WE all know Edinburgh has some pretty amazing spots for a stroll – and now it has been named the UK’s “most walkable” city.
A survey of the UK’s ten largest cities saw the Capital rise to the top after people were asked how “walking friendly” they considered their city.
Respondents were quizzed on a number of different areas, such as how safe they feel when walking in their city, how close shops and amenities are, convenience of public transport and proximity to parks and green spaces.
The poll – which saw Glasgow ranked fifth – was conducted by national charity Living Streets to coincide with the launch today of its National Walking Month initiative.
Stuart Hay, Living Streets regional director, said: “It’s great to see Scotland’s largest cities competing well in terms of walking, compared to other parts of the UK.
“Glasgow is known as the ‘dear green place’, so it’s no surprise that the city ranks highly and I’d imagine that Edinburgh’s compact shape and historic street patterns help to encourage high levels of walking.
“Although the survey suggests that there is a healthy amount of people walking in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Living Streets Scotland’s work and auditing within this region suggests that there is no room for complacency.
“Without more investment, both Edinburgh and Glasgow could easily tumble down the rankings, especially as English cities take forward ambitious public realm projects.”
According to the poll, the UK’s most walkable cities in order were Edinburgh, Sheffield, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bradford.
Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport and environment leader, said the council was committed to making the Capital a pleasant place for residents to walk.
She said: “This is excellent news, and not only demonstrates how welcoming our beautiful, albeit hilly, city is for pedestrians, but also reinforces our ongoing commitment to encouraging walking as a mode of transport.
“As our own counts show, the number of people walking as a way of getting around the Capital is growing.
“By investing in initiatives like our network of QuietRoutes, making improvements to pavements and paths across the city and establishing an Active Travel Forum, in addition to the ongoing implementation of 20mph, we hope to see this continue for years to come.”
Throughout the month Living Streets is now calling on people to rate their everyday walks online in order to help the charity build up a comprehensive picture of the UK’s walking environment.
Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, welcomed the news.
He said: “We work hard on making sure people enjoy walking through the city centre, from the management of green space like St Andrew Square Garden through to streetscape and through to improving signage.
“It is all designed to improve the experience of those moving around the city centre and enjoying all it has to offer.
“We also support ensuring the city centre is as safe and clean as possible, for example through our commitment to good CCTV and through the work of our clean team.
“Edinburgh is a wonderful place to walk around, compact, beautiful, with stunning architecture and wonderful green spaces.
“Perhaps that is why walking always scores highly in our visitor surveys, and this news is yet another ringing endorsement of the city.”
To rate your walk, visit livingstreets.org.uk/rateyourwalk.