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haringey living streets launch event adThis year sees the 90th anniversary of a charity that has made life considerably safer and pleasanter for people navigating our streets on foot.  The Pedestrians Society was set up in 1929 and in recent years has gained a new lease of life under a new name - Living Streets.  And this month sees the birth of a new local Living Streets group in a neighbouring borough - Haringey.

One of the first challenges that the Pedestrians Society faced was the abolition, in 1930, of all speed limits in the UK.  The Society's lobbying was successful, and in 1934 the 30mph limit in built-up areas was introduced by the minister of transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha.  At around the same time another campaign - to set up formal pedestrian crossings - was successful, leading to the introduction of the Belisha Beacon (the zebra stripes came later).

Making it easier and safer to cross the road remains a priority for Living Streets, and there have been some very interesting developments in London, thanks to the hard work of the London Living Streets group.  The group have succeeded in persuading Transport for London to take a new approach to the timing of lights-controlled pedestrian crossings.  After a successful experimental study TfL will be reducing wait times throughout the capital, reviewing 1,200 crossings a year.  You can read about this programme on the London Living Streets website and watch a short video below. 

A list of priority crossings was recently submitted to TfL, based on input from local Living Streets groups, including Better Streets for Enfield, who work closely with London Living Streets - one of the crossings on the list is in Palmers Green, near the NatWest Bank.  Many people lose patience and cross against the lights at this spot, something which studies have shown always happens when the wait is longer than half a minute, but often puts people at risk.

The Haringey Living Streets group will be holding its first public meeting on Sunday 24th March at the Green Rooms Hotel in Station Road, Wood Green.  Guest of honour is Jeremy Leach, chair of London Living Streets.  It may be a different borough, but many of us will find ourselves using the pavements in Wood Green, Hornsey, Crouch End, Muswell Hill or further afield in Haringey, so will want to take this opportunity to find out how we can help improve the walking experience.

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