In October 2020 we launched our new five-year strategy: Walk with Us. This is a bold and ambitious new strategy set against the backdrop of COVID-19.
We have three key outcomes to be reached by 2025:
Our Head of Policy and Communications, Tanya Braun, looks in more detail at each of these outcomes, this time on BETTER STREETS.
Having represented pedestrians for over 90 years, Living Streets is an expert on how street environment can help ensure the safety of those walking and encourage further walking behaviour. We want better streets so the walking environment is improved for all, which will further encourage people to walk local, everyday journeys.
Designing better streets must involve consulting with people who use them. We have a rich history in community consultation with our Community Street Audits, on-street surveys and School Route Audits.
The vast majority want better streets where they live, work and socialise. Securing support for walking infrastructure from local residents is vital to making change happen. Many local authorities rely on residents’ support to make the business case for better streets funding.
Recently, we worked in partnership with consultancy Steer to deliver street audits as part of the West Yorkshire LCWIP development contract. We worked closely with Steer, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the five local authorities to undertake stakeholder street reviews alongside expert audits by our Principal Technical Advisor. We produced a bespoke, tailored report for each local authority, which then fed into Steer’s final LCWIP reports.
London Borough of Redbridge commissioned our team of community engagement and technical specialists to engage a wide range of community stakeholders including residents, business owners, elected members and local authority officers. We carried out Community Street Audits and produced recommendations to inform public realm transformation. Our engagement work supported the design process by providing an understanding of the barriers faced by people walking; and made specific recommendations to overcome them.
Our work will help bring about big changes for walking around the Ilford Western Gyratory area and will be a key step in making Ilford a better connected, healthier, greener place to live, work and visit.
Living Streets is part of the strategic support consortium supporting the DfT’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) project. These plans aim to increase walking and cycling by helping local councils understand how people walk and cycle on their streets and set priorities for improving walking and cycling infrastructure.
In March 2020, the second phase of LCWIP, due to run until May 2021, was announced. LCWIP 2 will provide support to participating local transport authorities for everything from route planning to scheme design.
We can support local authorities to deliver their Active Travel Fund plans. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, School Streets and Active Travel Air Quality Zones are all programmes we have history of involvement in. We hope more of these schemes will be rolled out across the UK as further LAs invest in them.
It’s fantastic that we now have a Local Transport Note (LTN) for cycling (LTN1/20) but we would like to see one created for walking too. It’s important to not only give advice to Local Authorities when they are looking at planning new developments, but also to raise the profile and importance of walking.
So many transport projects still prioritise the motor vehicle. But walking provides incredible value for money and much greater benefits than road projects. It’s the cleanest, greenest transport there is and the health benefits through people walking more would be sure to save the UK (via the NHS) millions of pounds each year.
We want to see a Local Transport Note focused on standards for walking which (like the LTN1/20) means new developments must be built to high standards. There is a growing consensus around the huge contribution walking is making and a big opportunity to maximise its potential.
Through our policy and campaigning work we highlight to decision makers the changes that should be made to street infrastructure to benefit people from all walks of life. Pavement Parking particularly affects the old and vulnerable and we have been making the case for a ban. Changes to the Highway Code will see governments place walking at the top of the travel hierarchy. Work to implement these over the coming years is going to be important in prioritising better streets for walking.
We amplify our voice further through our membership of the Walking and Cycling Alliance. Our recent guide to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods shows how we can collectively raise the profile of better streets for walking and cycling.