Sheffield named UK's second most walkable city

Cities were rated on factors including how easy it is to walk to your nearest park
Cities were rated on factors including how easy it is to walk to your nearest park
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Sheffield has strolled into second spot in a list of the UK's best cities for walking.

The Steel City finished behind only Edinburgh in a survey to find the country's 'most walkable' city.

Living Streets, a UK charity which promoting everyday walking, quizzed more than 2,000 people living in the UK's 10 largest cities to rank them based on factors like the quality of pavements, how safe people feel on the streets and how easy it is to get to shops and parks on foot.

Sheffield had the joint best score for safety, with 66 per cent of those surveyed saying they felt safe walking in the city.

It was top for access to shops, with 68 per cent saying they had an easy walk to stores, but only sixth for parks, with 52 per cent saying it was easy to reach their local park by foot.

Three fifths (61 per cent) of those questioned said Sheffield had good pavements, and two thirds (66 per cent) said the city had a good quality of streets.

London finished third in Living Streets' list, with Manchester lying at the foot of the table.

The list was compiled to mark National Walking Month this May.

Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, said: "Whilst there are good things happening in every city we surveyed, it’s clear cities around the UK have some way to go to become world-leading walking cities and this is something we want to help create.

"By designing too much of our cities around cars, rather than people, we’ve engineered walking out of our everyday lives. To encourage people to walk more we know that the walking environment needs to feel safe, accessible and attractive.

"Cities around the UK are beginning to realise that a walkable city with fine public spaces will make residents healthier and happier, as well as attracting business and investment to the city."

The survey also found more than three quarters of those surveyed nationally supported measures to encourage walking, and a fifth said they would walk more were it safer and easier to do so.

A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: “This Living Streets survey confirms what many Sheffielders and visitors to the region already know – it’s a great place to walk. Our parks are conveniently located and there’s something for everyone, from a quick five-minute stroll around the Peace Gardens or Cholera Monument to a more challenging ramble around Damflask and Agden reservoirs. With new pavements and improved street lighting, a walk to school or a stroll to the shops is an enjoyable activity that can be incorporated into all our busy lives.

"The survey by Living Streets also acknowledges our well-maintained streets and the high quality public realm such as the gold route from Sheffield railway station into the city and the improvements on The Moor. Our recently unveiled plans for the Knowledge Gateway between Fitzalan Square and Paternoster Row are also designed to create a better environment for walking in the city centre.

"As a council we’ve worked hard to develop more walking and running routes to make our public spaces even more accessible and user-friendly so it’s always great to be recognised in this way. We’re proud to say we now have 30 Outdoor City Run Routes explicitly, with varying abilities across 14 different parks, green spaces and woodlands."

How walkable is Sheffield?*

Feel safe walking: 66%

Easy walk to the shops: 68%

Easy walk to parks: 52%

Good pavements: 61%

Good quality of streets: 66%

* results of Living Streets survey

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