The next London Mayor should champion the capital’s pedestrians by improving road crossings, funding more “low traffic” neighbourhood schemes and making it easier for children and family members to walk to school, according to a leading campaign group.
The London branch of Living Streets, a UK charity that encourages people to walk everyday journeys, has made the call in its Manifesto For Walking aimed at influencing candidates for the London Mayor election on 7 May.
The document also supports the creation of what it calls a Central London walking network, which could be replicated in other town centres in the capital, as well as calling for measures to reduce private motor vehicle use to help tackle the climate change.
Living Streets argues that by investing in street improvements and the public transport network, the next Mayor can simultaneously “cut congestion, reduce air pollution and ensure walking is easy and safe”.
Pointing out that walking is “often overlooked” in debates about environmental, public health and road safety issues, the manifesto highlights that pedestrians have been accounting for more than half of London’s street fatalities and more than one third of its serious injures in recent years, with “over 1,350 pedestrians killed or seriously injured” on London’s roads in 2018, and that poor equality is said to contribute to over 9,000 premature deaths a year while a large minority of Londoners appear not to attain “recommended physical activity levels”.
The charity says there should be a pedestrian crossing at every signalised road junction, recognising that the bulk of deaths and serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists occur at junctions. It claims that “one in seven London crossings are out of date” in that they no longer meet Transport for London standards and urges an urgent audit of crossings, in line with the “vision zero” target set by Sadiq Khan as part of TfL’s strategy for reducing road danger.
Low traffic neighbourhoods are described as “networks of quieter streets where through traffic is filtered out and children play out, air pollution is lower and walking and cycling are the natural choice of everyday journeys” which the next Mayor should “continue to invest in” on a comprehensive scale.
On air pollution, Living Streets says car, van, private hire and taxi journeys should be brought down by “and accelerated rate” of 2o per cent by 2024 compared with the present Mayor’s target of 12 per cent by that time and says “radical change” is needed to encourage more people to move around by foot and by bicycle and public transport. More controlled car vehicle parking zones and higher parking charges are recommended along with preparations for “next generation road pricing” by the end of the next mayoral term.
Walking routes to school should be improved to encourage more travelling to and from them by foot, with better lighting and street management along with a well-enforced “default 20 mph limit” on vehicle speeds. Walking networks set up outside of Central London should be focus on “the moat deprived areas”, the manifesto says.
Read the full Living Streets London 2020 manifesto here.
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