What makes our streets safe for active travel  ?

A Manifesto for walking 2022

Signposting for safety on the streets

There may not be an absolute consensus in peoples responses to this question however the recent Manifesto for Walking 2022 collated by Living Streets Scotland is an excellent starting point. In this community safety blog, I am going to highlight this manifesto and request that local people and groups  write to the newspapers , share on social media and raise the main manifesto  issues with those candidates who will be standing for election to Falkirk Council in May 2022. Here is the link to the Living Streets website that will guide you through that process:

The four main assertions detailed below are relevant to local community safety projects, including: The pop up parks, the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods I have discussed in a previous blog, the need for new local play facilities and the development of a Community Climate Action Plan for Camelon and Tamfourhill.

The manifesto for walking 2022 is based on the four following assertions:

  • 1. To end pedestrian deaths and injuries on our road: The benefits of walking for our physical and mental well being are well documented and widely acknowledged. Through the pandemic communities have realised the benefits of walking, however there has also been a number of notable challenges for people out walking: including, narrow cluttered, uneven pavements, crossings that prioritise cars rather than people, and speeding vehicles and in response the manifesto for walking asks that councils and other statutory services:
  • Set Vision Zero targets of significant reductions in people killed and seriously injured on all roads, leading to zero deaths.
  • Introduce default 20mph speed limits in built-up areas across Scotland and introduce measures to significantly slow traffic on rural roads on the approach to dwellings, schools and visitor sites.
  • Improve our crossings and junctions, making sure there is a pedestrian crossing at every signalled junction.
  • Create walkable 20-minute urban neighbourhoods and cut traffic levels by 20%
  • 2. Make school streets and neighbourhoods safe: This manifesto assertion has particular local resonance with the ongoing problems and concerns at Easter Carmuirs Primary School and I am certain there will be similar concerns around all of the local schools and early years’ centres. There is no doubt that more families will choose to walk to school if they believe the streets to be safer and it therefore is desirable that we transform the routes we travel to school so they are safer, cleaner and less congested. Importantly walking to or cycling or wheeling to school sets healthy habits for life. The manifesto asks our councils and statutory services to:
  • Invest in walk to school programmes targeting areas with poor health outcomes.
  • Create and grow traffic free school streets programmes in every town area and build upon the successful programmes in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • Improve routes to school by making all urban neighbourhood streets 20mph, not just outside school gates and invest in better crossings and more green spaces.
Stopping illegal parking next to schools is a local community safety priority
  • 3. Cut the clutter and make walking easier for everyone: The challenge of getting more people out walking and wheeling will be overcome if our streets are not an obstacle course of objects and mess. The more car free and the greater we invest in our green spaces the more likely people are to go out and walk from location to location and to move about their neighbourhoods on foot or wheels. The following commitments are therefore being asked of our prospective councillors:
  • Implement the ban on pavement parking before the end of 2023, put in place large scale publicity and adequate enforcement measures.
  • Cut pavement clutter to increase space for walking, via dedicated programmes and budgets to tidy up streets.
  • Alongside investing in new cycle infrastructure upgrade walking networks
  • Create more car-free areas for recreation and culture through closing roads through historic streets, parklands, riversides and waterfronts.
  • Invest more in engaging people with disabilities to understand and address the barriers they face.
  • 4. Tackle air pollution and climate change: I am very pleased to announce that Camelon and Tamfourhill will be producing our own Community Climate Action Plan and that this process will begin in the next few weeks. Along with the work of the Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group other community growing projects are to expand at Tamfourhill and in the Carmuirs area and this is a great opportunity to bring the community together to plan for the future and prepare the community for some of the challenges of climate change. I will look at the Climate Action Plan in greater detail and explain how you can get involved in a future community safety blog.  What is absolutely clear is that we need all our towns and cities to be places where people can move about and can breathe and that we need to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2045. If we are to address the climate emergency, we need our councils to improve access to public transport and ensure the cost of driving reflects its true economic and social costs. The walking manifesto is asking candidates to commit to the following:
  • Introduce low emission zones which focus on reducing traffic and help people choose walking and cycling especially besides schools and within communities that face multiple health challenges.
  • Remove and reallocate parking spaces to other uses like pop up parks, cycle hangers and create other community assets.
  • Reduce air pollution by educating drivers about the health problems caused by idling vehicles.
  • Create more green corridors, and increase biodiversity, with pop up parks and linear parks along routes where people can walk and cycle.
Pop up parks can make our community healthier and greener

Living streets Scotland invites us all to write to any or all of the candidates that are standing for election in the wards 6 and 7 for Falkirk Council on 6th May 2022 and to the local newspapers and other media outlets. This manifesto asks questions and seeks strategic solutions which will make our streets safer and easier to use and will increase the benefits of using the local green space for our health and wellbeing whilst also directly addressing climate change. I will return to these 4 manifesto assertions as I announce in the next few weeks a number of new exciting community safety developments for Camelon and Tamfourhill.

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