We’ve teamed up with London Cycling Campaign to support Healthy Streets in London.
There’s a rising idea in London’s corridors of power – and it’s a good one. “Healthy Streets” is a term that’s been coined at TfL, and it’s an idea that both London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets endorse - with both organisations working together and pooling resources to make sure as many London streets are “Healthy Streets” as possible.
The transport system in London plays a vital role in people’s health by enabling them to be physically active through everyday walking and cycling. It has been estimated that if Londoners swapped motorised modes for walking and cycling short journeys, this would deliver 60,000 years worth of health benefits from physical activity each year. (Pic by L Saunders)
London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets are working together and pooling resources to make sure as many London streets are “Healthy Streets” as possible.
TfL has already signed up to “quantify and where possible monetise the health impacts of… projects and policies” by 2017. This means that when designing new schemes, TfL will assess the economic impact of health benefits as well as congestion and collisions. The result of this could revolutionise the type of schemes that come forward, because health impacts tend to far outweigh all other considerations when measured economically.
This should make active travel schemes that boost cycling and walking numbers, far easier to get through the TfL system – and conversely road-building, motor vehicle-trip inducing schemes harder. By taking the Healthy Streets approach the new administration is demonstrating that they will be going a step further, considering the whole street from building line to building line to ensure better outcomes for people.
Healthy Streets as an approach is gaining serious traction not just with TfL but the London Assembly and Mayor’s office. We understand the new Mayoral Deputy for Transport, Val Shawcross is keen to drive forward the idea and we’re hopeful that the new Walking and Cycling Commissioner will get behind it too. Schemes that boost the health of a street by enabling more to walk and cycle are a win-win for cycling and walking campaigners and the Mayor.
Everyone walks, and there is much common ground between pedestrian advocacy (Living Streets) and cycling advocacy (London Cycling Campaign). We share similar concerns on many issues – from where space should be reallocated from, to whom should get priority at crossings, to how it’s vital to tackle car dominance.
Conflicts between people walking and cycling are a cause for concern for both organisations – and it’s in all of our interests to design them out or mitigate them where possible. But it is motor vehicle speeds, volume and interaction with vulnerable road users that are the main concern for both organisations and that’s why we’re endorsing the Healthy Streets approach.
If you'd like to get more involved and campaign for Healthy Streets in London, why not join our London Living Streets Group? Find out more about the London Living Streets Group.