Hidden neighbourhoods: discovering hidden gems and shortcuts in your area

02 April 2020

In our latest blog, London TravelWatch Director of Policy and Investigation, Tim Bellenger looks at how these difficult times can help change the way we walk and cycle now and in the future and open up new routes which we weren't previously familiar with.

The current 'lockdown' with its' 'one trip for exercise' guidance has caused me to reflect that in normal times most of us as drivers and public transport users, actually are very routebound, and that many journeys are possible walking or cycling from our home. A walk on Saturday took me to places within 2.5 miles of my home that I’d never been to, in decades of living and knowing the area. I used no major roads, and went through no major centre. And it gave me a greater understanding of what journeys I could make just by walking or cycling instead of driving, as well as being thoroughly enjoyable and good exercise.

A simple isochrone map can be generated on the Open Route Service website to show what is possible from any address using public roads and footpaths. Add in parks, commons and recreation grounds and the possibilities for non-motorised travel grow.

Improving public confidence in knowing their neighbourhood is key to getting more people walking, cycling and using public transport if the Mayor of London’s target of 80% mode share by sustainable means by 2041 is to be met. Why not use this enforced opportunity to seek out the parts of your neighbourhood that have previously been hidden to you?

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