Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Memoranda


Memorandum by Michael Aidin Esq (WTC 62)

WALKING IN TOWNS AND CITIES

1.  WALKING

  Walking in urban areas would be encouraged by making towns and cities more compact, thus increasing housing densities so that people could walk to their place of work, shops, doctors, sporting and recreational facilities. Delivery services for food from shops would reduce the need for car trips to supermarkets.

  I have lived in London, New York City and now in Sussex. My wife and I lived happily in New York for eight years without a car. We were able to walk to nearly all the places we needed to visit regularly. We used taxis only rarely and scarcely ever went by subway or by bus.

  Our experience is not untypical. High densities of population do not necessarily involve over-crowding in cities. Cities should be re-planned so as to diminish the need for people to move routinely over long distances within urban areas. An important method of increasing people walking to work is to make changes in property economics so as to encourage the provision of accommodation to rent. This would facilitate people moving closer to places of work or schools etc, thus reducing the need for public transport. The availability of property to rent on reasonable terms is an important means of encouraging mobility.

2.  ROAD SAFETY

  Creating safer conditions for walking are necessary. Better protected footpaths and pedestrian crossings are important. However, I believe the single most important factor would be to reduce speed limits and to enforce the law. Why not recruit a force of special constables equipped with photo electric zappers which could provide clear evidence of excessive speed. It would not be necessary to take fit able bodied personnel away from the police service. The officers concerned could be in plain clothes and might be recruited from active old age pensioners. Any costs incurred by this special service would more than be recouped by fines paid by motorists, apart from the cost to the community as a whole caused by the present level of street accidents.

  I write with some feeling as I was knocked down by a speeding motorist and was exceptionally lucky to escape with my life.

January 2001


 
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