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Car Free Day should be monthly or weekly - City committee chair

Car Free Day events - like the recent closure of Tower Bridge and London Bridge to motor traffic - should be held monthly or weekly rather than once a year, the chairman of a Guildhall committee said this week.

Car Free Day should be monthly or weekly - City committee chair

The City of London Corporation's streets and walkways sub-committee received a report at its meeting on Tuesday on the Car Free Day event held on Sunday 22 September which stretched from the Square Mile across the river to Southwark via Tower Bridge and London Bridge.

It is estimated that 70,000 people visited the event when 27 km of roads were made traffic-free for 12 hours. Most of the roads were in the Square Mile, with a southern loop taking in Tooley Street in Southwark.

Organisers believe that poor weather on the day kept visitor numbers down, but surveys show that those who did turn up rated the event highly.

"I have as an ambition more Car Free Days," said Oliver Sells QC, chairman of the streets and walkways sub-committee.

"It seems to me that there is really no justification for one a year. It is pretty feeble and totemic.

"There are lots of cities now that do one a month. Some cities do one a week."

Sheriff Chris Hayward interjected: "We've got the wrong end of the stick here – we should have 'cars allowed' days."

Mr Sells added: "I'm with you. We have to go step by step to keep people on board.

"I have a vision that in a few years' time we will have reached a stage where the predominance will be that 'we can take our cars in on a particular day' rather than the other way round."

This year's Car Free Day was funded by the Mayor of London to the tune of £1 million.

Analysis by TfL shows that 30 per cent more passengers exited the Underground system at London Bridge Station on Car Free Day than on comparable September Sundays.

Use of the Santander Cycles docking station in Tooley Street was also much higher than normal.

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