Walking to the polling booth today?

Following the mini-theme of what might the election do to transport policy, other than simply shrinking government budgets, please find attached a nice extract from Jamie’s blog at walkit.com:

What do the party manifestos have to say about walking?

We’ve done an analysis of a number of party political manifestos to see what they have to say about walking.

First off, we haven’t had the pleasure of sitting down and reading every page of each one. We’ve carried out a slightly more simplistic exercise in which we downloaded PDFs of the documents and then did a search for “walk”, “walking”, “pedestrian”, “on foot” etc.

So with that caveat, here are the results (in strict alphabetical order):
BNP – nothing
Conservatives – nothing
Greens – 6 mentions
Labour – nothing
Liberal Democrats – 1 mention
Plaid Cymru – nothing
SNP – nothing
UKIP – nothing
So what do we make of this?
OK, in comparison to issues such as the economy, immigration and schools, you may not expect political parties to devote much space in their manifestos to walking. But then again, you’d have hoped that it may at least get a look in – the Conservative and Labour manifestos, for instance, manage to find space to talk about pubs and football…

Does this prove that we were right to be sceptical about the government’s plans “to put walking and cycling at the heart of our transport and health strategies”?

With the notable exception of the Greens, it looks as though walking remains a bit of a Cinderella issue, not warranting discussion compared to more ‘muscular’ projects.

Mentions of walking in the Green Party manifesto
“Services must be accessible. This means they must be easy and affordable to reach by public transport – and within walking distance in urban areas.”
“Support local shops through planning policies including business conservation areas, ensuring basic shops are available within walking distance in all urban areas and restricting the power of supermarkets.”
“We would prioritise transport modes according to the following hierarchy:
Walking and cycling
Public transport (trains, trams and buses) and rail freight
Heavy goods vehicles
“To encourage walking and cycling for shorter journeys and improve road safety we would:
Reduce speed limits (e.g. to 20mph in built-up areas, including villages).
Make streets safe; make them public spaces again. Plan for mixed-use developments where shops, housing and businesses are closely located and connected by pavements and cycleways.
Introduce a maximum speed limit of 55mph on motorways and trunk roads, and 40mph on rural roads, to make them safer for all road users.
Introduce schemes such as Home Zones, Safe Routes to School and pedestrianisation.
Ensure that at least 10% of transport spending is on securing a shift to more active travel like walking and cycling.”
“Expansion of public transport (and walking and cycling) is critically important to decarbonising our transport infrastructure, which is the only sector in which climate-altering carbon emissions are currently growing. We would divert money currently being wasted on huge road projects and put more of the UK’s transport budget into public transport, and especially into local schemes for walking, cycling and bus travel.”
“Increase the tranquillity of our urban environments, with less litter, less noise, reduced light pollution and more green spaces. Everyone should live within walking distance of natural green space.”
Mention of walking in the Liberal Democrat manifesto
“Include the promotion of safer cycling and pedestrian routes in all local transport plans.”


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