Ahead of her highly anticipated appearance at our National Walking Summit in Manchester, Paralympian and Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region, Dame Sarah Storey, outlines why embedding walking in transport planning benefits us all - and how her team is planning to do it.
If we value the short journeys being done on foot or by bike, then we will ease the demand for space on our roads as people can choose to leave their cars
When Mayor Dan Jarvis appointed me as Active Travel Commissioner of the Sheffield City Region there was a blank slate from which to start shaping the future of walking and cycling.
Since then, we have been building our vision for what South Yorkshire’s 2040 Active Travel Network will look like. Our network will prioritise people over cars, will be convenient, connected, safe, and suitable for all.
To help us build our vision for the 2040 Network, we launched the SCR Active Travel Interactive Map. The map gives the public an opportunity share their experiences of walking and cycling in the places they live, work and spend their leisure time.
Whether it is a poorly designed crossing point, a dangerous road with speeding traffic, an unnecessary narrowing of the pavement, or a place where parked cars are causing danger, every comment is valuable in helping to shape the future of the walking and cycling in South Yorkshire.
We also want to hear about places with good infrastructure and if there is an example of where something has been designed well.
To build our network, we need a sustained and consistent funding stream that prioritises walking and cycling. There needs to be an acceptance that planning for the roads means planning for all users - regardless of the purpose of the journey.
Across the country millions of journeys of less than 1km are completed each day.
Each of these could be easily done within 15 minutes on foot or by bike. If we value these short journeys, then we will ease the demand for space on our roads as people can choose to leave their cars.
For too long the needs of people on foot or on bikes have been overlooked in favour of creating quicker journey times for private cars. We must stop seeing pedestrians as an inconvenience and car must no longer be king.
By planning for people, not cars, our roads will become less polluted, our population will become healthier and our streets will become much more pleasant places to be.