Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Living Streets Walking Summit March 2018

The main themes of the day were:

·       The benefits of walking: health, social cohesion, economic, environmental
·       How to make London into a great walking place as currently there is a gross misallocation of space with overcrowded streets. Cross Rail bringing more people in, London made of medieval streets and large 19thcentury created streets. 
·       How to make walking more compelling – artwork, landscape, views, air quality, sense of community street events, using redundant spaces.
·       Need for walking network, joined up routes to reduce short tube journeys, pressure off public transport. Review of pedestrian crossings, improved timings for pedestrians on crossings, diagonal crossings. Walking improvements never become obsolete, unlike docking bikes v dockless bikes for example.
·       Make environments attractive to encourage active travel. Use technology, data i.e. Citymapper. Smart streets, using technology to manage traffic flows, looking at innovation. Improve Google maps to include improved walking/cycling routes. 
·       Need business engagement (Camden High Line and Walk Elephant campaign has been backed by local business). 
·       20mph speed limit to be enforced properly. 
·       Looking at congestion charging 24/7/surcharge after 6pm or user charging.
·       Schools – Living Streets walk to school, Sports premium funding (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pe-and-sport-premium-funding-allocations-for-2017-to-2018) can be used for active travel. Close school streets before and after school. Bridge between school travel and policy makers. School Travel Plans treated as tick boxes. There is a need to change hearts and minds and get parents and governors more involved. 
·       Children – Street play in residential and on school streets, playing out, temporary play street orders. Design into streets?
·       Need to plan for the future. Planning framework for London healthy streets is now embedded. Review schemes that are in the pipeline to improve sustainable travel. Incremental benefits of lots of small schemes. Not to think of London as a single city but in zones as there are different issues with central, inner and outer London.  
·       Local Authorities have a key role in local walking and cycling plans as Government funding is directed to LAs. Need to consult with much wider communities as poorer communities tend to get the worse deal. LAs should do public engagement and not just consultations. 
·       Looking at urban development to ensure walking and cycling is incorporated in planning. If you want a modal shift you need logical standards. Instead of predicting what traffic needs, envision and validate new modes – walking as a core of transport mode be built into all planning policies and in infrastructure and neighbourhood plans (most developments of last 10 years have taken no account of modal shift). New buildings not to have excessive parking and to have bike parking as planning regulation.
·       How can citizens be involved in travel planning? Plans costing over £200,000, must be published with Healthy Streets checklist. Campaigning needs to be active, rigorous and persistent; important to be active on social media. Pick priorities - physical activity, road traffic injuries, air quality, noise and severance, and then frame these priorities. 
·       Accessibility and fairness, everyone should be able to access streets. Safety is paramount as pedestrian accidents are increasing.
·       Walking cities – a European perspective. Pascal Smet, Brussels Minister, spoke about walking and cycling improvements in Brussels and how the vision was sold with the main objective of improving quality of life and air. Interaction between people in cities is important, if we give cities away to cars we destroy neighbourhoods. Brussels on foot app, useful tool. During the consultation periods, there was a website showing photographs of existing areas with an overlay showing the new design (before and after), this was a very powerful tool to win hearts and minds.
·       Car lobby in EU still very strong, we need more sustainable travel activists, very important to instigate change. Politicians rely on votes, lobby fast as car lobby gets in very quickly. 
·      Generational issue, 17 to 34 not tied to cars, owning a car is something of the past, Smet thought cars will be shared electric vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years in cities.