Liverpool’s ‘Car Free Day’ ends in disaster following severe traffic jams
Liverpool’s ‘Car Free Day’ ends in disaster following severe traffic jams

Liverpool’s ‘Car Free Day’ ends in disaster following severe traffic jams

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Council forced to cancel ‘car-free day’ after causing severe traffic jams (Image: Liverpool Echo)

A ‘car-free day’ in Liverpool has been branded a ‘disaster’ and was forced to end early amid chaos, congestion and bad weather in the city centre.

The city council closed most of The Strand yesterday in a bid to encourage people to find alternative ways to travel around town.

The planned shutdown will continue until 4pm, with various activities set to take place on the street.

But it wasn’t long before trouble started to arise when huge queues of traffic began to pile up around the city center, bringing the whole place to a halt as vehicles were diverted from the waterfront.

One image of a traffic jam, shared on Twitter by Tommy Joseph, shows the trail of a traffic jam on Tithebarn Street.

He tweeted: ‘Surely lots of idle cars with their engines running have the opposite effect on improving city air quality?’

Another Twitter user, Jonny, shared a video of the huge queue of cars south of The Strand. He said: ‘”Car free day” on the main road through town. Sounds good on paper. Of course I want better air.

‘But the road to hell is paved with good intentions; and the execution and unintended consequences are dire.’

Council officials finally decided to cancel the event and reopened the road which was closed at around 2pm.

The council later tweeted a statement thanking people for their ‘patience’ amid closed roads and bad weather.

Cycling campaigner Andi Armitage said: ‘How not to have a car-free day. Rather than signal virtue and focus on optics, provide a temporary alternative to using a car.’

Mounsey’s campaign partner added: ‘No one, no one will support similar actions in the years to come. Rather than producing something good for today, it is easier to produce something completely rubbish. There won’t be anything for a car-free day next year.’

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: “Unfortunately due to heavy rain, many Car Free Day activities planned to take place at The Strand have had to be cancelled. As a result, the decision was taken to finish the program early and reopen The Strand.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported today’s program. We know a shutdown like this will cause some disruption, but the council is committed to improving the city’s air quality and statements like today’s are a way to get people thinking about the way they travel.

‘The board is also investing in more infrastructure from cycling trails to new e-bike services to provide more opportunities for people to make steps towards healthier lifestyles and a healthier environment.’

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