Living Streets publishes wish list for the Environment Department

March 16th, 2009 by Pat Wisher

The pedestrian safety group, Living Streets (formerly STEPS), has presented the States of Guernsey Environment Department with a Walking Wish List – eight pointers for increasing walking in Guernsey.

“Putting People First” is the Living Streets slogan – which means redressing the balance between people and traffic. Potential walkers are deterred by heavy traffic, pollution, narrow footpaths and the lack of crossings. Yet improvements to the walking environment are generally cheaper than other traffic related improvements.

Given more priority, it should be easy to increase walking in a small island like Guernsey.

Living Streets would like:

1. At least 10% of the annual traffic budget to be invested in walking initiatives, and targets to be set for the growth of walking.

2. Policies that give pedestrians a fairer share of the road space – for example more one way systems (with cycle contra flows) in roads with high footfall and where vehicles constantly drive on the pavement.

3. Walking to be marketed as a social, healthy, green and cheap option for short journeys to and from work or school.

4. Every opportunity to be taken to develop integrated walking networks, linking residential areas with shops, public transport and schools.

5. Investment in public rights of way – working with land owners.

6. The balance to be redressed in our town centre between car parking spaces and open leisure areas where people can walk, relax & socialise.

7. More pedestrian crossings where pedestrians want to cross.

8. Planners to ensure that major developments and community facilities are convenient for walkers.

Chair of Living Streets, Deputy John Gollop said “Living Streets was dismayed when paid parking was rejected in the States. Increasing the price of petrol will do nothing to encourage commuters to consider alternatives to the sole occupancy car drive to work. The dangers from the volume of traffic in the island is the main reason why so few people walk.”

We believe that the Environment Department should review its policies for their impacts on walking and their ability to encourage more people to walk.

Walking should be a viable alternative for short journeys to work or to school. At the moment potential walkers are deterred by heavy traffic, pollution, narrow footpaths & the lack of crossings.

“Last year during Walk to Work Week we featured a young islander whose commute from St. Jacques used to take 45 minutes by car (by the time she had negotiated the traffic, found a parking space and walked back to her workplace). She now walks to work and it takes just 20 minutes.”

We would like the Environment Department to market walking as a social, healthy, green and cheap option. With concern about rising obesity levels, health professionals have emphasized the need to incorporate exercise into our daily routine – and what better way than the journey to and from work or school?

In April 2008 STEPS changed its name to Living Streets, Guernsey. With a new name we feel it is time to align ourselves even more closely to the Living Streets UK’s Manifesto and also to re-emphasise the needs of pedestrians in Guernsey in order to encourage more islanders to walk.

The Living Streets UK Manifesto: What makes a living street?

1 Direct walking links to places people want to go

2 Clean and well maintained

3 Local shops and services within walking distance

4 Well lit and safe, day and night

5 Attractive and interesting design

6 Space to play and relax

7 Well designed, clutter free pavements

8 Places for people, not just traffic

9 Local people involved in decisions

10 Maps and signs to make it easy to walk

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