In 1854, nine years before the arrival of the Underground, 400,000 people walked into the City of London every day. These walks weren’t the final leg of a journey from a mainline station, or within the centre: they were the entire commute.
Londoners still love to walk, of course (two thirds of all trips are walked in the Square mile). But we walk much shorter distances than our predecessors. Currently only 5% of commuter travel to the City is on foot. The average walk-all-the-way trip across London is less than 1km, according to TfL’s Strategic Walking Analysis.
It is clear that the benefits of walking are huge. Walking as part of regular travel is the best way to stay healthy. Switching from motorised travel to walking reduces road danger, air pollution and noise. If more people walk and consequently fewer drive, the result is streets and neighbourhoods that are more pleasant and connected communities.
By David Harrison, vice-chair, London Living Streets
Remember the tube strike in 2017? Full buses and angry and bewildered passengers in long queues at bus stops. I don’t blame them, but many seemed unaware that they could have easily walked to their destination.
Important locations in Central London are often separated by just a short walk. Consider the area round Covent Garden: it’s a 15-minute walk for commuters from Waterloo Station to Covent Garden; about the same for culture vultures to get from the National Gallery to the British Museum along St Martin’s Lane. Continue reading “Introducing the Central London Walking Network”
In the rush to foster demand for electric vehicles (EV), London is letting bulky EV charging points (EVCPs) clutter its footways. These installations take up scarce space and make life more difficult for pedestrians, especially those with visual impairments, wheelchair users, and parents and carers pushing buggies.
These installations are also inconsistent with the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategythat requires a major modal shift to walking, cycling and public transport by reducing the use of motor vehicles, creating Healthy Streets, improving public realm and reallocating space for more efficient, active travel modes. Placing EV infrastructure on pavements is a move in the opposite direction.
By Emma Griffin, vice-chair, London Living Streets
There’s a sense of giddiness in current plans for electric vehicles. Government’s Road to Zero strategy talks excitedly about an “electric vehicle revolution”, “all new cars and vans [being] effectively zero emission by 2040”, a “massive roll-out of infrastructure” and the “biggest technology advancement to hit UK roads since the invention of the combustion engine”.
These aspirations were put under closer scrutiny at a conference organised by London Living Streets and Urban Design Group on October 11.
One of the many noteworthy announcements from Hackney’s seventh cycling conference was that next year it will add ‘walking’ to its title.
This is welcome, not simply because this was one of Hackney Living Street’s demands in its campaign manifesto for the May elections, but also because it reflects an understanding that cycling is just one ingredient in a liveable city. If cities are for everyone — and not just motorists — they must encourage walking and living as well as cycling. Or as Andreas Røhl, Gehl Architects’ biking expert put it, ‘cycling isn’t the goal, it’s a means to an end’.