World Car Free Day: Petrol station transformed into cycling ‘oasis’ by climate charity

“In central London, there are very few places where it is quicker to go by car than to cycle.”

A central London petrol station was transformed into a “cycling oasis” by a climate charity to mark World Car Free Day and show commuters what the future of green transport could be.

Eco action group Possible and bike manufacturer Brompton teamed up to transform the filling station, between Borough Road and Elephant and Castle into a city cyclist’s haven.

The event, held on Thursday, September 22, was aimed at encouraging Londoners to question how to reshape urban spaces to support the reduction of carbon emissions.

Brompton Bikes and climate charity Possible turned a petrol station into a cycling oasis. Photo: LondonWorld

Hirra Khan-Adeogun, from Possible, said: “We’re campaigning for a zero carbon city built by and for everyone and in particular a city that is cleaner, greener and safer for all.”

Julian Scriven, from Brompton Bike Hire, said: “What’s really important is that we encourage people to use the most sustainable mode of transport for the journey they are taking.

“In central London, there are very few places where it is quicker to go by car than to cycle.”

And Will Butler-Adams, Brompton Bicycle chief executive, said: “We hope that turning a dilapidated old petrol station into a green transport hub will show people what’s possible when it comes to their own perception of what cities are for.”

Hirra Khan-Adeogun from Possible. Photo: LondonWorld

The petrol station featured bike and e-bike test rides, a hire dock, a climate consultation station, refreshments for morning commuters, and alcohol free beer in the evening.

And the 24-hour project also included artwork and green space for the local community.

Ms Khan-Adeogun added: “‘’So much of our public space is dominated by private cars and we all deserve better.

“We are bringing together a vision for what our cities could look like without cars.”

Green spaces were brought into the petrol station. Photo: LondonWorld

She added: “We are hoping with fewer cars on the road we can breathe cleaner air and have the sounds of human life around us rather than loads of traffic and of course fight the climate crisis.

‘’Taking over a petrol station will help people envision a bold alternative to the status quo, showing that space in cities can put people before cars and that doing so benefits us all.”

It comes as data from the Department for Transport (DfT) shows a 47% surge in weekday cycling trips since petrol prices began escalating in March, according to Cycling UK.

While Brompton Bike Hire recently announced new prices, with bikes available for £5 a day.

Brompton Bike Hire is encouraging people to do more cycling in London. Photo: LondonWorld

Mr Butler-Adams added: “For too long, our cities have been dominated by the most inefficient mode of transport - the private car.

“At Brompton, we have long sought to highlight the benefits that increased levels of cycling and walking would bring to society.

“What better way to do that, than to totally re-imagine a space formerly used as a petrol station. Our cities have changed and are continuing to change.

“We also hope that this inspires people to ask more from politicians, and expect better from our streets than the current high levels of traffic and toxic air pollution.”

And Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner for London, said: “With the realities of the impacts of climate change becoming ever clearer, it has never been more important to re-imagine how we move around our cities.

“Car Free Day gives us an opportunity to do just that, and experience streets which prioritise people over cars.

“I’m delighted to be at Brompton’s vision for the future on Car Free Day, thinking about the potential for other spaces across London to be like this.’’