As a Trustee of the Jubilee Walkway Trust, I was proud to join the Queen last week to mark the official opening of the Jubilee Greenway Walk. Stretching 60 kilometers from Buckingham Palace to the Olympic venues in Stratford, this is a fine new addition to London’s many walkways.
The Jubilee Walkway is one of seven routes managed in partnership with Walk London, an organisation which oversees an extensive network throughout the capital. Since its founding in 1998, Walk London has made great strides for walking. It attracts 60,000 people a month to their informative website and deals with nearly 20,000 walking inquiries a year for Transport for London. 8 million people now use the network’s paths annually, and 75% of them are on purposeful journeys including commuting. These are people who are out of their cars and onto their feet – what a benefit to the walkers’ health, to the street and social life of London, and to the planet!
The unveiling of a new pavement at the main gates of Buckingham Palace was a fantastic way to open the greenway, and a fantastic finale for the Jubilee Walkway Trust.
Yet while the work of the Trust rightly comes to an end, Walk London still has much to do. The co-ordination of the routes remains a daunting task which requires the experience and expertise of an organisation like Walk London. Co-ordination means ensuring that the walkways are maintained, the public are kept informed about diversions and developments on routes, damage to plaques and wayfinders are resolved, the website is updated, and the public can enjoy promotional events for walking three times a year.
Despite this important mission, Walk London’s arrangement comes to an end this month. Their funding hangs in the balance. I have been working to secure to future of Walk London – and the success of London’s walkways in 2012 and beyond.