Author: Robert Molteno, Secretary
The news broke in the Evening Standard on Friday, 18 February. After months of waiting for details of the Mayor’s long promised ‘2011 — Year of Walking’, a spokesman announced that the whole idea had been scrapped.
It was supposed to be a significant follow-up to 2010’s Year of Cycling. This had seen the very successful and welcome introduction of ‘Boris’s bikes’ in Central London and the unveiling – painting might be a more accurate word – of London’s first two cycle ‘super-highways’. Now, for the first time, the Year of Walking promised the pedestrian serious acknowledgement of their role as users of the streets as well. After all, we users of our legs actually make more journeys than any other kind of traveller in London; by contrast, only one-third of journeys are made in private cars, and 4% by cyclists. At last, we pedestrians were about to recognised as equal members of the public realm in our city.
The Mayor’s original proposal for the Year of Walking had encouraged local groups and members of the public to make over a hundred specific suggestions for permanently transforming our townscapes into more people-friendly terrain. A shame that he has now junked all their hard effort. Not to mention his defying the London Assembly’s transport committee which last year urged the Mayor to support a large-scale infrastructure project and walking incentive scheme to underline his commitment to pedestrians.
But all is not lost. There’s the London mayoral election next year (2012). And right now, we can engage Wandsworth Council constructively in giving a much higher priority to the needs and concerns of pedestrians in our Borough. Have a look at Walkability Wandsworth in the Campaigns section of this website.