TfL gets behind London play streets
18 July 2018 I London Play
Residents in selected London boroughs are being offered support and freebies to transform their streets into temporary play zones on London Car Free Day on 22 September.
Supported by Transport for London, London Play is offering residents in selected boroughs the chance to run Play Street taster sessions and ‘reimagine’ their streets without cars for a few hours. The first 20 streets to apply will get a free volleyball net and giant beach balls - or a small fleet of spacehoppers(!) to get the action started.
Play streets, where roads are regularly shut to traffic for a few hours each week or month, are already popular across the capital. But they offer more than just a safe space for children to play outside with their friends, explains London Play’s Fiona Sutherland. “Children playing give adult neighbours the perfect excuse to step outside their front door and talk to each other,” she says. “People who live on play streets say that they feel friendlier and safer as a result. We are confident most will love playing out – but World Car Free Day is a great opportunity to try before deciding whether to make it a regular event.”
Christina Calderato, Head of Delivery Planning at Transport for London, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with London Play to transform residential streets into play zones for World Car Free Day this September. We hope that in doing so, people will start to view streets as valuable public spaces, where you can also meet, play, walk and cycle. By creating Healthy Streets, we aim to improve the quality of life for everyone in London.”
Announcing his support for the initiative, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “We need to empower communities to shape their local streets. I am a great supporter of Play Streets, of which there are now many across London, and have asked TfL to explore with London Play the possibility of organising these as one big celebration of street play under the banner of Car Free Day 2018.”
TfL and London Play are hoping that up to 50 streets across the capital will apply between now and mid-August, in time for the September event. Unlike a street party, play streets require very little organisation – there is no need to plan activities, food or music. Providing there are adults to stand at the road closure points to deal with motorists, the newly liberated space in the middle of the road is all the enticement children need to get out bikes and scooters and chalks and claim it as their own, says Fiona. “And where they lead, their parents and other neighbours will follow.”
In addition to the volleyball net or spacehoppers, all residents who sign up to run a Play Street taster on World Car Free Day will be entered into a prize draw to win a free day on-street Go Kart building workshop, worth £600 – to build the ultimate in low emissions vehicles.
Anyone interested in going Car Free on their street in September should get in touch with London Play as soon as possible and ideally before August 6th via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0203 384 8513.