LONDON LAUNCHES PLAN TO BECOME 'WORLD'S MOST WALKABLE CITY'
The Walking Action Plan, which is being supported by Public Health England, aims to encourage a million additional walking trips each day by 2024.
Research by the Greater London Authority suggests that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save the NHS £1.7bn in treatment costs over the next 25 years. This includes 85,000 fewer people with hip fractures, 19,200 suffering from dementia and 18,800 suffering from depression. Currently, only 34% of Londoners walk or cycle for 20 minutes a day.
Under the new plan, streets will be designed, built and managed to encourage walking, with better signposting and maps, as well as new, wider pedestrian crossings.
Walking will also be prioritised in new infrastructure schemes through London’s first-ever design guidance covering pedestrians, set to be introduced in 2019.
In addition, the number of Gold-accredited STARS schools, which champion healthy routes to school, will be doubled and there will be support for timed road closures, car-free days and 20mph speed limits around schools.
The walking action plan also includes the rollout of new traffic signal technology to make it easier and safer to cross roads, alongside the creation of “Active Travel Hubs” at London Underground stations to make it easier to walk as part of an onward journey.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has set a target of increasing the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport from 63% of journeys to 80% by 2041. Around £2.2bn is being invested in streets across the capital to make them better for walking and cycling, and to improve air quality.
The Walking Action Plan is being introduced alongside measures to tackle air pollution, including the launch of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone introducing minimum emission standards for vehicles, spending £300m on upgrading London’s bus fleet and ensuring Transport for London no longer licenses diesel taxis from 2019.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “By making it easier for Londoners to leave their cars at home and walk instead, it will tackle the air pollution crisis and reduce congestion as London’s population continues to grow. It will have a truly transformational impact on our city.”
London’s population is forecast to grow by 10.8m by 2041, creating an additional 5m journeys every day.
Source: Pbc Today
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