Walk2Work Day – what the Wellington walkers said
Walk2Work Day is our national day to celebrate walking, held in March the once a year chance to say ‘ka pai’ for choosing to look after body and mind, our community and the planet. Wellington turned on one of it's bracing mornings with a blast of wind to help turn the smiles on as people walked along. Even the Minister of Transport got in on the act but missed out on breakfast!
At our Wellington waterfront breakfast event we asked people to share their ideas on “how to meet the Climate Change Commission target for increased walk mode share?”. A rather wordy question but people were quick to pinpoint key changes needed. Many of the usual 1800 or so pedestrians that walk along the waterfront during peak time gave us the walkers stock reply, “oh I walk every day, best way to start the day, nothing special here”. Of the folks that stopped for a bite of breakfast bun and apple, over 150 helped hold down the paper to write their comments for us.
Keeping the social oil applied to our communities through a walk.
People love their walk whether it is all the way or from the Railway Station or bus, agreeing it’s a great way to start the day. A moment of time for yourself, whether on your own or in a group. Enjoy was the single most popular word written for us, such a treasure to share.
“Happy heart, happy planet”
“I walk everyday”
“Enjoying the sea wind”
“Walking is great for the buns” (was that the fruit buns we gave away?)
“Such a good way to clear your head before work”
“Enjoy the lovely views when you walk”
There were plenty of ideas to make the walk better too. Reallocation of road space and road time topping the list of changes, which means more time and priority at pedestrian crossings as well as some shelter for the waiting. Improving the quality of the footpath with smoother, non-slippery pavement and more greenery was popular.
“More space for walkers”
“More shelter in rain and more areas to walk safely day and night”
“Pedestrian lights should trigger without button pressing”
“Make the pavements smoother – they’re not suitable or safe for people with walking sticks, buggies or in high heels. Style is impossible here”
For many people this meant ‘fewer cars’ in central Wellington and in streets generally.
Many comments wanted safe spaces for pedestrians free from bikes and escooters, both on footpaths and along the waterfront. This is an issue that keeps repeating year by year!
“Get the cycles off the footpath – I’d enjoy walking safely then”
“Have clearer boundaries for bikes and people”
“Slow bicycles down”
We all loved taking part in Walk2Work Day and will be out again next year. Reshaping our cities to be more liveable, carbon neutral and walkable is tough and will take time. But let’s hope the issues have moved on and we have made progress on some of this easy stuff to get more people walking more often.
Living Streets Aotearoa – Wellington
10 March 2021