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World Car Free Day In London

Children and campaigners took part in a space hopper ‘hop past’ outside City Hall this morning to launch a London-wide Play Street Pledge ahead of World Car Free Day. 

London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, and Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, joined London leaders in encouraging Londoners to organise their own play street this September.

Representatives from 16 London boroughs signed up to a pledge committing them to promoting, supporting and approving as many play streets in their boroughs as they can to mark the global event. It’s hoped at least 200 streets across the capital will be transformed into temporary play spaces on Sunday 22nd September, which is World Car Free Day.

Play streets are simple, resident-organised events where neighbours on a road agree together to close their street temporarily, but regularly, to through traffic. This allows children to play, while adults watch and get to know each other better over a cup of tea. They are already happening all over London and further afield – and offer an easy way for people to participate in World Car Free Day.

Charity London Play has been leading the capital’s play street revival for the past decade and Transport for London is providing funding that will enable it to help more Londoners to trial play streets on Car Free Day. It is hoped that the experience of seeing their street in a new light, as valuable community space rather than parking space for cars, will inspire many to go on to apply for regular play street closures following the September event.

Anyone who wants to see their street become a play space on Car Free Day will need to consult their neighbours and apply to their local council well in advance of the day. The launch of the pledge is timed to inspire people to act sooner rather than later. Applying is free, but the process differs from borough to borough and London Play will help by advising on the various procedures; supporting with materials for promoting and consulting on play streets; and for early applicants, providing play equipment to kick start the fun. Additionally, all streets taking part will go into a prize draw to win an on street go kart building session.

The Mayor of London has also committed to work with boroughs and community organisations to deliver the biggest Car Free Day London has ever seen - much larger than what other cities have managed to achieve so far.

Those interested in turning their street into a play space on Car Free Day should get in touch with London Play via info@londonplay.org.uk or call 0203 384 8510. And it is not too late for councils to sign up to the pledge! Get in touch using the same details.