A letter to all elected local government representatives.

Congratulations on your election! 

Local Government is very important in shaping our local environment for decades to come. You can help or hurt walking by your decisions. Let’s make your place better for walking!

 

  • We are all walkers, from ages 1 to 111. Walking is the fundamental form of human movement.
  • Walkers are downtown and suburban shoppers.
  • Some walkers use aids like pushchairs, wheelchairs and sticks. Some are vision-impaired, deaf or have mobility issues. Some can’t perceive distance or speed accurately. Making walking accessible for all makes it easier for everyone.
  • Walking to School creates alert healthy students, reduces chaos at the school gates and congestion during school terms. Some areas have begun to reverse the overall decline in walking to school.
  • Walking is an essential link to public transport. Walkability audits of stations, bus stops and hubs can show what needs fixing.
  • Walking to nearby sports and events reduces pressure on other transport and parking needs.
  • Walking is the first transport mode and the most important for human health and the life of towns and cities. Nevertheless it is often overlooked by local and central agencies and government.
  • Walking is an essential part of rural life too, safer speeds and improved road shoulders, bridges and footpaths on rural roads would save lives, especially near schools. 
  • Some tramping routes cross highways and could be made safer.
  • Walking is a low-emission, low-cost and democratic form of transport. If those who can walk do, then there’s space for those who must drive or use a taxi for work or mobility reasons. 
  • Walking is the cheapest and most sustainable form of transport but does require investment in, for example, footpaths, crossings, bridges, seats, planting and signage. Generally, shared paths represent a downgrade for walkers. There are also some zero-cost measures such as increasing the walk share for traffic lights. Data for walking is often deficient but new technology can help.

 

Living Streets Aotearoa: New Zealand’s voice for urban walking. 

 

We lobby Central Government and influenced the decision to include funding for footpath maintenance in 2017. (Funding Assistance Rate)

 

We argue for stronger regulations on e-scooters rather than all decisions being left to each local body. While we support transport choices including cycling and micro-mobility such as e-scooters being available, it’s important this isn’t at the cost of deterring existing or potential walkers. Therefore we support investment in separated cycle paths and low-speed zones that benefit everyone. 

 

We lead the Footpaths4Feet coalition. Sign the Footpaths4Feet petition online.

 

We work with other organisations to encourage Walking to School. The 24 recommendations we made at our Walking Summit this year can be read here.

 

We would like you to commit to supporting walking. You may have already been contacted by local members of Living Streets and allied organisations.

  • Please sign the International Walking Charter as an individual and consider getting your whole Council to commit to this direction. www.walk21.com/charter
  • Please join Living Streets Aotearoa as an individual member or get your Council to join (if it’s not already a member).
     

Our executive committee and local members are happy to provide information and feedback on proposed walking projects, multi-modal projects or where to start if you have no walking plan or strategy yet. You may already have met local members of Living Streets Aotearoa.

We have international contacts such as Dr Rodney Tolley, who will visit in autumn 2020.

We lead biennial Walking Summits (next in 2021) and the Walking Awards (2020 in Auckland).

We participate in the NZ 2WalkandCycle Conference (winter 2020 in Dunedin).

We discourage parking and overhanging vegetation on the footpaths and can provide flyers to support your efforts.

We can lead community street audits and walkability audits of train stations and bus hubs.

 

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.
We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.