Barcelona: the walking city

by Rosalind Readhead, Ban Private Cars in London

Barcelona1Barcelona is blessed with amazing natural infrastructure: backed by mountains, flanked by two rivers and with a horizon stretching across the blue sea of the Mediterranean.

My wonderful guide, Carlos Orti of Barcelona Camina, took me up to the mountains by funicular train for a strategic view across the city.

Here we found locals picking the tender stems of wild asparagus. Whilst the foragers were picking out the delicate green shoots of spring, we were picking out the crucial points of infrastructure in the city. Continue reading “Barcelona: the walking city”

Expert body makes links between physical environment, activity and health

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence today published guidelines recommending that councils ensure footpaths and cycle routes are convenient, safe and attractive to use. Widening footpaths, repairing potholes and clearing pavement parking would mean improved routes for cyclists, pedestrians and other users, NICE says. It recommended that councils should restrict vehicle access, making more areas pedestrianised.

The Mail  reported criticisms of the recommendations by the Taxpayers Alliance and the IEA with the headline: ‘Now nannying health chiefs say that roads should be NARROWED or even closed to force motorists to walk more.’

Let walkers back in the City’s culture mile

I was pleased to read Sir Nicholas Kenyon’s and the City of London Corporation’s plans for the Culture Mile [“The Culture Mile that will transform arts in the City”, Comment, March 16].

These must surely include improving pedestrian routes — in a sense reinstating those lost when the Barbican was built. There are remarkable opportunities for establishing better links at ground level from the City to the complex: along Wood Street and past the former Cripplegate.

By the present Museum of London, hidden by raised walkways and a car park entrance, are the surviving, but neglected, ancient City walls, which should form part of a magnificent public space next to the new music centre.
David Harrison, London Living Streets

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Plans announced for Highbury Corner

TfL and Islington Council have announced their plans to transform Highbury Corner by changing the one-way roundabout into a two-way traffic system.

The proposed closure of the western side of the roundabout, together with a larger station square, would create a new public space. There are a number of changes following the last consultation.

Living Streets Walking Summit

The Living Streets annual Walking Summit was a huge success with lively discussion and inspirational presentations from speakers including:

  • Chris Boardman, former cycling world champion and Greater Manchester’s first walking and cycling commissioner;
  • Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner;
  • Pascal Smet, minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region for Mobility and Public Works;
  • Lucy Saunders, developer of the Healthy Streets approach;
  • Lynda Addison OBE, Chair CIHT Sustainable Transport panel
  • and London Living Streets’ Brenda Puech and David Harrison.

Recordings of the main sessions are available on the Living Streets website. More material will follow.

Draft National Planning Policy Framework endorses walking

This week Prime Minister, Theresa May, launched the new National Planning Policy Framework. The main focus is housing, but there is a welcome mention of active travel.

Paragraph 105 states that, forthwith, planning policies should “minimise the number and length of journeys needed for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities” and “provide for high-quality walking and cycling networks and supporting facilities such as cycle parking – drawing on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans”.

However, there are concerns that strategic plans could be weaker on health and wellbeing, and on adherence to the provisions of the Climate Act 2008.

You have until May 10 to respond.