By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter
A road running along the south side of Hyde Park may be closed to vehicles permanently in a bid to reduce the number of motorists driving through the famous park.
The Royal Parks has opened a six-week consultation into whether to shut South Carriage Drive, which has historically only been closed to vehicles on Sundays, on a permanent basis.
The closure of the road to traffic was extended to include Saturdays in 2020, as part of a trial to cut vehicle numbers and improve the park experience for visitors.
This was then evolved further to temporarily cover seven-days-a-week after Transport for London (TfL) introduced a new cycle lane in Park Lane, which intersects with South Carriage Drive.
The Royal Parks, the charity which manages some of London’s most well-known green spaces, wrote on its consultation webpage that the move was intended “to address safety concerns between cars and cyclists,” and has been in place for more than three years.
It added the proposal to close South Carriage Drive to vehicles permanently was “to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists experience a safe and welcoming entrance to the park every day”.
The South Carriage Drive consultation runs until March 17. Respondents are able to register feedback online, or via face-to-face surveys around Hyde Park.
Darren Share, director of parks at The Royal Parks, said: “As custodians of Hyde Park, we have a duty of care to provide a safe space for all visitors.
“Following consultation on Saturday closures, we received significant feedback from consultees to request a permanent closure across all days of the week.
“Considering this, and the significant increase in cycle traffic now using the park, we felt it was only right to ask the community for their views.”
TfL made the Park Lane cycle lane permanent last year, a move welcomed by groups including the London Cycling Campaign. Others, such as the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, however, claimed it had worsened congestion in the area.
Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate for London Mayor, has said she will remove it if elected.
Pictured top: The Royal Parks is running its consultation on South Carriage Drive until March 17 (Picture: The Royal Parks)
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