Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Mrs J Cuff (WTC 107)

  I understand that the Environment, Transport, and Regional Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has resolved to undertake an enquiry into Walking in Towns and Cities.

  I offer a few points which might encourage people to forsake their cars for short walks in towns and at the same time improve conditions for walkers.

    (a)  Improve crossing times for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings (this would slow down cars and make things easier for pedestrians).

    (b)  Pedestrianisation of selected streets (this would reduce motorised access and cut pollution).

    (c)  Enforcement of penalties for parking on the footway (this would make parking more difficult and walking easier).

    (d)  Traffic calming schemes (probably a deterrent to the motorist but a help to the pedestrian, who will no longer be threatened by speeding traffic).

  Other possible measures:

    (a)  Enforcement of penalties for obstruction of the footway by advertising boards.

    (b)  Highway signage should not obstruct the footway.

    (c)  Keep open traffic-free "ginnels" ie short cut-throughs to pubs, post offices, schools etc—but keep these well lit to allay fear of crime.

    (d)  Emphasis on the health promotion aspects of walking, making the point that you do not need to go on a nine mile ramble to derive health benefits from walking—a brisk 15 minute walk to the bus stop (or whatever) daily will do your heart a lot of good.

  Finally, I would like to make the point that I think local authorities would be much more likely to introduce measures to deter the use of cars in towns if the Government were to oblige out-of-town retail centres to charge for parking—in other words, there should be "a level playing field" so that local authorities are not forever fearful of customers deserting in-town shops for free and plentiful parking at out-of-town centres.

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