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Walking Should Come First

6th July 2002

"Walking should be considered first not last." says pedestrian advocate Celia Wade-Brown and Green candidate. She was pleased to be included in consultation on the draft New Zealand Transport Strategy.

Ms Wade-Brown believes the Strategy does reflect more forward thinking about transport but it lumps walking and cycling together, when the needs are often different.

"We would all benefit if transport planners took walking more seriously. Many New Zealanders have no other form of transport. Motorists are pedestrians once they've parked their cars while bus or train users walk to and from the stops. Health statistics about obesity and diabetes show many of us need to walk much more."

"Walking is the most democratic, healthiest and cheapest form of transport. We create no emissions, don't wear out the footpaths, make the streets safer by our presence and affect retail profit most directly."

Suggested priorities for spending some of the $3.7 million now dedicated to promoting walking and cycling include:- 1. National support for Safe Routes to Schools campaign to focus on engineering, education, encouragement and driver enforcement round schools to help our vulnerable children.

2. Better pedestrian data gathering by LTSA, Police, RCAs, ACC and others so real reasons for pedestrian injury and death are discovered rather than blindly accepting the unhurt motorist's claim that the pedestrian ' ran out heedless of traffic'.

3. Travel expense tax changes so travel on foot or by bike can be claimed at a similar rate to motor travel without attracting fringe benefit taxes.

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