Leighton Linslade Living Streets is a group run by local volunteers, who have a keen interest in making walking, cycling and even scooting the easiest, simplest, and safest choice to get around town for short journeys.
Leighton Buzzard and Linslade is a traditional market town in Bedfordshire with a High Street which still retains many historic buildings, narrow alley ways and the character of its long history. Early photo’s from the 19th century show the Market Square during the traditional Tuesday market day, bustling with activity, people sharing the High Street with livestock and local goods. During these times, the only traffic that would travel along the High Street was the Horse and Cart.
Sadly, in the past hundred years the motor car took over the town centre, pushing pedestrians to the crowded pavements, unlike centuries past where they could linger in the town’s most valuable space as long as they liked. Changes to the set up of the High Street in the 1960’s reduced some traffic, but still the High Street resembled a car park, with cars and buses taking priority over pedestrians.
The lockdown following the COVID-19 Pandemic came as a stark reminder that our local streets can be safer and more enjoyable space, if only we can reduce the number of cars to enable the local roads to be more enjoyable for walking and cycling. Many of us who enjoyed long walks or cycled with the family in the summer of 2020, were sadly put off again once we returned to our motor cars later in the year.
The pedestrianisation of the High Street in the Summer 2020 introduced a more continental café culture, with many enjoying sitting in the High Street without the addition of diesel fumes and engine noise. For too long the needs of the driver have been put above local people.
An increasing number of us visit the high street by walking and cycling, but many sadly still prefer to drive creating traffic jams that stretch across town, for example on Saturday mornings. Would more of those who currently drive, leave their cars at home if they felt there was a safe and more attractive route to get there?
Living Streets’ own research* for example shows that shoppers who walk to the high street not only visit more often, but they also spend more time there and in the long term, spend more money there.
Please support us to ensure that Leighton Buzzard becomes a more attractive place to walk and cycle, reducing pollution, improving the environment and helping business in the High Street.
Leighton Linslade Living Streets initial aims will include: