Tag Archives: pedestrians

Twenty steps to pedestrian paradise – part 2

In part 1
, I talked about how pedestrians have been relegated to be second class citizens for the last half century or more. In this part, I will give you my twenty top tips to make life easier for pedestrians and get more people walking:

  1. Don’t make pedestrians wait at traffic lights. People on foot must press the “beg button”, asking permission to cross the road. They shouldn’t be forced to wait. Where possible, pressing the button should stop traffic and allow pedestrians to cross right away. On some roads,

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Twenty steps to pedestrian paradise – part 1

Are footbridges like this one built to benefit pedestrians? It allows people to cross the road safely distanced from cars, vans and trucks, so you might think this is pedestrian infrastructure. It is not: it is for the benefit of car drivers.

Someone sat down and weighed up the time lost by pedestrians in having to climb all those steps, cross the bridge and come down the other. They decided it was better to inconvenience people on foot – including disabled and elderly people with restricted mobility – than make drivers sit at traffic lights for any longer than they need to. These footbridges are there for motorists.

You can see judgements like this everywhere. People on foot are told to use dark, narrow, graffiti-covered, urine-soaked subways in order to spare drivers the inconvenience of slowing down or – horror of horrors – stopping. Traffic lights make pedestrians press a button and wait for a minute or more before deigning to allow them to cross, standing by the side of the road which drivers speed through. Shopping streets have narrowed pavements to cram in more space for cars to drive and park. Often our pavements themselves are used as car parks. Dark paths with overgrown vegetation create an atmosphere of fear. Pedestrian routes are left untreated in icy weather long after the roads have been gritted.

And that’s when pedestrians are even allowed. A walk from my neighbourhood to the area on the far side of the local river would once have taken five minutes. Two railway lines and a motorway now block the way and the same journey takes nearly half an hour. A bridge not far enough!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

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