Walk, don’t walk: London Living Streets letter in the Times

The following letter appeared in The Times, 2nd May 2018

‘One of the best ways of addressing childhood obesity (letter, May 1) is encouraging children to walk to school. It is particularly unfortunate that the transport secretary plans to make this less likely by forcing utilities to dig up pavements not roads (News, Apr 30), creating a “hostile environment” for pedestrians. Should he speak to the Department for Health?’

David Harrison, London Living Streets

Plans to make Oxford Street traffic-free halted by Westminster Council

The Evening Standard reports that Westminster’s cabinet member for Oxford Street, Daniel Astaire, has now told officials to stop working on the pedestrianisation plan for Oxford Street. At a full council meeting last week Mr Astaire said: “TfL and the Mayor are the main proponents of the changes to the street, but it belongs to the council and the decision rests with us.

Joe Irvin of Living Streets said

“Oxford Street has a horrendous casualty record and suffers illegal levels of air pollution. These problems will only be exacerbated with the additional 150,000 people expected to arrive via the new Elizabeth Line opening in December. We can’t afford to wait.

“We do not support any solution that simply pushes the problem onto neighbouring streets. That’s why from the start we have advocated for an area-wide approach that makes the whole area a safer and more pleasant place to walk, live and shop.

“Any delays to transforming Oxford Street will threaten the health and safety of everyone using London’s most iconic high street and the economic viability of the area.”

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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Hackney mayoral candidates to debate transport policies on 26th March

Prospective mayoral candidates will answer questions about transport, walking and cycling at the Better Hackney Hustings at Pembury Community Centre, Dalston Lane at 7pm on 26th March.

The event, organised by Hackney Living Streets and Hackney Cycling Campaign, will be chaired by Dr Rachel Aldred, reader in transport, University of Westminster.

This is a public meeting open to everyone. If you want to submit a question contact livingstreetslondon.hackney@yahoo.co.uk.

Hackney Living Streets has also produced a walking manifesto that sets out its vision and demands for a cleaner, greener, happier, healthier Hackney. This has been sent to all party leaders in the local election campaigns.