Rachel Maycock says it’s time for Cardiff Council to "put their money where their mouth is" so people can rely on safe walking options to get around the city.
Have your say on Cardiff's Budget
Living Streets expects Cardiff to use this next budget as an opportunity to prioritise walking and active travel in the city. For far too long we’ve seen walking routes fall into disrepair, at this time of year they are covered in leaves and ice. It’s time for that to change, so people can rely on safe walking options to get around the city.
As a capital city, Cardiff should be leading the way not falling behind.
The promise was made during the election that Cardiff would become a great “active travel city” and they would “invest in safer routes to our schools and ensure every school has an active travel plan for cycling and walking.”
Without being rude about it, now is the time for them to put the money where their mouth is!
What I’d like to see in this budget is as much funding, thought and energy going into our walking routes as for vehicle users.
A lot of thought and some interesting work is going on to improve the cycle routes, and I welcome that because so long as cyclists feel safe to cycle on the road – either because of slower speeds or segregated lanes – then they won’t be tempted to get onto the pavement where they cause a worry to pedestrians.
The vast majority of people who live, work and study in Cardiff travel, at least part of their everyday journeys, by foot. Most of us walk at some point, but as a group, pedestrians are not so vocal and certainly not as organised as those who campaign for better cycling facilities or demand our roads are maintained.
We called for a walking champion in County Hall, this can be someone who is already working on the issue but changing their focus so they can influence change around them. There used to be someone in Cabinet working specifically on active travel, but that post was scrapped. So while other city’s are appointing Commissioners to lead on active travel, Cardiff needs to demonstrate leadership on this too.
One of our ideas to make Cardiff a walking city is to introduce a Clean Air Zone or Smart Road pricing to disincentivise car use, but also raise funding for better alternatives to car use. That funding should be earmarked for top-notch walking and cycling routes and reliable and affordable public transport – none of which are realistic alternatives for people who use their cars at the moment.
Not all of the changes we’d like to see have to cost the Council money either because they shift priority over to pedestrians rather than require building new pavements. For example we all the main walking routes should prioritise walkers with shorter crossing waits, that is a technical change, not expensive at all.
Living Streets is now working with Cardiff to celebrate walking as part of Car Free Day in the city centre, we are also increasing walking in a handful of schools around the city with our WOW badge scheme, we also offer positive travel choices to busy parents with Park and Stride and Walking Zones schemes. We’d like to do much more of this so each and every school is an active travel school. We’ve still got a way to go for everyone to benefit from these schemes but the journey has begun.
On all the walking routes around homes, schools, GP surgeries and the local high streets it should be 20mph as standard so people feel safe. A city-wide approach to 20mph is going to be cheaper in the long-run than a piecemeal approach.
Our top five walking priorities for this budget
Living Streets want this budget to send a clear signal to people in Cardiff: we have a bright, active, walking future.