The draft Walking Strategy and Action Plan details a series of projects and targets to make walking easier and more attractive for residents, workers and tourists.
According to Lord Mayor Clover Moore, the walking strategy is about building a city with a safe and convenient walking environment, backed up with clear way-finding and engaging public art.
“We are continually upgrading our walking infrastructure, because when you create a better environment for walking, you improve people’s health, reduce road congestion and help local business,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The City is investing $50 million to improve the appearance and safety of the most popular walking routes in central Sydney with upgraded footpaths and improved lighting. A further $10 million is being invested in a way-finding network that will clearly direct people to landmarks and other places of interest.
“Walking already accounts for 92 per cent of trips in the city centre and plays a major role in the economy and transport network.
“With the number of people living in the city set to reach 280,000 by 2036, and the number of city workers to top 570,000, it’s vital we work to better accommodate them on our footpaths and promote transport choices that are easy and reliable.
“It’s also important that we prepare for the upcoming construction of the new light rail network and pedestrianisation of George Street by improving options for people to walk around our city and assisting them in finding alternative ways of getting where they need to go.”
Actions in the strategy designed to make walking quick, convenient and easy include:
- Creating at least five kilometres of additional pedestrianised streets and laneways;
- Breaking up large city blocks with laneways, arcades and roads;
- Rolling out improved pedestrian lighting and footpath networks;
- Working with the NSW Government to improve pedestrian waiting times at crossings;
- Investigating and promoting safer routes to schools;
- Developing local walking maps;
- Upgrading main streets to support the local economy;
- Implementing an integrated way-finding system across the City of Sydney;
- Working with neighbouring local governments to improve walking infrastructure;
- Making public areas accessible for all; and
- Designing new developments and urban renewal areas with a ‘people first’ approach.
“Research shows that the more people walk, the more economic benefits are delivered for local businesses, because people who walk visit shops more often and spend more money,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We also know that walking delivers incredible health benefits. Inactivity costs the Australian economy $13.8 billion a year, and at least 60 per cent of the population is either overweight or obese.
“Our new walking strategy aims to make the city centre and surrounding villages easier to navigate, more interesting and better connected, while building a happier and healthier community.”
The City of Sydney has a number of walking targets, including:
- Walking to account for 60 per cent of local trips within the city;
- Walking to make up one-third of commuter trips by city residents;
- Reducing walking times by 10 per cent across key walking routes;
- Increasing footpath capacity by 20 per cent on main activity streets; and
- Halving traffic accidents involving people.
The draft Walking Strategy and Action Plan will be put on public exhibition to coincide with the world’s leading conference on walking, Walk 21, which the City of Sydney is co-hosting from October 21-23.
Images courtesy of City of Sydney.