A Traffic Free Regent’s Park

We aim to remove through motor traffic from the Outer Circle of Regent’s Park, restoring an environment more appropriate for a park.

Regent’s Park is one of the finest of London’s open spaces, providing something for everyone. Formal gardens, sports pitches, wide open spaces, a boating lake, a zoo, an open-air theatre and four cafés. People come here to exercise or to relax in the peaceful expanse of green open spaces, to leave the bustle of the city.

A Peaceful Park threatened

The Outer Circle is now used by over 5,000 vehicles a day, producing noise and air pollution, destroying the peace of the park. Traffic counts at morning and evening peaks indicate that the Outer Circle is used as a short cut, southbound in the morning and northbound in the evening.  But what is convenient for cars is inconvenient for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians have to wait for the queue of cars to pass, cyclists have to weave through traffic, joggers and runners have to breathe the fumes.

A Peaceful Park restored

We propose removing through motor traffic from the Outer Circle, while allowing access to residents and visitors. Noise and air pollution would drop, peace would be restored. Our proposal illustrates how this can be done with a few simple bollards.

CS 11 consultation

This consultation was published in March 2016. It’s proposal to close four gates into the outer circle will be a good start towards the removal of motor traffic from the Outer Circle. See a discussion of the consultation on CycleScape.

See report on demo in support of CS11.

TfL Report on CS-11 September 2016.

TfL’s decision as to how to proceed is expected end November 2016


10 thoughts on “A Traffic Free Regent’s Park

  1. I fully support this laudable campaign.

    The Outer and Inner Circles were never intended for motorised traffic and were certainly never developed with commuters in mind.

    Indeed the Royal Parks’ own July 2008 cycling policy document http://goo.gl/hJBPdu says: “The Royal Parks are managed for the enjoyment of public, balancing the needs of all our visitors with other duties such as those relating to wildlife, heritage and conservation. In the parkland and greenspaces pedestrians are given priority as they comprise the vast majority of park users. At the same time, we try and accommodate as wide a range of appropriate activities in the parks as we can. Cycling is one of the activities we support.”

    No where does this document mention any obligation to provide shortcuts for commuters. The Royal Parks seems to have taken this task onto self with no mandate for doing so from the actual users of the park.

    Good luck with your campaign. I hope all the numerous park users will get behind you and give you support. To have these roads traffic-free would be an enormous benefit to a huge number of users.

  2. 1. The spaces where you can exercise without traffic are far and few between. For Somebody based South of Euston Road in Kind Cross, Regents Park is the main green recreation space. Being a passionate cyclist and runner I very much enjoy motor traffic free access until 7 am. However it is not enough, especially in the winter months this forces exercisers to put up with runs and spins in the dark. This is a regrettable situation overdue a review for the needs of Londoners wishing to be enhance their lives through active life-styles.

    2. Regents Park whilst having implemented great transformations for lawn based team sports, an open athletic ground, and a tennis area, which are all well noted), but it could do much more to fulfill the needs of the North West / West Central London amateur and professional road cycle scene and people who run / jog the outer circular and calm the area for all users further. Richmond Park and Victoria Park ought to serve as templates in this case.
    What is needed by active users:
    – Ending fast car traffic (over 20 miles) that uses the outer circular as a cut through for North South / East – West connection
    – Ending parking and car chaos on the weekends by users
    – Removal of traffic lights due to the creation of slower traffic and safe zebra crossings
    – Extended hours of non motorized traffic beyond the current restrictions

    What may be needed by London Zoo and Regents Park Education. leisureArt Facilities:
    – delivery, residential, disability and taxi access
    – some parking

    a. Permanent 15 or 20 mile zone and extension of periods of through traffic entry restrictions possibly in line with the major opening hours of London Zoo and Regents Park based Institutes (road only open between 9.30-18.00), but allowing entry for residents and access only. Closing all but one entry point to public traffic, so that the circular can no longer be used as a N-S, E-W road.

    b. The outer circle to be permanently closed to through traffic and become a residents & access (incl. taxis and disability) only road restricted , without traffic lights (but with zebra crossings). Further calming could be provided through provision of new access to the parking site of London Zoo could be created from Prince Albert Road, if there was some will.

    I hope Royal Parks will listen to the voices and suggestions of this important campaign

  3. Fully behind this campaign and its aims. Why should one of the best parks in London be spoiled as a rat-run?

    Having looked at the proposals, I think realistically that proposal 2 is the only one that is practical (closing all four of the southern entrances). The reason for this is HGV access.

    I know from previous experience the Open Air Theatre have struggled to get HGVs into the park for set-building etc. Proposal 1 would leave only York Gate (which leads to the weight limited York Bridge) and the narrow Park Square entrances as routes to the Inner Circle. I’m sure the theatre would not be the only one affected. Proposal 2 allows access from Gloucester Gate to the whole park, which will likely be needed.

    Great research and proposals. I hope we can convince the Royal Parks to see sense!

  4. As a member of Islington Cycling Club, who frequently meet up and do laps in Regents Park, I fully support this campaign. The traffic in the Outer Circle is problematic and by reducing vehicle access to the park, the need for traffic lights would be removed. This would be of great benefit for those of us who like to cycle there.

  5. The proposals seem sound on the whole, taking into account the legitimate needs of road users other than cyclists. But freeing the Outer Circle from unneeded motor traffic lays bare a secondary issue, the differences between types of cyclists.

    Anybody who has ridden here in the last year or two will know that the Outer and Inner Circles are used by fast road bikers, including some organized squads. These ride faster, and in some cases much faster, than typical utility or commuter cyclists. The problem of a significant speed differential between types of traffic will therefore persist.

    If a 20 mph limit is applied (as seems likely if the general proposal goes forward), will it apply to bicycles also? This has been extensively discussed in relation to Richmond Park, with no definitive answer so far as I know.

    It is certainly possible to exceed 20 mph on a bicycle in the Outer Circle, despite its being flatter than Richmond Park; my own club, Central London CTC, touching 30 mph at times (and we are far from being the quickest). Fewer vehicles, and the suppression of traffic lights, mean more riders are likely to do so.

    What does the campaign think about this? And, importantly, what do the police think about this? Accidents between bike riders can, and do happen here.

  6. This is a great idea! It would be fantastic, if Regent’s park was free of motorised traffic. Anyone visiting the park before 6:30am knows how beautiful and tranquil it is with the gates closed.

    The proposal looks well prepared and doable. The most important thing is to block through traffic. Possibly tidying up a bit the parking spots too. If such a thing was successful, other measures such as speed limit, would probably be redundant.

    Interestingly CS11 looks like it will include the west side of the outer circle. This proposal could leverage this. For example part of CS1 planning includes blocking through traffic for cars while permitting for cyclists in at least one road (Pitfield St).

  7. I have mixed feelings about this, I agree with the people above that the park should be for pedestrians, runners, cyclists and wildlife and such but I don’t agree with the extra pollution that will be produced from forcing essential traffic such as delivery vehicles to go the long way round.

  8. Sadly, Royal Parks are acting in the same blindly stupid manner as they do in Richmond Park. That is a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, but none of that stops them allowing the roads in RP to be used as commuter rat runs. They’re totally in hock to the roads lobby, and are actually an utter disgrace.

  9. Richard, in this case, Royal Parks support the consultation on CS11 which contains the proposal to close four gates apart from 11 am to 3pm, which is at least a start (it will prevent commuter rat runs) that could be built on. We would prefer a full time closure and will say so in our response to the consultation. Our demo on Friday was ro get people to reply in favour of the consultation and hence defeat the motorheads who want to be allowed to drive anywhere and everywhere.

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