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London Mayor set to inflict more misery on motorists as plans for world’s most walkable city begin

If the Capital’s roads were not congested enough due to road space being lost to both pedestrianisation and cycle lane schemes the London Mayor has now announced new plans to slow down motorists further.

Londoners walking in high footfall areas will be able to see a lot more of the glowing green man at pedestrian crossings in a bid to get more people walking and out of cars. 

It is proposed that those on foot are now to get a right of way over traffic and will only be asked to wait when an oncoming vehicle is sensed. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, from 63 per cent now. And the Mayor is investing a record £2.2bn in streets across London to make them better for walking and cycling, and improve air quality. 

Whilst that’s good news for the pedestrian it’s bad news for the motorist who will be approaching a sea of red lights in areas including the Olympic Park and London Bridge. 

London’s first ever walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, unveiled the capital’s first Walking Action Plan. It sets out how London will become a city where walking, for those that can, is the most obvious, enjoyable and attractive means of travel for all short trips.

The Walking Action Plan aims to help Londoners overcome these barriers by:

Designing, building and managing streets for people walking, by delivering better public spaces, more walking routes and more numerous and wider pedestrian crossings

Ensuring that walking is prioritised in every new infrastructure scheme, through London’s first ever pedestrian design guidance and a range of other tools and analysis to support boroughs to deliver local schemes

Enabling thousands more children to walk to school by doubling the number of Gold accredited STARS schools which champion healthy routes to school, and by supporting timed road closures, car free days and 20mph speed limits around schools

Rolling out innovative new traffic signal technology that makes it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross roads, while minimising congestion

Creating new ‘Active Travel Hubs’ at London Underground stations, making it easier to walk as part of an onward journey

Major projects are already underway to enable more walking across London, such as Highbury Corner, where a new public space and new pedestrian crossings are being installed, and at Old Street where work will begin to transform the roundabout in 2019.

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “Walking is a fantastic way to get around and explore London, and getting more Londoners to walk regularly is essential for the health and future prosperity of our city. Whether you’re popping to the shops or heading for the local train station, we’re investing record amounts to make walking the safest, easiest and most enjoyable way of getting around. 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.” 

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