INDEPENDENT NEWS

Wider Footpaths A Big Step Forward

Published: Sun 12 Apr 2020 03:07 PM
Living Streets Aotearoa welcomes Associate Transport Minister Genter’s announcement today of funding for widening footpaths.
“Walking is healthy and popular both in lockdown and normal times,” says Celia Wade-Brown, Living Streets Aotearoa National Secretary. “Walkers of all ages need decent spaces to walk, jog or run. Far too many town and city streets are too narrow or poorly maintained although there are already more people on foot than driving in many locations, especially at the moment. More people walking makes a place more vibrant, enjoyable, safe and will help local businesses return to economic prosperity”.
Ms Wade-Brown adds “People need to feel safe, to be willing to walk and to let their children walk to school post-lockdown. These temporary extensions should be made permanent as soon as possible. I call on citizens to tell their Councils which streets are top priority. In Wellington I’d pick the Wellington South Coast for wider paths and Jervois Quay for pop-up cycle lanes but there must be many more around the country. Bigger projects like Skypath and the Great Harbour Way need to be advanced too but that’s beyond the scope of Innovating Streets. ”
“Walking is great medicine too. It’s accessible, it’s inclusive, and it’s affordable. Humans need to walk!”
Living Streets Aotearoa also supports Innovative Streets funding for pop-up cycleways. More people cycling instead of driving is good news for air quality and health but space needs to be created so cyclists aren’t unnerving people on foot, especially those with disabilities. Former Mayor Wade-Brown is a keen walker and cyclist and says, “Cyclists logically want to go faster than walking speed. Let’s give them the separate space to do so. I hope this announcement signals a change in direction for the Government away from putting cyclists of all ages onto existing footpaths.”
Background
Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.
Walking helps children to develop independence and enhances their physical health and mental well-being.
Walking helps elderly people to maintain health, independence and social connection.
Walking helps everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing. Walking is great medicine especially for depression, muscle mass, reducing obesity, increasing bone density and cardiovascular health.
Walking is essential for retail success and public transport viability.
Walking is permitted during Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown as long as people maintain 2m physical distancing.

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