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Motor vehicles could be banned from Royal Parks

Cyclists could benefit from potential measures to prevent parks being used as 'rat-runs'

Joe Robinson
7 Jun 2019

Motor traffic could be banned from all eight of London's Royal Parks in a move that could benefit cycle commuters and walkers. The Royal Parks charity, the organisation charged with the management of the parks, is keen to deter commuters from using the likes Richmond Park, Regent's Park and Hyde Park as a 'rat-runs' for motor vehicles.

The charity has suggested it will consider full closure of the roads to motor traffic to maintain park habitats and prioritise park users while maintaining the 'safety for all park users, reducing the impact of vehicle-based traffic and reducing conflict between different modes.'

Full closure of the roads is also being considered alongside partial closures, the implementation of speed humps and stricter speed limits that would be introduced.

These suggestions come as part of 'The Royal Parks Movement Strategy', a new seven-part scheme that looks to 'prioritise walking and discourage the through-movement of motor vehicles' in the eight parks.

The eight green space affected would be Hyde Park, Regent's Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, St James' Park and Bushy Park.

Regent's Park is often congested with traffic attempting to cut through London, causing congestion at the north and south entrances to the park.

Speeding is also common on the park's outer circle despite restrictions being in place and this ultimately saw the planned segregated cycle superhighway plans through the park scrapped.

Richmond Park often battles with heavy congestion at rush hour with cars travelling in and out of the city centre while Greenwich Park suffers similar issues with motor vehicles looking to beat the congestion of nearby motorways.

Hyde Park suffers with significant traffic on West Carriage Drive most weekdays. 

Head of transport for the Royal Parks, Mat Bonomi, told the Evening Standard that these plans are being considered to retain their place as 'refuge' from the evergrowing city centre of London.

'London’s population is projected to grow to 10 million residents by 2035 so more and more people are going to be using our parks to seek refuge from the busy city. We need to be prepared for this,' said Bonomi.

Bonomi also confirmed that the consultation was devised to meet Mayor Sadiq Khan's walking and cycling initiatives.

Any changes to the speed limit or increases to parking charges would need parliamentary approval, however any road closures could be made by the Royal Parks charity.

The first phase of consultation is open now with the eventual implementation of changes scheduled for December 2019.

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