayor Sadiq Khan announced yesterday that the city will act more boldly to reduce reliance on cars, and ban the construction of new parking spaces in large parts of the city.
The broad strokes of his draft city plan include banning the creation of new parking for residential construction, as well as stopping new offices from adding commuter or visitor parking. Spaces for disabled drivers would still be allowed, and the creation of additional bike parking would be greatly increased.
"To secure the future health and prosperity of our city, we need to be bolder in encouraging people to reduce their reliance on cars,” Khan said to the Evening Standard. "It’s essential for dealing with congestion as London’s population grows, and crucial for reducing our toxic air pollution emissions.
Khan’s proposal represents his latest move to revamp the city’s transportation system. Last month, London introduced a £10 T-Charge, or “toxicity charge,” a fine for vehicles that enter the city center without meeting certain emissions standards. Khan has been a strong proponent of cycling, dedicating millions to fund the installation of a network of cycling superhighways in an attempt to guarantee that every city resident lives within 400 meters of a protected bike lane by 2041. The city has also announced plans to make Oxford Street pedestrian free, and pledged to create an emissions-free zone in the center of the city.
Khan aims to increase the share of trips by foot, bike, or transit from 64 percent to 80 percent over the next 25 years. He’s been especially vocal about the toll of increase air pollution, which studies suggest contributes to 9,500 premature deaths each year in the English capital.
Critics have charged that Khan’s new proposal will have serious implications for the mobility of many, especially the elderly, and lead to traffic chaos, as drivers seek on-street parking in nearby streets.