London’s growing population and changing travel habits are putting our roads and streets under increasing pressure. A new report, Reclaim the kerb: The future of parking and kerbside management in London, authored by Silviya Barrett, Joe Wills, Mario Washington-Ihieme from the Centre for London, outlines key issues.
The report argues that while Londoners who need to drive also need to park, better use of street space would benefit everyone. It highlights that the opportunity to repurpose kerbsides and transform them into valuable public space is huge: cars parked on our streets take up space equivalent to 10 Hyde Parks.
There is now a growing consensus, says the report, that tackling the challenges of congestion, air pollution, carbon emissions, road danger and physical inactivity requires a reduction in motor vehicle usage and an increase in the use of public transport, walking and cycling. Additionally, we must ensure that any car journeys that cannot be avoided are carried out in shared, low-emission vehicles. We call this shift in how we move around the city 'New Urban Mobility'.
Parking policy is one tool that can help achieve this shift. This report examines how private car use has changed over time, as well as the value that car owners and non-car-owning residents place on different kerbside uses. It also examines what boroughs can do to encourage and enable people to switch to sustainable modes of travel and create a greener, healthier and more pleasant environment for the benefit of everyone.
Parking controls can play an important role in encouraging the shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. This report makes the case for a more strategic approach to managing parking and the kerbside, and for reallocating street space to uses that Londoners value.
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