London has been designated a Bronze WALK Friendly community for implementing a Complete Streets reconstruction project, having a connected trail system, interagency collaboration, as well as innovative initiatives that help to increase the city’s walkability.
- The City of London has adopted a Complete Streets approach, which was applied to the 2012-2013 reconstruction of Horton Street. In an effort to improve walkability and the pedestrian experience, the reconstruction included wider sidewalks, on-street parking, planted medians, and improved pedestrian lighting.
- The Middlesex-London Healthy Communities Partnership has been an active partner. In 2012, the Partnership’s Physical Activity Policy Action Team, a consortium of 17 community partners with leadership from the Middlesex-London Health Unit was successful in having City Council endorse the Toronto Charter for Physical Activity, which has served as a policy framework. The Partnership also produced a position paper called Healthy City – Active London: Evidence-Based Recommendations for Policies to Promote Walking & Biking, which has helped inform London’s Official Plan Review – Re-Think London.
- The City’s Official Plan is supportive of infill and dense, mixed-use development. As such, approximately 38% of development over the last five years has been infill. When it comes to mixed-use developments, the City allows for secondary or accessory dwelling units, has established growth boundaries, and there are incentives such as density bonuses to developers for providing amenities that enhance walkability.
- London has strong policies within the Official Plan that speak to an integrated park system utilizing the Thames River Valley corridor and its tributaries. The City’s pathway system, as laid out in the Bicycle Master Plan, follows this system approach and all parts of the city are linked to the Thames Valley. Pathways are designed to meet minimum slope standards for accessibility. Amenities like washrooms, drinking fountains, benches, and pathway signage/maps are provided.
- In addition to road and lane diets, London has implemented such traffic calming measures as speed cushions, raised intersections, raised crosswalks, curb-face sidewalks, and curb extensions. These treatments are used on local and collector roadways, and are installed on residential streets based on feedback from residents.
- In an effort to make trail use enjoyable for both walkers and cyclists all of London’s multi-use pathways have a centre line for directional use, paths get wider in higher-use areas, and in some places there is a separate path for pedestrians.
- London has collaborated with ReForest London, a corporate partner, and residents to create the Million Tree Challenge. The initiative is funded annually by the City to leverage funds at 7:1 to plant one million trees over ten years. Over the last two years, 130,000 trees have been planted under the program. Many of the trees are along sidewalks, especially on private property. Included on the City’s website is an online active-tree inventory that is accessible to all residents, and currently identifies 120,000 individual trees along City streets.
- The City is funding an innovative walking awareness initiative called “Walk to Shop.” The program provides small grants to business groups (through an application process) who wish to increase the likelihood of residents in a local shopping area to walk to and shop in their neighbourhood.
- The City of London uses inter-agency collaboration in considering the safety of pedestrians. The City’s transportation staff and the Police regularly work together to identify traffic safety issues. Additionally, London is working with several partners on the development of a Road Safety Strategy for the city. The London Police Services also has one unit comprised of 13 members who patrol full-time on either foot or bicycle all year round.
- London has introduced a program using permanent automatic counters in several locations to track the number of pedestrians and cyclists using the Thames Valley Parkway. The program may also be expanded to downtown intersections and other busy pedestrian corridors as resources allow.
- Car Free Days have been happening in London for the last four years. Having experimented with multiple events per year in different locations, event organizers have decided to focus on one big annual event in June. The event is led by the Urban League of London and a committee made up of staff from the City of London, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Thames Region Ecological Association, LondonFuse New Media Collective, and Downtown London. The event takes place on four blocks along London’s historic main street in the heart of the downtown. This past year, attendance was estimated at 10,000.