How the Bristol Walking Alliance started.
In May 2015, Suzanne Audrey, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, gave a talk as part of the Bristol Walking Festival on “Is walking a neglected mode of transport?”
In her talk, Suzanne observed the mismatch between the public health perspective of walking as near-perfect exercise, and its neglect as a transport mode in popular images, government funding and workplace travel plans. When walking does get featured, it is under the label of ‘walking and cycling’, with greater attention given to the cycling element. Bristol has a Walking Strategy, but it is not clear who is taking this strategy forward.
Attending the talk were Alan Morris of Bristol Civic Society and Susan Carter of Bristol Ramblers. They agreed a campaign was required to raise the profile of walking in Bristol and to help turn the vision of the Walking Strategy into reality. So later in 2015, the Bristol Walking Alliance was formed. Other organisations – Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, Living Streets, Sustrans – soon joined, and more organisations joined in 2016. The current list of organisations can be found here.
For a longer description of “Is walking a neglected mode of transport?” see the article that appeared in Better Bristol, Bristol Civic Society’s magazine.