Living Streets, which originally campaigned for pedestrian crossings in the 1920s and zebra crossings in the 1950s, has marked its 90th anniversary by adding a splash of colour to the zebra crossing at Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station.

The walking charity was joined at the green zebra (19 November) by friends, supporters and partner organisations, including Chris Boardman MBE, British Cycling, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Cllr Angeliki Stogia - all of whom are right behind the ambitions they've set for their centenary.

One of Living Streets’ key ambitions is for a network of walking routes in every town and city. The charity has chosen Greater Manchester as the host of its commemorative zebra to celebrate the fantastic work going on across the region to create safe and attractive places for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle.


LS zebra

As part of the Walking and Cycling Alliance (WACA), Living Streets strives for a lower default speed limit of 20mph for roads in built up areas; a revision of the Highway Code to make it safer for people to walk and cycle; and a ban on pavement parking across the UK. Nick Chamberlin, Policy Manager and Julie Harrington, CEO of British Cycling were at the zebra to represent WACA at the launch.

Living Streets aims to have at least 55 per cent of primary age children walking to school by 2025. Pupils from The Cathedral School of St Peter and St John RC Primary School, Salford were at the launch to show what’s possible when investment is made in the walk to school. Thanks to funding from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the Cathedral School of St Peter and St John RC Primary School takes part in WOW - the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets. At the end of the last academic year, 56 per cent of pupils were walking to school with a total of 79 per cent of pupils using any active travel.

Greater Manchester was named as the host of Living Streets’ annual National Walking Summit 2020 at the official unveiling of the commemorative zebra. 

Chris Boardman MBE joined the charity as Living Streets and TfGM look ahead to the next ten years’ working together.

It’s proven that more walking improves quality of life, it’s that simple, which is why Greater Manchester is putting huge investments behind making it easier and more attractive, enabling people to get where they want go on foot. Zebra crossings are a simple and well recognised symbol that give people on foot priority, it’s also a British invention! We intend to expand their use and are currently researching their possible use at side roads, which is how the rest of the world uses these marks, to make local journeys such as the school run, safer and less stressful

Chris Boardman, MBE - Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester

Chris Boardman, MBE, Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Greater Manchester said:

“Hosting the National Walking Summit in 2020 is a testament to the region’s commitment to this, the most wonderfully simple form of transport. With the current development of the Bee Network, the UK’s largest cycling and walking network, underway we’re looking forward to welcoming decision makers and thought leaders to share our learning so far. Ultimately, we want to help make cities all across the UK fit for walking.”

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“We think of Living Streets as the people who brought you the zebra crossing. Walking is something people often take for granted. But safe and attractive streets are an essential ingredient in creating smarter modern cities, ensuring thriving neighbourhoods, tackling climate change and toxic air pollution, and improving everyone’s health.

“The green zebra at Piccadilly symbolises that we can walk our way to a better future. I’m excited that our next National Walking Summit will be held here in Greater Manchester.”

Network Rail kindly granted permission for the commemorative green zebra to be in place throughout November.