Is London Ready for Car-Free Sundays?

Cycle//UK

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Boris Johnson, who is currently on a six-day tour of south-east Asia, has said he will be looking to implement an idea that has served Indonesian capital Jakarta well; car-free Sundays.

His comments come after taking part in a mass cycle alongside the recently-inaugurated Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Several main streets in Jakarta are closed to all traffic every Sunday from 6am, allowing tens of thousands of Indonesians to pour into the streets on bikes and on foot, with street stalls and music offering a carnival atmosphere.

"I will certainly be asking Transport for London to dust down those old ideas and let's have a look," Johnson said after being incredibly impressed by what he saw.

"Wasn't that sensational? I was blown away by the popularity of the car-free Sunday here."

The event has been running in the city for 16 years and whilst any similar scheme in London would involve a close examination of the implications for traffic, Mr Johnson is open to the idea.

"I think it would probably take time to bed in and it would take a few years before people got into the swing of coming out into the streets and making use of the space that a car-free Sunday provided," he said.

"We have been thinking about it for ages. I don't think you are going to get the British people out of bed at six in the morning to do it quite like that but it is certainly food for thought."

In the last two years, streets in central London have been closed during one Saturday in August for cycling events including the Ride London 100 amateur gathering and pro-cycling races.

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