Why we need to campaign for a good walking environment
Almost a fifth of Bristol’s residents walk to work, the highest proportion of any core city, and the number increased by 40% between 2001 and 2011. Walking is part of almost every journey, too often in surroundings that are unpleasant and unsafe, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Street design that works well for pedestrians creates towns and cities that people enjoy and want to live in, and reduces social isolation. In walking friendly towns and cities, people are healthier, high streets thrive and everyone’s quality of life improves.
Our goal is to make Bristol the best city for walking in the world.
We want to create an environment for those on foot that is:
- welcoming – with well-maintained and generous pedestrian space in attractive surroundings
- safe – designed to be safe and to feel safe from risk of accident or attack
- convenient – with direct routes that are free of unnecessary impediments
- inclusive – usable by all regardless of age, gender, financial circumstances or level of fitness.
We want transport expenditure on improving the walking environment to be clearly identified and to increase by 10% a year.
Areas of focus
Walking as transport: Walking tends to be neglected as a transport mode in government funding and transport policies, or submerged under the label of ‘walking and cycling’. We want funding and policies to encourage public health, urban planning and transport professionals to work together to promote and enable walking as an important mode of transport. We have a Policy Group that responds to policy and strategic consultations.
Space for walking: Our streets are not always welcoming, safe, convenient and inclusive for walkers. We want to work with policy makers, transport planners and urban designers to make changes in street design that meet the needs of walkers. We have a Planning Group that responds to transport scheme consultations and planning applications. Read more
Walkable neighbourhoods: We encourage community groups to actively look at how their neighbourhood could be made more walkable. This includes working with transport planners and urban designers on safe walking routes to school, employment, shops and local facilities. Read more
Streets for people: We encourage residents to take the initiative to make their streets more liveable for people of all ages and abilities. This includes working with the Council and the police to adopt traffic-calming measures and address pavement obstruction problems. We have current campaigns on pavement parking and on better air quality. Read more.
Action is needed at all levels:
- West of England Local Transport Body
- Bristol City Council
- Local community groups
- Property owners/developers/managers
- Transport operators
- Individuals and streets
In November 2021 we launched a booklet 50 Ways to Better Walking that lists fifty practical measures to improve the pedestrian environment. It includes measures for implementation by policy makers, planners, businesses, communities, and individuals.
See also the Bristol Walking Alliance manifesto (pdf).