Liverpool’s car free day ends in DISASTER and leads to traffic jams across the city

City’s car free day ends in DISASTER as RAIN puts people off cycling and ‘confusing signage’ and diversions lead to traffic jams across the town

  • Council closed part of The Strand to traffic yesterday for World Car Free Day
  • Images and video of long tailbacks caused by the closure were posted online
  • Cycling campaigner Andi Armitage described it as, ‘How not to do car free day’

Liverpool’s car free day has been branded a ‘disaster’ after heavy rain put people off cycling and ‘confusing signage’ and diversions lead to traffic jams.

The city council closed a large part of The Strand to traffic yesterday morning as part of World Car Free Day, with the planned closure due to continue until 4pm with a range of activities set to take place on the road. 

The closure of the road – from Chapel Street to James Street – was designed to encourage people to ditch their cars and find alternative ways to travel, but it wasn’t long before large queues of traffic began to build up around the city centre. 

Images and video of the long tailbacks were posted on social media.

The city council closed a large part of The Strand to traffic yesterday morning as part of World Car Free Day. It wasn't long before traffic began to build up

The city council closed a large part of The Strand to traffic yesterday morning as part of World Car Free Day. It wasn’t long before traffic began to build up 

Images and video of the long tailbacks were posted on social media by frustrated drivers

Images and video of the long tailbacks were posted on social media by frustrated drivers  

One image, shared by Tommy Joseph, showed traffic at a standstill on Tithebarn Street. He tweeted: ‘Surely this many cars being idle with their engines running is having the opposite effect of improving the cities [sic)] air quality?’

Another Twitter user, Jonny, shared a video of a huge queue of cars on the southern part of The Strand. 

He said: ‘Car free day’ on the main road through the city. Sounds great 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.’

Others complained about a lack of signage or consultation for the closure. Many who have campaigned for fewer cars on the road felt the results of the day could have negative future consequences.

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

Fellow campaigner Mounsey added: ‘Nobody, nobody at all will support similar action in future years. Rather than produce something good for today, it’s easier to produce something utterly rubbish. There will be nothing for car free day next year.’

The issues were blamed on 'confusing' signage and heavy rain putting people off cycling

The issues were blamed on ‘confusing’ signage and heavy rain putting people off cycling 

Cycling campaigner Andi Armitage said: 'How not to do car free day. Rather than virtue signal and focus on the optics, provide albeit temporary alternatives to using a car'

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

With complaints continuing to flood in and the poor weather getting in the way of planned activities on The Strand, the road was reopened just after 2pm, nearly two hours earlier than intended. 

Twitter user Liverpool Wanderer caught the moment the closure ended, branding Liverpool’s World Car Free Day a ‘disaster’.

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: ‘Unfortunately due to the heavy rain many of the Car Free Day activities planned to take place on The Strand had to be called off. 

‘As a result, the decision was taken to finish the programme earlier and to reopen The Strand.

‘We’d like to thank everyone who has supported today’s programme. We know a closure like this will cause some disruption, but the council is committed to improving the air quality of the city and statements like today are a way to make people think about how they travel.

‘The council is also investing in more infrastructure be it cycling lanes to a new e-bike service to provide more opportunities for people to make that step towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier environment.’

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: 'Unfortunately due to the heavy rain many of the Car Free Day activities planned to take place on The Strand had to be called off'

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: ‘Unfortunately due to the heavy rain many of the Car Free Day activities planned to take place on The Strand had to be called off’

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