Examination of Witnesses (Questions 640
WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 2001
640. Is that in relation to the amount of men
and women walking in the streets, is it per walk?
(Mr Whitby) What is Wrong with Walking produced by
the Consumer Association in 1984 identified that more women walked
than men yet more men suffered from pedestrian accidents than
Mrs Dunwoody: I told you.
641. What evidence is there that if you actually
have a higher quality urban design and better management of streets
people will walk more?
(Mr Whitby) I think little, other than to see those
streets when they are well designed and see how they are occupied
and the density to which they are occupied. I recently finished
a footbridge in York which provided a new arterial route for pedestrians
and cyclists, it is thronging with people. Good design solves
problems, it opens up opportunities for people.
642. It make may make it more enjoyable for
people to walk and it may draw people from other routes on to
those, but what evidence is there in York as a result of that
bridge that people are now walking more than they were before?
(Mr Whitby) I think we could prove in that location
they are walking more. I believe that unless one has done statistical
studies before and after it is a difficult issue. I think we could
prove it. Pedestrians are not measured as traffic is measured.
There are people, such as Bob Hillier from City University, who
do commuter models showing how pedestrians move and how new initiatives
will improve pedestrian movement. It can be shown that by unlocking
a few blockages a flow occurs and as a result the densities increase,
particularly in a place like London.
643. Right. We have examples in the United States
and Australia where people manage to avoid walking altogether,
might that not be a better approach?
(Mr Whitby) I think their towns and cities are very
different to us and their space that they have available to use
is quite different to ours.
644. The weather tends to be nicer.
(Mr Whitby) That is also true, to some extent. It
also tends to be a lot worse in terms of America, to the extent
that in some locations it is impossible to walk.
645. How important is it really for us to try
and encourage people to walk more?
(Mr Whitby) We all know that it is essential that
we work towards making it possible for people to enjoy their space.
The issues is about social inclusivity, not everyone has the opportunity
of other forms of transport. All of us walk to an extent. Everybody
could and would enjoy walking more.
(Mr Sellers) If we look at the idea of a more sustainable
development, where people can live in the town centre and they
can walk to facilities quite close to them rather than living
further away. You also have to look at the quality of design on
the streets, so that the actual interface between buildings and
the street is a much more pleasurable experience for people to
actually walk, rather than walk along a dead frontage which does
nothing for the interface.
646. You are raising two issues, one is if you
have much more joined-up living within urban areas people would
walk rather more, I understand that argument. You are also saying
if the spaces were more attractive people would still be happy
to walk between different locations. Which is the more important,
getting the buildings in the right places so the distances are
reasonable or getting the space so they are attractive to walk?
(Mr Whitby) The latter is more important. We have
a legacy about the space here at the moment in terms of our buildings.
The majority of our environment exists as it is. What we have
to do is start working with the spaces in between buildings and
make them better.
Chairman: On that note, thank you very much
for your evidence.